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Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III


MS 1973, Industrial/ Organizational Psychology
HDR 2011, Liberal Arts 

Captain Sullenberger hails from Denison, TX where he attended Denison High School and was consistently in the 99th percentile in every academic category, because of his high test scores he became a member of Mensa International. He received his glider pilot’s license at age 14. At age 16 he learned to fly in a Piper Cub from a private airstrip near his home.

In 1969 he enrolled in the United States Air Force Academy and was selected for the cadet glider program and by the end of his first year he was an instructor pilot. During his graduation year, 1973, from the academy he received the Outstanding Cadet in Airmanship Award. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1973 and served until 1980, he was an F-4 pilot and attained the rank of captain. Sully is the founder of the safety-consulting firm, Safety Reliability Methods, Inc. In addition to flying commercial aircraft for US Airways since 1980, he has served as a flight instructor, Air Line Pilots Association safety chairman, and accident investigator and national technical-committee member. He has investigated aviation accidents for the Air Force and the National Transportation Safety Board and has also help develop new protocols for airline safety.

On January 15, 2009 Capt. Sullenberger became famous for landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off of the island of Manhattan in New York City. Since that time he has been honored with several awards; Master’s Medal from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, Jabara Award for Airmanship from the USAF Academy, and the Key to the City from the City of New York and Danville’s Key to the Town. Sully also attended the inauguration of Barack Obama, where he and his wife met the president. He was also a guest at Super Bowl XLIII. He has also been awarded with an honorary lifetime membership in the Seaplane Pilots Association. A fan site was started in February 2009 on Facebook.

Sully is a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Catastrophic Risk Management. He was a guest speaker for two panels at the High Reliability Organizations (HRO) 2007 International conference in Deauville, France, from May 29-31, 2007. Capt. Sullenberger is married to Lorrie, a fitness expert and television personality.