"We Have a Moral and Ethical Obligation to Do the Best We Can," Says Capt. Sullenberger
November 5, 2009

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger told attendees of the International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference today details of the now-dubbed “Miracle on the Hudson,” but also of his commitment to safety—and how it developed.

“I, too, share your commitment not only to safety but also to doing the best job possible, because it matters,” he said.

He continued, “We have a moral and ethical obligation to do the best we can.”

Sully shared several anecdotes about the years leading up to the January 15 landing on the Hudson River in the wake of disaster—an event that has made him a household name.

One of these was about his daughter, who once asked him to define integrity.
“I gave her a definition that now I realize was a pretty good one,” he said. “Integrity means doing the right thing even when it’s not convenient.”

Sullenberger went on to explain how he has applied this rule in all aspects of his life, including his profession.

“Being an airline pilot means doing the right thing every time,” he said. “It means being the conscience of my industry.”

“Why do I do these things?” he went on to ask. “My passengers deserve it, my colleagues expect it and my profession demands it … Something you’ll probably never hear an airline pilot say is ‘It’s not my job’ or ‘It’s not my fault.’”

Since the January 15 incident, Sullenberger said and his crew have heard some surprising reaction from other pilots, even with other airlines.

“They tell us they feel a pride in our profession because of this event that they haven’t felt in years,” he said.

But, he reminded attendees that his commitment to safety came long before that fateful day.

“I’ve been a consistently outspoken advocate for safety,” he concluded. “At my company I was a known quantity before that happened.”

He also noted what an accomplishment the AGRSS Council had undertaken when they developed the Standard.

“I can imagine when you all started this it was like trying to remove all the water from the ocean with a teaspoon—what an undertaking,” he said.

Members of AGRSS-registered companies and AGRSS affiliate members were able to participate in a private breakfast with Capt. Sullenberger prior to the keynote speech, which also was attended by NACE Expo participants. The International Auto Glass Safety Conference concluded today at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and was one of the many events that makes up Auto Glass Week™.

Stay tuned for more information from the event, along with video footage from Sullenberger’s speech.

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