Jeff Skiles, first officer on US Airways Flight 1549 that safely landed in the Hudson River one year ago last month, will be a featured participant at this year’s Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo, which will be held April 13-18 at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL) in Lakeland, Florida.
Skiles, 49, was at the controls with Captain Chelsea Sullenberger when the Airbus A320 jet experienced multiple bird strikes and lost power to both engines shortly after taking off from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport on Jan. 15, 2009. Unable to restart either engine, the crew prepared its passengers for the only option available to them. As history has happily recorded, Sullenberger safely landed the airplane on the waters of the Hudson River just west of midtown Manhattan. Of the 150 passengers and five crew members on board, only a few received minor injuries. There were no fatalities.
“Whether you are an aviation enthusiast or not, US Airways Flight 1549 struck a chord with people across the country and around the world with its heroic story about successfully overcoming almost insurmountable odds,” said Sun ’n Fun President John Burton. “Sun ’n Fun is truly looking forward to hosting one of the key players in this remarkable story – First Officer Jeff Skiles – at this year’s International Fly-In and Expo. Many have seen the dramatic video footage and read about the heroic efforts to safely and efficiently land a disabled passenger jet in one of the world’s most congested airspaces. But few have had a chance to hear Jeff’s first-person account of what happened, from uneventful take-off to the remarkably safe and successful water landing.”
Skiles will participate in a number of scheduled activities during the week, highlighted by an Evening Program at the Florida Air Museum’s outdoor Pavilion on Wednesday, April 14, beginning at 8 p.m.; a “Museum Mingle” for members of the Florida Air Museum on Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m.; a Museum Lecture on Friday, April 16 at 2 p.m.; and a host of other activities.
Skiles started flying at the age of 16 and has logged more than 15,000 hours as pilot in command. His mother and father – both pilots – introduced him to flying at an early age. His early flying time was spent with his father over the Alcan Highway to Alaska. He went on to become a CFI, flew cargo aircraft and later worked for a commuter airline. He has spent the past 23 years as a first officer and captain for US Airways. He currently owns a Waco.
For more information: Sun-n-Fun.org.