Famed pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III has been announced as President Joe Biden's intended nominee to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a position that will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before becoming official.
If confirmed, the now-retired Sullenberger -- who was a Danville resident when he gained international acclaim for his emergency landing of an airliner in the Hudson River 12 years ago -- would work to represent American and aviation interests on the ICAO, which is primarily tasked with creating international regulations for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as environmental protection.
"I'm honored to be nominated by President Biden to represent the United States at ICAO," Sullenberger said in a tweet after Biden announced his intent to nominate the famous pilot. "Should I be confirmed for this important role, I will look forward to working together with other ICAO members to ensure the highest levels of safety in air transportation, which has been my priority throughout my career."
All ambassador nominations are subject to confirmation hearings from the Senate, which CNN reports will likely mean that none of the recent nominees will be appointed until summer or early fall.
Sullenberger is perhaps most commonly known as the pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 who successfully performed an emergency landing in the Hudson on Jan. 15, 2009, when his plane lost its engines after striking geese. Alongside his crew, Sullenberger safely executed the emergency landing without any fatalities and only minor injuries to some passengers.
All 155 passengers and crew of the Airbus survived the crash, a fact then New York Gov. David Paterson referred to as "The Miracle on the Hudson" -- and helped earn Sullenberger the nickname, "Hero of the Hudson."
In a press release from Biden's office, federal officials added that Sullenberger is a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, retired airline pilot, safety expert and keynote speaker.
He has also served as a NASA aviation safety research consultant, an Air Line Pilots Association accident investigation committee member and participated in a National Transportation Safety Board investigation of a major airline accident, which staff said led to improved airline procedures and training for emergency evacuation.