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Sullenberger Aviation Museum takes flight in Charlotte

New aeronautical museum honors the heroic pilot from “The Miracle on the Hudson.”

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger stands at a podium in the Sullenberger Aviation Museum.

Captain Sullenberger came to Charlotte for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the museum named in his honor.

Photo by CLTtoday

“He did not choose this path. He didn’t want a museum named after him,” said Ric Elias, the CEO of Red Ventures, who looked in reverence to Captain C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot responsible for saving his life and 153 other people during the flight known as “The Miracle on the Hudson.”

Capt. Sullenberger’s act of landing a plane on the Hudson River after a bird strike on Jan. 15, 2009 is now immortalized at The Sullenberger Aviation Museum — formerly known as the Carolinas Aviation Museum. The museum reopens Saturday, June 1 at 4108 Minuteman Way on the grounds of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

A giant monitor reading "Sullenberger Aviation Museum" hangs over the US Airways flight inside a former airport hanger.

The Sullenberger Aviation Museum displays preserved artifacts from US Airways Flight 1549, including the plane itself.

Photo by CLTtoday

The museum offers an historical record of “The Miracle on the Hudson,” a look at the NTSB investigation following the crash, plus a chronicle of US aviation, and immersive exhibits.

“I do think about (the crash) almost everyday and what I and many others accomplished that day,” said Sullenberger who attended the museum’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Many survivors of the crash were also in attendance for the event. Beth McHugh, survivor of Flight 1549, recounted the experience: “We were given the gift of another day.”

Editor’s note: Flight 1549 was bound for Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The now-retired pilot spoke to CLTtoday as the Airbus A320-214 aircraft he landed stood behind us in the museum’s hanger. “It’s like seeing an old friend.”

A collection of preserved letters, cards, and photographs encased behind a glass display.

Captain Sullenberger said his family received more than 50,000 written messages from admirers in the wake of “The Miracle on the Hudson.”

Photo by CLTtoday

The Sullenberger Aviation Museum will be open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. + Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Admission is $24 for adults + $18 for children. Seniors, military, service veterans are $20 per ticket.

“This museum is for everyone,” said Sullenberger. “It tells not just the story of aviation but the purpose of humanity.”

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