Personal interview with Lori & Sully Sullenberger

February 18, 2009

Flight 1549 posts

Hi Katie1994.

I found the interview you were looking for eleven pages into the drafts! Sorry but my fellow citizens have given up posting. It’s a really warm interview between just the two of them as a couple. Funny, because it’s on her turf. She is a well-known fitness expert and evidently has done many fitness segments on the show but this is first time for hubby.

They discuss their separate reactions, the moment they first saw each other when he returned home, how they’ve been coping together as a family, fan letters, the Inauguration.

There are also two photos of the Sullenberger family at the Inauguration Ball with the President and First Lady. They were also invited to the Vanity Fair after Oscars party.

I would not have put these two together in a room of strangers until they got close to each other – their body language would have given them away. I must say I was shocked when he gave her a big old hug and a kiss at his Welcome Home Celebration, especially the way he cupped her head. Quite at odds to his immediately proceeding few words and stiff presentation, which must have been the shock.

February 18th: “View From the Bay”


Selected quotes

Q: Have things settled down? Is life back to normal yet?

SULLY: This is a new normal. We’re coping with it day by day. We are getting better at coping with our new reality. It’s been many good things, and some things are challenging. But it’s been life-changing event.

LORI: We were having two very different experiences….I felt like I was having this surreal experience.

SULLY: It was overwhelming.

How did he balance the landing, the press, the investigation and being apart from his family after the actual traumatic event?

SULLY: It was a lot to process. It required a lot of time to balance it. And we’re still trying to find the proper balance between family first and the needs of our profession second.

What was it like the first time they reunited?

SULLY: We’ve been through so much separately, and then we had to re-enter our new lives together. And it was challenging. At first, it felt a little bit awkward. It took a half a day or so for it to really sink in all the changes we [hesitates] had and where we’re going to go from here. But it felt great to be home.

Lori said for the first few days she was in shock – it didn’t seem real.

LORI: But the night I picked him up…and when I saw him, he looked so different, that is when the enormity of it hit me.I realized there had been a big tragedy for him that day.

Freeze her face there – she looks completely devastated. I imagine that for him it was a failure just to have an “blemish” on his record. The fact that he didn’t go his entire career taking off and landing safely on land and that he “ruined” a plane.

Are they still in shock?

They look at each other and say no. Sully mentions that “a month has passed” like that’s all it takes. Donna Dent at the Congressional hearing – a week after this interview was still in shock and Doreen Welsh looked like she might have been on medication.

SULLY: We’ve learned to deal with this – but it’s a steep learning curve.

I can’t get past the nagging thought that there is something more to the “this”. They find all the letters they have been getting “marvelous” including letters from widowed wives of pilots writing how it had helped them heal.

They discuss the Inauguration and how gracious POTUS was. Sullenberger told POTUS it was a privilege to meet him and POTUS said, no, the privilege is mine.


Hope that helps, Katie – even belatedly. At least you have some info on ATC Patrick Harten now. [Here] Let us know how your project is coming and please stop worrying about folks using out posts without attribution. The info is here for folks to read. Whether they attribute it is a matter of their own personal integrity. Make usre you check the Update link up top for new posts. Good Luck!

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