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First Captain Recounts "Miracle on the Hudson"

Jeff Skiles spoke at EAA Thursday night about his role in landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.
US Airways Flight 1549 was destined for Charlotte, but just minutes after takeoff it encountered a flock of geese, disabling engine power and turning the Hudson River into a runway. First Officer Jeff Skiles was able to keep calm, and save all 155 people aboard.

        "For me, I never really doubted that we'd be successful."

Skiles spent Wednesday in New York, recounting the event with survivors.

        "We actually took a ferry out onto the water onto the spot and toasted with champagne at the appropriate time," says Skiles. "The time that we landed five years ago."

A Wisconsin native, Skiles now serves as the Vice President of Communities and Member Programs at EAA. He's told his story hundreds of times, but tonight he had a unique opportunity - a chance to share it with an aviation crowd.

        "They understand a lot of the little things I'll say in my story that maybe the general public might not generally understand," he says.

He preached the importance of trusting in one-another, and in preparing for any situation.

        "Every day we walk around and we have this network that surrounds us," says Skiles. "And fortunately most of us never have need of it, but it's there when we do."

He says despite his national fame - little has changed since that fateful day.

        "It's given me a lot of opportunities, but on the other hand my life really hasn't changed much. I still live in the same house, and drive the same cars, not much has changed."
Skiles is on a leave of absense from US Airways, and at this point, says he's unsure whether or not he'll return.

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