Preparation
“The reactions of all members of the crew, the split-second decision making and the handling of this emergency and evacuation were 'textbook' and an example to us all. To have safely executed this emergency ditching and evacuation, with the loss of no lives, is a heroic and unique aviation achievement.”

—Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators


On January 15, 2009, just three minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, US Airways flight 1549—an Airbus 320—struck a flock of birds in midair.

With the loss of both engines and only seconds to make critical decisions at 3,000 feet (914 m) above the river, all of the crew’s training and preparation came into play. The pilot, copilot and crew, who had logged many hours of flight time, maintained a steady demeanor that helped to sustain the passengers’ confidence during an intense situation. Additionally, first responders from the ferry boats nearby acted quickly to make sure everyone got to shore safely. The remarkable result was that all 155 persons on board survived with reports of only relatively minor injuries.

The remarkable skills of the pilot and crew captivated people around the world as TV and Internet news correspondents began to call the harrowing situation “The Miracle on the Hudson.” Yet even a miracle alone could not have accounted for the amazingly safe emergency ditching of an aircraft.

A significant part of the credit for what happened when flight 1549 went down that day lies in preparation. As disaster loomed, the crew and rescue teams calmly and consistently implemented what they had learned in years of training and emergency drills. No one involved had ever undergone a situation like this one, and yet their countless hours of experience combined to achieve the best possible outcome—an inspiring and successful rescue.

Preparation. Pass It On!

This billboard about Preparation features US Airways Flight 1549.

Download Backstory PDF

Pass It On®

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Your Comments
Connor Brewer JANUARY 29, 2021
This was an interesting passage it shows that you dont't have to be a police officer/medic ect. to be a hero.

Axel lira from United state OCTOBER 27, 2020
Hmmm that cool!

Maddi Shay from Narrows, Virginia SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
Woah!

Anonymous SEPTEMBER 18, 2019
Everything on earth is unpredictable, therefore, we must be prepared, in order to live in the society.

Abogail SEPTEMBER 7, 2019
Cool

Bouchaib Zahawi from Morocco AUGUST 9, 2017
INTERCULTURAL CITIZENSHIP

Gabe Childs from Hagerstown In MARCH 14, 2017
Always stand up for your self

Amelia from Wisconsin  DECEMBER 6, 2016
AWESOME!!!

deaznuts from somewhere DECEMBER 6, 2016
cool

Davian from Anonymous, ok OCTOBER 18, 2016
That would be horrifying happy they survived

Efrain from CA OCTOBER 12, 2016
wow i would've been very scared if i was on that plane!

hi from wi SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
cooool

LIBBY from CALAFORNIA SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
wow

Gacia from calafornia SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
Great work!!!!!!!!!!!

Dakota from Washington SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
At least they survived

ANONYMOUS from WI,MILWAKEE SEPTEMBER 14, 2016
At least they got rescued.

katywoods from california SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
wow i love this story

donna from wisconsin SEPTEMBER 12, 2016
this is just amazing

q from indianana SEPTEMBER 1, 2016
omg

sonny from scool AUGUST 23, 2016
cool

mckenzie from lewes, DE NOVEMBER 18, 2015
omg

Anonymous from Ga SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
Wow!!!

Chris from TRMMS MARCH 4, 2014
I remember watching this on the news nd reading the book I think the crew of US Airways flight 1549 did something that most people couldn't... they stayed calm, and i think that is why everyone survived

ROBERT M from RIDGEFIELD,CT MARCH 1, 2014
WHEN I LOOKED AT THIS BILLBOARD AND REFLECTED ON THE EVENTS OF JAN 15, 2009 I IMAGINED THAT I WAS SITTING IN MY "DENTIST" CHAIR WATCHING THE RESCUE ON HIS FLAT SCREEN WHILE HAVING "ROOT CANAL" ON MY UPPER MOLAR "ANESTHESIA FREE" THAT'S HIGH I FELT ABOUT THE HUMAN CHAMPIONS IN ALL OF US. WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY AND LESSON ON SULLY'S LEADERSHIP AND PREPARATION SKILLSET. GRACEFUL ACTION UNDER SUCH STRESS. TRULY AMAZING. THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY........."ANGEL AIRLINES"

malchi from hartford FEBRUARY 28, 2014
that is amazing how they did that

katy woods from california FEBRUARY 6, 2014
wow i love this story!!

vanessa from ohio FEBRUARY 5, 2014
Really brave!!

Lesley from walnut,MS. JANUARY 31, 2014
that is really brave!!!!!

caleb from minnetonka,MN OCTOBER 28, 2013
Luv This Story!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sharon Thomas from Gainesville, FL 32606 AUGUST 16, 2013
Split decision making saving lives under cool pressure is beyond awesome.

Brian from Holland PA APRIL 27, 2013
The pilots are true American hero's !!!! I don't fly anymore, but if I do I want these guys in the cockpit.

bruce from china MARCH 25, 2013
This is an incredible miracle! Think of all the training and effort that the crew put in to make the passengers safe.

Frank the man from Ttt FEBRUARY 4, 2013
This is incredible :)

brandon from two rives  FEBRUARY 4, 2013
wow

:) from :P FEBRUARY 4, 2013
Wow...how'd they do that?!

reyes from kas st JANUARY 25, 2013
Wow!

bob from florida JANUARY 7, 2013
Life lesson.

Darren from Allentown PA OCTOBER 4, 2012
Incredible life message, we need this billboard message now! I feel they would post this picture and message again on all there billboards as a reminder of how to stay cool under pressure.

Rejani Betoni from Dourados, Brasil FEBRUARY 26, 2012
We need to be like you.Thanks,Captain!!

emma from USA OCTOBER 4, 2011
Such an inspiring story! I love seeing miracles and positive things on your billboards. Keep up the good work pilot!

Marti Bridgman from Keystone Heights, FL JULY 8, 2011
As a retiree from US AIRWAYS, I was interested when I saw this billboard in Jacksonville, FL while on the way to pick up my husband from the airport on Jul 6. It is a beautiful way to celebrate that special day and to remind us all to plan

Denise P. from Cincinnati, OH JANUARY 15, 2011
I recently passed this billboard on my way home from NYC. It had a profound impact on me. Today, on the second anniversary of Miracle on the Hudson, I am reminded of my awe in seeing the news of the miraculous landing of the plane and rescue of the passengers due to the exceptional training and professionalism of the pilots which ultimately allowed this miracle to occur. Without the proper preparation and professionalism of these pilots the outcome could have been tragic.

Angel Taveras from New York, New York JANUARY 15, 2011
I work and live in NYC and you can see the river from my place. I lived through 9/11 and to see a plane flying so low, my heart dropped. I first thought was "oooh my God not again" I followed the plane with my eyes just waiting to see the impact. Then it got lower, lower and lower and hit the river I just couldn't believe it. I ran out of my apartment and walked to the river. I remembered that I crossed the street and I saw all those people starting to come on of the plane and stand in the wings they looked like there were standing in water. That truly was a miracle, no one died. It was truly a miracle.

Aaron h from adrian-madison, michigan JANUARY 10, 2011
Well I agree this was very intelligent. Just think of all the families that got another day to see their loved ones. Thanks again, captain, for another day.

aaron.h from adrin,michigan JANUARY 10, 2011
I think that it is amazing what you can do in bad situations if you just stay calm and collected.

John T. from Long Beach, CA DECEMBER 31, 2010
This billboard reminds me of my favorite Coach John Wooden quote, "Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail". I'm sure these passengers are grateful for this pilot and crew's preparation on that fateful day!

David G from Adrian-Madison Michigan DECEMBER 7, 2010
This was a very intelligent plan to land successfully into a river and float. Thanks, Captain, for saving many lives.

Rachel A. from Denver, CO DECEMBER 6, 2010
Deanna, You can download a letter-size PDF of the billboard by clicking the thumbnail above. You can also request a free set of posters from the homepage.

Barbara A from Tustin Mi. NOVEMBER 29, 2010
This is my very favorite of your boards!!! How great to see billboards that makes you respond with a smile, or a tear or just a sigh! Keep up the great work! I hope to see the latest Medal of Honor winner on one of your boards!! Thanks again for making travel a little more interesting!

Kathleen T from Cedarville, NY NOVEMBER 20, 2010
This reminds me of you.

Deanna S. from Pennsylvania NOVEMBER 20, 2010
Is there any way that I can purchase the values posters of my choice for my classroom?

MT from TX NOVEMBER 2, 2010
That is amazing!

Abby L-J from Oregon SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
Me and my friends were talking about this. I would be freaked out but at the end I think I would want to do it again. My friend said that she would say "No my luggage!" This is a really cool story, the pilot was cool and collected and didn't miss a beat. Good job!

Betty Moraes from Bakersfield, CA SEPTEMBER 11, 2010
A real life miracle. I love all of your billboards. I really enjoy seeing positive things on my way to work. Thank you!!

Charity H from Virginia SEPTEMBER 5, 2010
Yes I want the "cool under cabin pressure" as a poster too!!

Clay H from Philadelphia AUGUST 19, 2010
How do I get this "Cool under Pressure" converted into a poster that I can hang on my wall?

Kerry C. from Madison, WI JULY 24, 2010
I Love It! Sulley Is the Best!

Rich K. from New Jersey MAY 16, 2010
Great billboards, they always catch my attention. I wondered where they came from and what the inspiration was. Now, on the West Side Highway in NYC, right about where the plane "landed" is this billboard! Awesome...everybody stares at it as we slowly putter by in traffic during the morning commute.

Rosemary D from Belmar, New Jersey MARCH 26, 2010
Pass this billboard on Route 30 in Atlantic City and am totally captivated by it. The message and picture is awe inspiring, even spine tingling. Absolutely ingenious!

Diane W. from South Bend, In MARCH 23, 2010
Just saw your "Nice guys do finish first" billboard. Best thing I've seen in years. Bravo!

Nancy T. from Tempe, AZ MARCH 20, 2010
What a fabulous pilot Capt. Sully is! I was disappointed that he retired, though..I'd feel very safe if he were my pilot. Bless you, Captain, & enjoy retirement

Shelby M. from Asheville, NC JANUARY 26, 2010
Amazing. It took me awhile to understand this billboard while I was awaiting a green light at a intersection in Asheville, NC. Very cool. Keep it up.

Meredith M. from San Jose, CA JANUARY 14, 2010
I'm excited I can get the letter-sized download, but I love this message and image so much that I would buy a poster-sized one if I could!!

Rachel A. from Denver, CO DECEMBER 16, 2009
You can print your own 8.5" x 11" copy by clicking on the thumbnail above.

Evelyn L. from Raleigh, NC DECEMBER 15, 2009
I passed this billboard everyday on US-70 on my way to work in Durham until they recently took it down. Couldn't get the image out of my mind. So I came to the website to see if I could buy the poster to hang in the house. AWESOME..

Teresa I. from Utah DECEMBER 12, 2009
Love this billboard, sure wish I saw alot more of these

Yvonne S. from Kansas City, MO NOVEMBER 17, 2009
This project is amazing! The billboards always seem to 'catch my eye' and I look forward to seeing new ones. Thanks for the reminders of the values I learned from my parents at a very early age.

Mary from Minnesota NOVEMBER 15, 2009
I LOVE this billboard! I hope they never take it down here on Hwy 61 in southern MN. I get to drive by it everyday. It is a picture of 'survival'!

A.S from Michigan OCTOBER 13, 2009
I love reading all the interesting titles and how each has a story that is so inspiring to read. These stories can really make a difference.

Melinda T. from Watauga, Texas OCTOBER 10, 2009
I read this billboard during the week while driving to my very stressful job. It's my inspiration while driving on Loop 820 NW in Fort Worth, Texas. You never know how you affect other people during you life. What this Flight Crew did touched the hearts of millions.

Tina D. from Potterville, MI SEPTEMBER 23, 2009
I love this billboard. It is simply awesome. Even though it has very few words, it says alot!

Scott C. from New Castle, Indiana AUGUST 29, 2009
This is how an expert pilot can do the seemingly impossible. The flight crew were also on their "A" game by getting all the passengers out of the plane to safety. This is when you really appreciate the little safety spiel at the beginning of each flight.

Alex V. from Buffalo, NY AUGUST 4, 2009
This is my favorite billboard on RT 400 near Buffalo, NY.

Cheri L. from Fresno, CA JULY 22, 2009
This poster was the view I had outside my hotel on a recent vacation to New York. How awesome it was to wake up to this powerful message every morning. Sully is a true hero.

Scott Z. from Orlando, FL JULY 18, 2009
This is the greatest billboard ever. Sully and his crew did their job and did it extremely well. I'm not sure hero is a good word...because they did what they were trained to do...but extreme professionals would be for sure!

George M. from Baltimore, Maryland JULY 11, 2009
Totally moved by the picture. Brings back the memories as I watched CNN that January afternoon. Hail to the captain and all who did what they had to do to bring everyone to safety.

Savannah C. from Dallas, NC JULY 8, 2009
I pass this billboard three or more times a week. In the little town I'm from not many people get their full education. Hopefully people will see what preparation for the future can do! Fantastic job Sully!

Marie C. from Chesapeake, Virginia JULY 8, 2009
This billboard was just put up in the last couple of days here in Chesapeake, VA on I64E right before the High Rise Bridge. It sent shivers up my spine! Being a former Air Force Officer, I am so proud of Capt Sully. He inspires me with his demeanor and professionalism....I would love to have this as my desktop background. Thanks for making my day!

Lynn M. from Chandler, AZ JULY 4, 2009
I work for US Airways and could not be more proud of Captain Sully and 1st Officer Jeff Skiles- displayed on route 202.

Seat 3F, Flight 1549 from Charlotte JULY 1, 2009
The visual impact of this billboard is very powerful. Nothing in Time Square is more awe inspiring than this image.

Ces H. from Chandler, AZ JULY 1, 2009
Your billboards provoke thought and they truly make one reflect on personal purpose. Thanks for doing this and to your supporters. It's refreshing to hear about the good people do.

Reenee W. from Tallahassee, FL JUNE 28, 2009
Truly a Miracle! As a passenger on this flight I know I will have a testimony for life! I'm so thankful to be apart of something that will touch people lives forever!

Christina R. from Indio, CA JUNE 26, 2009
This billboard is completely awesome!!! I look for it every time I'm on the I-10 in Indio, CA. I drive by it everyday. Its the reason I am on this website now. AMAZING!!!

Laura G, M.D. from Fayetteville, NC JUNE 25, 2009
THANKS!! The billboard is on I-95. I pass it on my way to a difficult medical clinic that I attend, and it is SO inspiring. THANK YOU!!

Kirsten B. from North Carolina JUNE 23, 2009
That one made me smile from ear to ear. I would not mind flying with him & it reminds us that calmness can be as rewarding as being boisterous.

Peggy G. from Macomb, MI JUNE 21, 2009
Saw the billboard today on I-94 near Port Huron...gave me goosebumps...thanks for the gentle reminder. We all need to stop and smell the roses AND like the boy scout motto "always be prepared."

Rhonda Y. from Charlotte, NC JUNE 19, 2009
My guess is cold water on the feet never felt so good. To go through that experience and live to tell about it is incredible. So glad my friends are still around.

Lisa U. from Chicago, IL JUNE 18, 2009
Noticed it as I was eating my lunch facing a busy downtown street. IT'S THE BEST POSTER I HAVE EVER SEEN!! I had to take a picture of it with my cell phone.

Carrie S. from Greenfield, MA JUNE 17, 2009
I love reading these billboards. But this one, I was truly inspired by. I had to take that road again and again so I could read it! Thanks for inspiring me!

Kelly B. from Bakersfield, Ca. JUNE 16, 2009
This is truly an amazing picture of heroism and courage! This one caught my eye as well as others I pass everyday! Keep up the great work!

Laura N. from Phoenix, AZ JUNE 15, 2009
What a great billboard. I had to check out the website after seeing the billboard on the 202 in Chandler, AZ.

Stacie T. from Kansas JUNE 13, 2009
The best one I have ever seen... I will drive out of my way to see this on highway 96 in Wichita, Kansas.

Ron M. from Texas JUNE 9, 2009
Best one yet! Awesome!

Vallie C. from Tennessee JUNE 8, 2009
As a passenger on that plane, I was very touched to see this billboard. Captain Sully is truly my HERO!!! (I must also add that we passengers were pretty cool in getting ourselves off once he delivered the perfect landing.)

Heather M. from Trinity, FL JUNE 2, 2009
That is the most extraordinary billboard i have ever seen. I love it! That's a true hero.

Pat M. from Kentucky JUNE 2, 2009
Inspiring.....daily issues seem so small......

Jennifer Y. from Michigan MAY 26, 2009
I saw this billboard driving down I-75 in Grandblanc, MI and instantly got chills. I have always liked these billboards but this one is by far my favorite. Absolutely amazing story!

Eric H. from Brookings, OR MAY 19, 2009
Good story. Inspirational.

Eric H. from Brookings, OR MAY 19, 2009
Good story. Inspirational.

Karen W. from Charlotte, NC MAY 18, 2009
Being a US Airways employee, I was proud to see this. Thank you!

Diana Z. from California MAY 12, 2009
I just saw this today while driving on the freeway. Its truly amazing and inspiring to know that he saved every single life!

Qirong L. from Missouri MAY 12, 2009
This makes me feel like preparation is needed for everything. Without preparation nothing is going to be done or solved nicely. Like a test you have to study to get a better grade. For a battle an army needs to be ready. Preparation is so important.

Bonnie L from Brawley, California APRIL 30, 2009
This was so awesome. I had to stop on the freeway to get a picture of it!

Jay S. from Mississippi APRIL 28, 2009
That pilot deserve to be Air Force One pilot for sure.

CHINA from FIJI APRIL 23, 2009
YOU'RE AWESOME HOW CAN YOU PULL THAT OF!

Scott C. from New Castle, Indiana APRIL 19, 2009
Speaking as a Security Officer, who has had to respond to emergencies as part of his job, I am gladdened by how the professionals on this plane used their skills so well to ensure not a single life was lost. That includes not just the "cool under cabin pressure" Captain Sullenberger, but also his entire flight crew. Thanks!

Bryce M. from Canada, ON APRIL 1, 2009
That's awesome!

LILLY J. from CANADA MARCH 30, 2009
THAT IS AMAZING! I ALMOST CRIED.

Fnoase F. from Maldives MARCH 30, 2009
I saw this on CNN from that particular time and since than I do believe the pilots and cabin crews did a great job which will last forever. Well done.

ADEFEMI A., from LAGOS, NIGERIA. MARCH 27, 2009
I could not believe my eyes, the picture seems like one of those shots in stunts commonly seen in the movies but after reading through, I believe. It is wonderful, it a miracle.

Dawn B. from Georgia, USA MARCH 26, 2009
So inspirational!

Tammy F. from California MARCH 26, 2009
Look closely. With a little imagination the open doors of the plane together with the floating escape ramps look like hands holding the front of the plane!! Amazing!

MIRIAM B. from TEXAS MARCH 26, 2009
WHAT QUIET STRENGTH THIS MAN HAS HAD! A VERY AMAZING FEAT BY SUCH A MAN WISHING NO FAN FARE JUST DOING HIS JOB AS HE SEES IT.

Linda C. from Orange County, Florida MARCH 26, 2009
This would be a relevant and current teaching tool poster for any school. Just another great poster from The Foundation for a Better Life.

Melanie B. from Victoria, Texas MARCH 26, 2009
This is a great billboard!

Amy Z. from Denver, CO MARCH 26, 2009
Brilliant!

Diane S. from CT MARCH 26, 2009
Awesome poster with a great message!

Shawna A. from Manistique, MI MARCH 26, 2009
What an amazing picture and an even more amazing story! It's reassuring to know that there are people like this in the world.

Diana F. from Florida MARCH 26, 2009
Great Billboard!!

Constance C. from Waterloo MARCH 26, 2009
Amazing!

MADDY K. from CANADA MARCH 25, 2009
What an amazing story I don't no what I would have done.

JAMES B. from MEXICO MARCH 25, 2009
WOW! THAT'S INCREDIBLE!

Lenny R from Alaska MARCH 25, 2009
I would trust him to fly my plane any day.

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