US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who with his crew was honored on the field before yesterday’s Super Bowl, has a high-flying offer from Richard Branson.
U.S. Airways better guard Capt. Chesley Sullenberger 3rd. Virgin Air billionaire Richard Branson wants to poach the “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot. “I’d like him to come fly for us,” Branson tell us. “We’ll make him the best-paid pilot at Virgin — we’ll give him double [the salary of] anybody else. He also can become one of the astronauts in my intergalactic spaceship company. The man can write his own ticket with me.” Sullenberger sounded interested when we conveyed Branson’s offer. “That’s amazing,” said the man who saved the lives of 155 people when he deftly landed a jetliner in the freezing Hudson River on Jan. 15. “I hadn’t heard that.” Sully, whom we reached at his home in Danville, Calif., wouldn’t say what his next move will be, but he’s been getting offers. A lot. “I will be happy to entertain all the things that are coming my way,” he told us.
Virgin Galactic is aiming for its maiden commercial space flight in late 2010. The cost is expected to be about $200,000 or 25 million Virgin frequent flyer points. Customers of the Australia-based Virgin Blue earn a chance in their space flight lottery for every frequent flyer point they accrue.