Chesley Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who safely landed a crippled airliner last year in the "Miracle on the Hudson" announced Wednesday he has retired.
"Sully," as the unflappable 59-year-old pilot is known to the public, said his three-decade career had been a "passion."
He shot to prominence on January 15 last year when his Airbus A320 flew into a flock of geese, instantly knocking out power in both engines.
Sullenberger managed to steer to the Hudson River, off Manhattan, and made a smooth landing quickly dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson." All 155 passengers and crew survived.
Sullenberger officially returned to work last October after the media frenzy over his accomplishment had died down. No reason was given for his departure.
But he sounded a bitter note in his retirement statement saying that pilots always hoped to "leave their profession better off than they found it. In spite of the best efforts of thousands of my colleagues, that is not the case today."
In the wake of the Hudson landing Sullenberger became an instant celebrity.
He wrote a book, attended President Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington, and appeared on multiple television talk shows.