'Miracle' pilot visits memorial

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -- January 15th, 2009, a US Airways jet had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport in New York when birds took out an engine. Time was running out, and he had to land somewhere fast. The Hudson River...the emergency landing is now known as the miracle on the Hudson.

Captain Sullenberger was the last one off the plane...slowly sinking in freezing water. He thinks about it all the time.

"It's definitely a part of me, and I get reminders every day," said Sullenberger.

WKYT's Sam Dick met up with Sully, as he likes to be called, at a place that represents tragedy to the Lexington community and beyond. The memorial to flight 5191.

"I think we need to remember the lives lost, and honor them by making the system better," said Sullenberger.

Sully is in Lexington as the keynote speaker at Wednesday's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Foundation Annual Dinner. He shared what his first thoughts were on seeing the 51-91 memorial to 49 victims.

"In aviation, everything we know, every procedure we have, every rule in the rule book, ultimately is because someone somewhere died, and sometimes many people," said Sullenberger. "And so in aviation, we have learned important lessons, that have been purchased at great cost, literally bought in blood."

Sully no longer flies for the airlines. His mission is to make flying safer.

"We have an obligation to remember and pass on this institutional knowledge to the next generation of pilots, and not have to relearn them at great cost."

In addition to writing books, giving talks, and running a safety consulting company, sully is an aviation expert with CBS news.