All Things Travel: ‘Sully’ Is No Disaster

By Bob Weiss, CBS Boston Travel Contributor

BOSTON (CBS)  – I went right out to see the movie  “Sully,” the movie that depicts US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger saving everyone aboard when his jet crash-lands in the Hudson River one cold day in January 2009.

I give the movie high marks, with the most interesting parts taking place after the jet makes a cold water landing in the New York harbor.

For a disaster movie where everyone knows the outcome, the crowded movie theater on opening day got its money’s worth. I am not sure you need 30 minutes of paid ads and previews prior to the big show, however.

Tom Hanks does his usual good job as the jet pilot who has to make a split-second decision when birds disable both engines and he figures the plane cannot make it back to LaGuardia Airport after takeoff.

Chesley Sullenberger, played by Hanks, has doubts about his fame and good fortune.

To this travel reporter, the most interesting parts of the film took place after the crash. The rescue ferry, helicopter pilots and first responders are very real. Training after the World Trade Center collapse among New York’s first responders paid off in getting to the crash scene.

The ending of the movie apparently is not.

Sullenberger and his co-pilot faced a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing which is routine in such cases. In the movie, there is an interesting sequence where a pilot simulator is used to question Sully’s decision to ditch the plane in the Hudson River.

The NTSB at first questions the pilot’s decision, but actor Tom Hanks of course wins out.

An interesting sidelight is Sunday’s Parade Magazine, which featured an article about the movie. It has a sidebar on how celebrities would act “If I were President.” Hanks is one of the contributors, and his comments are worth noting–he would improve the country’s infrastructure with high-speed rail.

The movie is well directed by Clint Eastwood. For a movie where you know the outcome, the tension builds in the theater.

Make sure you stay for the credits, as the real Sully is shown with the real people he saved at a reunion as the credits roll.

All Things Travel Reports can be heard on WBZ News Radio.

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