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Hero pilot named grand marshal of 2010 Rose Parade

November 5, 2009 |  3:40 pm

Hero pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger has been named grand marshal of the 2010 Rose Parade, officials said today.

Sullenberger gained international fame for successfully landing his passenger plane on the Hudson River in New York City. The Tournament of Roses announced the selection on its Facebook page.

Sullenberger grew up in Denison, Texas, where his father was a dentist and his mother a teacher. He had a distinguished career flying for the military before his more than 40 years in commercial aviation, the last 29 as a captain with US Airways.

He also is a certified glider pilot and has served as a local safety chairman and accident investigator for the Air Line Pilots Assn., International.

Sullenberger's US Airways jet had just taken off from New York's LaGuardia Airport when it hit a flock of geese and lost power in both engines. Sullenberger, judging that the plane could not make it to an airport and could crash into an urban neighborhood, decided to ditch the plane in the Hudson River, deftly bringing it down intact on the water.

After passengers were evacuated, Sullenberger twice walked the sinking plane's watery aisle to make sure no one had been left behind. Once on shore, the consummate professional spoke with police, his navy blue suit barely wrinkled and his tie not even loosened.

—Shelby Grad