He safely landed his commercial airliner in New York's Hudson River with no deaths or injuries.

Now, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger will touch down in Mobile.

The 72-year-old, now the U.S. Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization, is the keynote speaker for Mobile's Hargrove Foundation at their annual dinner.

The event is at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 30. It raises funds for charities in Alabama.

Details and ticket purchases can be found here.

Sully was a classmate of Alan Zeigler of Hoover in their U.S. Air Force Academy class of 1973. Zeigler said, "Sully is a by-the-book guy. He has a plan for every contingency. When he had to land the plane, he knew the steps to take. It was a process."

"All Sully ever wanted to do was be a pilot," he added. "He is a dead-serious pilot."

I thought how blessed the passengers were – and that America was – to have such a person as Sully flying that plane.

Authorities investigated Sully's actions and put him and his wife through the third degree. The conclusion was that "ditching" the plane in the Hudson was the safest course with the least risk.

Two Sully books, a "Sully" movie (Tom Hanks, 2016), hundreds of public appearances, and an ambassadorship later, and most Americans know the story of "The Miracle on the Hudson."

Sullenberger has been a safety advocate his entire career. As a global thought leader, he has resumed his profession as a sought-after speaker to audiences worldwide. He continues his advocacy for safety in global air travel. He will bring that message to Mobile, which is now building a new airport.

Born in Denison, Texas, Sullenberger pursued his childhood love of aviation, learning to fly at age 16. After finishing the Air Force Academy and graduate school, he was a fighter pilot in the Air Force. He went on to be a commercial airline pilot, instructor, and accident investigator. He still flies privately.

Sullenberger is an international lecturer on achieving the highest levels of performance, reliability and safety through effective crisis management, continuous learning, leadership and culture.

Those Alabama folk who go to hear the Sullenberger address can expect a thorough and inciteful presentation. Sullenberger is a member of the Mensa Society for top-level intellects.

Sully is a legitimate American folk hero. We seem to have fewer of those and need more in these times. Welcome to Alabama. 

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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