Virgin tycoon SIR Richard Branson is desperate to hire the heroic pilot of last month's (15Jan09) miraculous Hudson River plane crash - insisting he'll make him the "best-paid pilot" on his airline. The billionaire business mogul was left stunned by US Airways' Captain Chesley B. 'Sully' Sullenberger's quick thinking to land his plane on the river after the craft collided with a flock of geese upon departure from New York's LaGuardia airport.
All 155 passengers and crew were safely escorted from the sinking fuselage, and Branson is intent on bringing the Captain onboard his Virgin Atlantic Airways - at any cost.
He tells the New York Daily News, Id like him to come fly for us. Well make him the best-paid pilot at Virgin - well 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.
"Every single thing he could have done right, he did right - from the second he made that decision not to go to that local airport, to put the plane down in the water, to the way he looked after everybody.
Considering the offer, Sullenberger adds, "Thats amazing. I hadnt heard that. I will be happy to entertain all the things that are coming my way,
AirlinePilotCentral.com estimates the 58-year-old Air Force veteran makes around $138,000 (£97,700) annually as a commercial pilot.