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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Uploaded: Sep 8, 2016
"Sully" is the title of a new Clint Eastwood movie about Capt. Chesley Sullenberger's amazing landing of a disabled passenger plane on the Hudson River in 2009. Because this is the Danville\SanRamon Express, I assume many readers around here know someone named Sullenberger.

Seven years ago I was on the Board of Directors for TV30, the local PEG Access station. Lorrie Sullenberger advertised her exercise classes and hikes up Mt. Diablo on the station. So I was familiar with that name.

I was listening to the radio in my office at Relevant Business Systems when the music was interrupted by a news flash that a passenger airline was attempting to land on the Hudson River in New York. The pilot of that plane was Captain Chesley Sullenberger.

Later that day the local TV news reported that Capt. Sullenberger was from Danville, CA; So I thought he must be Lorrie Sullenberger's husband. After all how many Sullenbergers can there be in Danville? The answer was four, Lorrie, Chesley, and their two children.

At the time this happened there wasn't much to feel good about in the World. We were caught up in seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy was in recession, and unemployment levels were high.

We needed a hero – a real hero who not only did something courageous and daring, but looked and acted the part too. Capt. Sullenberger filled the bill. He was modest in interviews and said he was just doing his job, but he also took on the hero's mantel this country needed so badly at the time.

I met Capt. Sullenberger a couple of times at local events. I don't recall speaking to him but he sat next to me, actually one seat away, at a San Ramon City Council meeting held in the Community Center Auditorium where they used to hold events with big turnouts before the new City Hall was completed. Of course I recognized him but I didn't say anything, or I forgot if I said anything.

The new movie, "Sully," about Capt. Sullenberger's landing on the Hudson River, is being promoted on TV and the Internet. I was surprised Tom Hanks was cast to play Sully. I wonder if the real Sully had anything to say about the casting.

I pictured Harrison Ford, who is also a pilot and recently made an emergency landing of a small plane on a golf course. Ford is 14 years older than Sullenberger was when he made the famous landing. Hanks is two years younger than Sully, but looks like him with his hair and mustache painted white.

I look forward to seeing the film at the Crow Canyon Cinema here in San Ramon or at the theater in Blackhawk, which I believe is considered part of Danville. I doubt the producers would hold the Grand Opening in one of our local theaters. If they did that would be BIG news for our little Danville/SanRamon Express.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Sep 9, 2016 at 10:01 am

Roz: I completely agree with you that Sully was a blessing to our country at a time when we desperately needed a hero. His modesty was also so refreshing, compared to professional athletes, actors, musicians, and politicians who constantly toot their own horns with bravado. Danville is very lucky to have the Sullenberger family as residents, and I also look forward to seeing the movie.

Posted by no user name, a resident of Downtown,
on Sep 9, 2016 at 5:47 pm

no user name is a registered user.

While Sullenberger did something that many people could not, there are a lot of reasons that he is not the personal "hero" that the press plays up.

Another pilot, Al Haynes, flew a fatally crippled DC10 for nearly a half hour (not less than 2 minutes), under far more horrific conditions, and managed to save most of the people on board with a crash landing in Sioux City. To this day Captain Haynes has refused any compensation at all for his speaking and has not once attempted to personally profit from his life saving piloting skills.

Immediately upon leaving his sinking jet, Sullenberger and his wife contracted with a public relations firm and began the process of lining up speaking engagements, starting with fees in the tens of thousands of dollars. For them to act as if the press was hounding them is insincere at best as they are the ones who cut their deals with the press for personal financial gain. Sullenberger worked for a company that paid less than standard wages and he might have even had to give up his home and lifestyle. The water landing gave him the financial opportunity to quit his job and profit enormously.

He made a water landing in the only place that an unpowered plane could have gone. He saved lives no doubt. But the real personal hero is not Sully, it is Al Haynes. Al Haynes fought a heroic battle for almost 30 times longer than Sully, and he never once tried to make any personal gain from what he did. THAT makes him a hero.

Posted by SHale99, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm

SHale99 is a registered user.

Was it a competition on who did 'better'? Me thinks, both pilots did their jobs. IN Sully's case I'm pretty certain the outcome wouldn't have as it was if he wasn't the pilot. I also bet few pilots alive could have managed what he did and made the 'right' decision.
He was near retirement anyway, so WHAT if the press pumped him up and so what if it made his retirement accounts fuller. 155 people would agree.
Doubt either man feels like a hero; they did their jobs and protected their riders (heck with the plane(s)).

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 9, 2016 at 8:05 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

Haynes achievement may have been greater from an aviation standpoint, but not as great for media attention. Sully made a perfect landing on the water with 100% survival. Haynes made a crash landing with injuries and even some loss of life, big difference.

Some people would be critical of Haynes for not taking financial advantage of his achievement, but that was his decision. I don't blame Lorrie or Sully for profiting from the event. He earned it.


Posted by beach bum, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Sep 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Dear no user name,

How 'bout if we poll the passengers who were on Capt. Sully's flight to see if they think he is a hero or not?

Posted by teena, a resident of Canyon Creek,
on Sep 9, 2016 at 10:51 pm

I guess this name itself is a variety and this movie will break the record. All viewers are eagerly waiting for new ideas to watch and if it so attractive then definitely success is yours. Web Link All the best for your movies.

Posted by The D-Ts , a resident of Diablo,
on Sep 10, 2016 at 8:12 am

People are saying that they saw him out in the shallows of Long Island Sound for days prior to that flight, recruiting and stirring up the geese (most of them illegals from Canada -- we need to build a net) with exhortations about a holy war against hunters and the 2d Amendment people, and the indignity of dying to become somebody's Christmas goose.

So he staged the whole thing, folks, I'm telling ya, right next to the biggest media market in the world.

Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 10, 2016 at 2:18 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

The D-T's

Funny! Were you having the DT's when you wrote that?


Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 17, 2016 at 9:37 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.

The movie is playing locally at the Hacienda Crossings Cinema in Dublin Web Link I signed up to take a shuttle from Villa San Ramon at 10:15 AM on Friday (yesterday), but backed out because it was too early in the morning for me to go to the movies. I haven't spoken to any of the residents who went to get their "reviews."

I would like to see it, but I'll get a ride from a friend to an afternoon showing. I hope it stays in the local theaters for a few more weeks. I used to be a big movie fan, but I don't get out much anymore.


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