This aviation museum is being renamed to honor Capt. Sully and US Airways Flight 1549 crew

Jan 14, 2022

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To mark the 13th anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight, the Carolinas Aviation Museum said it will rename the museum to honor Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the retired Air Force fighter pilot who successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after crashing into a flock of geese on Jan. 15, 2009.

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Thirteen years ago, Capt. Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeff Skiles lost both engines after their Charlotte-bound Airbus A320 hit geese shortly after taking off from LaGuardia. Sully and Skiles managed to glide the plane onto the river’s surface and keep it afloat until all 155 passengers and crew members aboard could be rescued.

Sully has since authored two books and serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations funding agency dedicated to the planning and development of international air transport. A movie directed by Clint Eastwood that starred actor Tom Hanks as Sully was released in 2016.

The Smithsonian-affiliated Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte will reopen in 2023 under its new name (to be released later this year) as a permanent ode to the captain and flight crew.

“I am forever indebted to Captain Sully and the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 for my second chance at life, and, for 13 years, I have been determined to find a way to honor them,” said crash survivor Ric Elias, who is the CEO and co-founder of media conglomerate Red Ventures (parent company of TPG). “Heroes are made long before the day they are called to action. This museum will serve as an enduring tribute to the preparation, courage and dedication of the captain and the entire crew.”

Elias, who frequently speaks about his life-changing experience of being in the front row of Flight 1549, has donated $1 million toward the museum’s reopening.

The Charlotte-based Red Ventures hosts a portfolio of digital companies under its umbrella, including TPG and Lonely Planet, the latter of which donated $500,0000 to the cause.

Once the revamped museum is unveiled, visitors can expect to see a new main gallery, visitor center, plaza and newly restored historic hangar, along with aircraft and interactive cockpits and flight simulators. The museum will also highlight STEM, aviation and aerospace programming to engage students.

The new concept, developed by Freeman Ryan Design, will be located at the site of Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s historic WPA/Douglas Airport Hangar. Funding has been provided via the museum’s Lift-Off Campaign, which recently reached over $11 million in donations, halfway to its goal of $25 million.

“We’re thrilled to honor Captain Sully and the heroic ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ crew and cement our city’s place in aviation history,” CAM Board Chair Marc Oken said in a statement. “With support from the city of Charlotte, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and generous private donors, we’re looking forward to establishing the Museum as the new premiere aviation destination of the South.”

Read more: It’s the 12th anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson

Take a look at the plans for the new museum below.

Featured photo of rescue boats next to a US Airways plane floating in the water after crashing into the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009, in New York City by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images.

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