My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What I expected from this book was a small section of background, followed by the detail of the bird strikes and forced landing of Flight 1549, with the remaining half the book dedicated to the aftermath. Something a fly-nerd like me would love.
What I got was so much richer! This wasn’t just a dramatization of the Air Crash Investigation episode. This was the full story of Captain Chesley B Sullenberger. This was his upbringing, his student pilot days, his immersion in flying, his dedication to bringing home his plane safe and whole, and the sacrifices this has cost him along the way.
In short, it’s as the title says: Sully.
Incredibly, and probably as a result of all the things he is, Sully manages to stay humble throughout. He shares the limelight with those who got him to where he is, from the test pilots who volunteer-ditched their beautiful B24 Liberators in Virginia’s James River, to Captain Ogg’s water-landing in the Pacific (I’m still crying over those canaries), to the entire crew involved in his now-famous water landing on the Hudson.
It also contains my favourite instruction, one that I have always tried to live by (and one that should be bandied about more often, but this is only the second time I’ve ever heard it): aviate, navigate, communicate. Fly the plane, know where you’re flying it, tell someone where you’re flying it, in that order. Adaptably good advice for any stressful situation.
This is a beautiful biography from a man of honour and I salute you, Captain Chesley Sullenberger.