Fly by Wire: Sully, Re-examined

William Langewiesche's new book is not a takedown of Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, but rather a reminder that opportunity, not valor, is perhaps the better part of heroism

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Passengers in an inflatable raft move away from an Airbus 320 U.S. Airways aircraft that went down in the Hudson River in New York City on Jan. 15, 2009

Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson
William Langewiesche
Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 193 pages

The Gist:
It took just 211 sec. for Chesley Sullenberger to guide U.S. Airways Flight 1549 to the safety of the Hudson River on a frigid January afternoon, and a New York minute for his legend to flourish. In this slim volume, William Langewiesche lets some of the air out of Sully's soaring mystique. The Vanity Fair correspondent, a professional aviator himself, hails the captain as a "superb pilot" whose "extraordinary concentration" helped...

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