Pilot who landed jet in Hudson honored in Calif | SierraSun.com

Pilot who landed jet in Hudson honored in Calif

SACRAMENTO ” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the US Airways pilot who safely landed his plane in the Hudson River last month is a “great international hero, a national hero and a California hero.”

“There is a big difference between a movie hero ” yes, I’ve done many movies ” and a real hero, and this is a real hero,” Schwarzenegger said as about 200 people cheered and waved small California flags during a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda honoring Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

Schwarzenegger, who starred in such movies as “The Terminator” and “Total Recall” before becoming governor, said he marveled that Sullenberger had only two minutes to land his Airbus A320 in the Hudson after it was struck by geese and lost power shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport on Jan. 15.

“It takes me more than two minutes to pick my tie every morning,” Schwarzenegger said.

He said California legislators struggling to pass a $42 billion budget-balancing plan that includes $14.4 billion in tax increases could use Sullenberger as an example.

“The Legislature upstairs needs a great hero in the state Capitol,” he said.

The governor presented Sullenberger with a black jacket with a state seal on the front, a California flag that had flown over the Capitol and a license plate with the words “California Hero” on it.

Sullenberger, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area community of Danville, said he accepted the honor on behalf of the other crew members of Flight 1549 and the “many thousands of aviation professionals whose daily devotion to duty make air travel safe.”

He said the thousands of letters, cards and e-mails he had received since his forced landing indicated people are “searching for good news.”

“We are looking for reasons to hope again and we are looking for reassurance that the things we hold dear … that our ideals are still true,” he said.

“I stand before you today to tell you that our ideals are still true and when we remain true to our ideals and work together there is nothing we can’t accomplish.”

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