CBNNews.com - US Airways Flight 1549 has come to be known as "the Miracle on the Hudson." But today, the miracle pointed to serious trouble in the airline industry.
And the crew -- who guided that plane to safety-- took their concerns to Congress.
Greeted with Applause and Praise
Members of the House Aviation Committee stood to applaud the crew of when they came into the committee chambers this morning.
The applause was followed by praise for Pilot Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his team of airline veterans, who each have more than 25 years experience.
"While I love my profession, I do not like what has happened to it," Sullenberger testified.
Capt. Sullenberger credits experience and passion for the safe landing on January 15.
Sullenberger Tells What Life Is Like for Airline Employees
But it comes at a price that grows more painful each year. His salary is 40 percent less than years ago, and his pension is gone. Captain Sullenberger said he and many other pilots have taken jobs on the side to help make ends meet.
"Americans have been experiencing huge economic difficulties in recent months," Sullenberger told the committee. "But airline employees have been experiencing those challenges and more for eight years. We've been hit by an economic tsunami -- September 11th, bankruptcies, fluctuating fuel prices, mergers, loss of pensions and revolving management teams who have used airline employees as an ATM," he continued.
Aviation committee members also heard from the experienced voice at the other end of the emergency landing, Air Traffic Controller Patrick Harden.
"I asked him to repeat himself even though I heard him just fine," Harden said. "People do not survive landings on the Hudson River. I thought it was his own death sentence.
Harden has ten years on the job and admitted recruiting new people is not easy.