NEW YORK - The "Miracle on the Hudson" pilots are back together.
Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and 1st Officer Jeffrey Skiles flew Thursday from Charlotte, N.C., to New York - their first flight together since they were forced to ditch a disabled plane in the Hudson River, saving all 155 people on board.
"I was overwhelmed when I found out it was him," said Don Lambert, 61, of Fort Mill, S.C., who was on the early morning flight to LaGuardia Airport. "You feel like you have the best pilot in the world fixing to fly you to New York."
US Airways had told reporters that Sullenberger's first flight would be later Thursday out of LaGuardia, but that wasn't true.
Airline spokesman Jonathan Freed acknowledged that the flight out of LaGuardia would actually be Sullenberger's fourth flight since landing in the Hudson. He flew two passenger flights Sept. 11 as part of his re-training process.
His flight Thursday morning from Charlotte was his first with Skiles. The Daily News of New York was first to report the earlier flight.
When asked why US Airways released incorrect information, Freed said the flight out of LaGuardia was important because it was "symbolic" for the crew.
"It's the one that they're emotionally attached to," Freed said.
Sullenberger ditched the Airbus A320 on Jan. 15 in the Hudson after a collision with a flock of geese killed power in both engines minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia. All his passengers were saved, and "Sully" was celebrated as an American hero.
"Everybody cheered and clapped when we got on the plane in Charlotte," said Wyatt Smith, 41, also from Fort Mill. "I put my seat back and took a nap. I felt really honored and safe that it was him."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.