‘Sully’ Reenacts the Miracle Landing of US Airways Flight 1549 [Video]


The new movie, “Sully” came out on Sept. 9, 2016. The film stars Tom Hanks and is directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie surrounds the Jan. 15, 2009, emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. Saving all 155 passengers and crew members, as reported by Entertainment Weekly.

Capt. Chelsey Sullenberger refers to the landing on the Hudson River as the Miracle on the HudsonHanks plays Capt. Sullenberger, or Sully, as he is best known. Aaron Eckhart plays his co-pilot, Jeffrey Skiles and Laura Linney plays Sully’s wife Lorrie, who still refers to the landing as a crash.

The movie “Sully” was written by Todd Komarnicki and it was adapted from the book, “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters,” written by Sullenberger andSully Jeffery Zaslow. The movie also dives into things the people did not know, like the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation and hearing that went on for a long time after the incident happened.

The investigation was geared toward seeing if the emergency landing was the right thing to do? Who was at fault, if anyone, and could the Captain have made it back to the airport safely? As reported by Entertainment Weekly, the pilots, crew members, and the passengers suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after their rescue.

Even so, Eckhart makes the statement that one would think that someone, in this case, Capt. Sully, who landed a plane with dual engine failure into the Hudson, saving the lives of everyone on board, would walk away free of scrutiny. He went on to say, unfortunately, it is not always the case, and there was a lot on the line, such as pensions, jobs, and reputations.

Clint Eastwood is not only the director, he also co-stars alongside Hanks and Eckhart. RollingStone reported that Eastwood used IMAX cameras that allow the audience to get a sense of the high tension scenes of the flight and the rescue.

Here Is What Happened

According to public records, approximately three to five minutes after the US Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York’s La Guardia Airport, both jet engines failed. The engine failure was from multiple Canadian geese flying into the engines.

Sully reportedly turned to his co-pilot, Skiles, in a frenzied attempt to consider their options. There were approximately 208 seconds to decide the fates of every life on the flight and time was of the essence. Could they make the return flight to the airport they had just left without crashing?

The Captain made the decision to land his plane in the Hudson River, picking a spot by midtown. His choice of spots to land was simple; it was close to where choppers, firemen, police, and ferryboat rescue units could be there quickly. They did so within 24 minutes.

Eckhart on Preparing to Recreate the Crash Landing

Hanks and Eckhart prepared for the filming of the movie by spending time in a simulator. This gave the duo insight into the Sullyhigh tensions of US Airways Flight 1549’s crash landing. Eckhart stated that flight plans for the plane crash were available to them, so they could get familiar with it. He said, “It was incredible because you got the sense… of what it could’ve been like.”

Eckhart also stated that after getting familiar with the flight plan he could tell that making decisions for the landing were intense. Furthermore, he said that the protocol for the flight’s crash was as well. Eckhart went on to say, it was like living a little part of it.

Eckhart did not stop at just spending time in the flight simulator, he took it a step further, and trained for his private pilot’s license. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Eckhart has flown a number of times. He also met with Sullenberger and Skiles.

The authenticity of the story was of utmost importance to them. They wanted the movie to show accurate accounts of what happened. Eckhart stated that it was very important to the actors and crew to portray them as just that. He believes that Stiles and Sullenberger are “very humble guys,” and “they don’t look at themselves as heroes.”

By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jeanette Smith


RollingStones: ‘Sully’ Review: Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks Make Heroic Pilot Story Soar
Entertainment Weekly: Aaron Eckhart on how Sully goes behind the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’
USA Today: How ‘Sully’ got the Hollywood treatment

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of USACE NY’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inline Image Courtesy of Virginia Manso’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inline Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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