Video: ‘Hero of Hudson’ receives fitting homecoming

updated 2/6/2009 6:00:23 PM ET 2009-02-06T23:00:23

The hero pilot who safely brought down a crippled airliner in the Hudson River is coming back to the scene of the near disaster.

But Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the rest of the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 are returning under much different circumstances.

Sullenberger is set to be honored on Monday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall, where he will receive a key to the city.

He and his wife and two daughters also plan to see the hit Broadway show "South Pacific."

Sullenberger set down the plane in the frigid Hudson after its engines were knocked out by bird strikes. All 155 people aboard survived.

Audio recordings released Thursday by the Federal Aviation Administration, reflect the initial tension between tower controllers and the cockpit and then confusion about whether the passenger jet went into the river.

Sullenberger calmly radioed to air traffic controllers, "We're going to be in the Hudson."

Sullenberger has told FAA investigators he glided the plane into the river rather than risking a catastrophic crash in a densely populated area.

'We're turning back'
The trouble began moments after Flight 1549 took off on Jan. 15.

"Hit birds, we lost thrust in both engines, we're turning back to LaGuardia," the aircraft reported.

Controllers handling the departure told the LaGuardia tower: "Tower, stop your departures, we got an emergency returning." After identifying the flight, they said, "He lost all engines, he lost the thrust in the engines, he is returning immediately."

But less than 20 seconds later, Flight 1549 reported: "We're unable. We may end up in the Hudson." That led to the unsuccessful scramble to divert the plane to Teterboro.

More on Chesley Sullenberger | Hudson River

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