1. St. Petersburg

'Sully' Sullenberger to join local monument advisory board

ST. PETERSBURG — The World's First Airline Monument Project, which will commemorate the historic 1914 flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back with a monument in the Pier District, has a new member on its honorary advisory board.

The new member is Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan in 2009 after both engines were disabled.

Will Michaels, president of Flight 2014, the nonprofit group that takes it name from the centennial year of Tony Jannus' historic Tampa Bay flight, said the group welcomes Sullenberger's "support and advice" as its works to commemorate the world's first commercial airline.

It was on New Year's Day in 1914 that Jannus flew a Benoist Airboat across the bay in the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. His passenger was former St. Petersburg Mayor Abe Pheil.

Sullenberger was given the Tony Jannus Award in 2018, the foremost award for outstanding achievement in commercial aviation.

About $400,000 has been raised so far from private donors towards the $750,000 needed for the monument and surrounding plaza at the original hangar and takeoff site of the historic flight.