‘Miracle on the Hudson' copilot visits Carolinas Aviation Museum as anniversary nears

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Four years ago, Capt. Sully Sullenberger landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.

On Monday, his copilot, Jeff Skiles, was at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.

“Everybody on board that aircraft has some memory of where they were standing, where they were sitting, so it's always going to be impactful to come back here," Skiles said.

Four years later and more than 600 miles from New York's Hudson River, Flight 1549 now sits propped up inside a hanger as a museum piece.

For Skiles, Monday was the first time he's seen the wreckage put back together.

"It really is something to see, frankly, all the damage to it, because I never saw that," Skiles said.

Skiles met museum visitors like 14-year-old Benjamin Teague, who had the chance to hear from him about what it was like to help land the plane.

"For me, it would have been scary to have to actually have to land an aircraft in the water like that," Teague said.

Skiles said there wasn't time to be fearful of the situation. In fact, he describes calmly falling back on his training and trying to get the engines re-fired.

"We were busy doing what airline pilots do and fortunately on that day, it was enough to do our part or what eventually became known as the Miracle on the Hudson,” he said.

The heroic actions of Skiles and Sullenberger are now immortalized in a display that not only features the battered plane, but also items pulled from the wreckage.

"Everybody's life has changed in some way or another from that incident. I think, or hope anyways, that it's been a good change. I know it has been for me," Skiles said.

Two months after the now-infamous flight, Skiles said he was back in the cockpit. He is currently on a leave of absence from U.S. Airways working in other fields of aviation, but said he plans to return.