The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) applauded President Biden’s nomination of hero pilot and aviation champion Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), noting the retired airline captain’s longtime support of business aviation.
“I can think of no one better to represent U.S. aviation interests at ICAO than Capt. Sullenberger,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We all know his heroism, and he has been an ardent safety advocate and aviation expert for his entire 50-year flying career. He is also a champion for our industry, repeatedly speaking out for business aviation in public. NBAA strongly supports his ambassadorship.”
The ICAO Council is a permanent body composed of 36 member states, carrying out executive functions of the ICAO Assembly, administering air transport, air navigation, technical cooperation and other functions.
At its 2017 convention, NBAA awarded Sullenberger its American Spirit Award for speaking in opposition to air traffic control (ATC) privatization in the media and in video advertisements.
Sullenberger also served as a keynote speaker at the association’s 2015 convention, detailing for attendees his “Miracle on the Hudson” water landing of a US Airways Airbus 320-200 in the New York City river on Jan. 15, 2009, after multiple bird strikes disabled both power plants. Famously, Sullenberger, first officer Jeffrey Skiles and the cabin crew ensured the survival of all 155 passengers and crew.
With more than 20,000 flight hours, Sullenberger advanced safety as a mentor pilot and accident investigator long before the 2009 incident. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he served as a fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force from 1975 to 1980. He advanced to become a flight leader and a training officer, attaining the rank of captain.