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Spencer Green

Spencer Green

Posted January 19, 2009 | 11:00 AM (EST)

The Tragic Downfall of Chesley B. Sullenberger III


Jan. 15, 2009 - Veteran Air Force/US Airways pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III successfully lands an Airbus A320, Flight 1549 from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, onto the Hudson River after birds fly into its engines; 155 passengers are rescued, unharmed.

Jan. 16, 2009 - Media report spotless record of Sullenberger, who is hailed as a hero; copies of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and Ibsen's "The Wild Duck" are burned en masse, along with photos of relief pitcher Rich "Goose" Gossage.

Jan. 19, 2009 - Episode of "24" is quickly reshot to include Sullenberger-like pilot avoiding deadly mid-air plane collision caused by terrorists; Jack Bauer salutes him before torturing an 8-year-old blind girl.

Jan. 20, 2009 - Nation celebrates "Chesley B. Sullenberger III Day"; Obama inauguration is carried only on CTI Zhong Tian Channel.

Jan. 22, 2009 - Oscar nominations are postponed as Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers, and 20th Century Fox launch joint production of Sullenberger's life story; Judd Apatow and Eric Roth hired to write screenplay, Clint Eastwood to star and direct before actors go on strike.

Jan. 23, 2009 - Sullenberger reluctantly does interviews; he is five minutes late for "Late Show with David Letterman," causing Letterman to do 50-minute rant on airline food, chew off Paul Shaffer's leg; Sullenberger is unable to answer Charlie Gibson's question about providing specific mechanics to create a warp bubble according to the Alcubierre theory involving waves of contracting and expanding space.

Jan. 26, 2009 - Screening tests show Sullenberger had .00000001 percent blood alcohol level at time of Flight 1549 landing, suspected of being caused by undigested rum cake Sullenberger ate at New Year's Eve celebration; Senatorial commission is formed to form a Senatorial commission to investigate criminal misconduct on Sullenberger's part.

Jan. 28, 2009 - Looking for evidence of more rum cake, reporters find half-eaten sandwich in Sullenberger's garbage; nation shocked at his wastefulness during difficult economic times.

Feb. 1, 2009 - Passenger from Flight 1549 sues US Airways, Sullenberger for "infliction of Post-Traumatic Avian-Effectuated Hydro-Disembarkation Distress," claims resulant emotional damage from landing safely on Hudson is worse than "if he had died." Other passengers join in suit; Sullenberger forced to stay in US Airways Club until legal matters can be sorted out.

Feb. 2, 2009 - PETA sues US Airways on behalf of families of the ducks and birds sucked into the Flight 1549 Airbus A320, claims Sullenberger had lifelong animosity toward flying creatures and waterfowl; Sullenberger locked in guarded US Airways bathroom for ''his own safety."

Feb. 3, 2009 - Old video footage of Sullenberger telling Marx Brothers' "Why a duck?" routine at party becomes widespread hit on YouTube; Sullenberger claims to have never seen "The Cocoanuts" but, ironically, has seen "Duck Soup."

Feb. 4, 2009 - Religious groups claim Sullenberger interfered with God's natural order by saving people on Flight 1549; he is subsequently excommunicated by Pope.

Feb. 7, 2009 - Tina Fey does riotous Chesley Sullenberger impression on "Saturday Night Live," ordering Duck a l'Orange in restaurant, then stabbing it with fork, beating it with crowbar, tossing it into huge fan; followed by hilarious Andy Samberg digital video, "Plug Up My Ass."

Feb. 10, 2009 - The Clint Eastwood version of Sullenberger's story is put in turnaround as Eastwood instead directs a film adaptation of "The Wild Duck" with himself in role of Hedvig. A cheaply made TV-movie "Brace for Impact" appears on Spike TV, with Sullenberger played by Michael Dudikoff; it is beaten in ratings by "Willie Aames' Old Skool Bible, In Your Face!"

Feb. 12, 2009 - Teacher reveals Sullenberger was unable to attend daughter's piano recital in 2001; parents' groups call him unfit father.

Feb. 15, 2009 - US Airways declares bankruptcy, Sullenberger is fired, wife files for divorce, daughter becomes fifth judge on "American Idol." Michael Bloomberg takes city keys away from Sullenberger, gives them to man who can stuff five billiard balls into his mouth.

Feb. 23, 2009 - Sullenberger stars in VH1 show "I'm With Chesley"; in premiere episode he waits to travel on Southwest, is recognized, forced into stand-by line while he is strip-searched by Gary Busey.

Feb. 28, 2009 - Veteran Air Force/American Airlines pilot Markham Polliratham successfully lands damaged Boeing 757 Flight 234 onto Emerald Dunes Golf Course after children's kites are sucked into its engines; media report spotless record of Polliratham, who is hailed as a hero.