Flight 1549's Pilot a Dying Breed

'Sully' from age when pilots were trained to be mavericks
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 2, 2009 1:15 PM CST
Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger smiles during a homecoming celebration on Jan. 24, 2009, in Danville, Calif. Applauding him are his wife, Lorrie Sullenberger, left, and Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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(Newser) – In an era when pilots are trained to minimize risk and stick to standard procedures, Chesley Sullenberger of Flight 1549 may be one of the last of his kind, New York magazine reports. He was trained in an earlier era, one in which pilots were treated as gods, and a military mentality was embraced. Many had fought in Vietnam, and thus were trained to take risks.

Today, by contrast, much of piloting is automated, and pilots are seen as “a step above bus drivers,” said one. “The maverick pilot has given way to the professional—the captain who knows how to put aside his ego and not take unnecessary risks,” Robert Kolker writes. Ultimately, that’s probably the safest way for the largest number of passengers. But those on Flight 1549 were lucky to have Sully.