Dec. 11, 2009 -- Here's your chance to own a little bit of aviation history: Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the US Airways pilots who made the amazing emergency landing in the Hudson River last winter, is auctioning off one of his captain's hats to benefit two schools in the San Francisco area.
The fact that he was not wearing the hat -- or any hat -- during the January "Miracle on the Hudson" flight has apparently not hindered its value. The eBay auction started Monday, and by Friday morning more than 60 people had placed bids (click here to see the auction site), driving the price up to more than $5,500.
"We couldn't have dreamed that it would be, at this point, this high. We're very encouraged by the public's support and the Sullenbergers' generosity in the donation to support public education," said Denise Hibbard, principal of Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, Calif.
This hat, which he has worn the hat many years, is autographed by Sullenberger and sits in a protective plastic box. The winning bidder will get the hat and a personally written note from Sullenberger and his wife Lorraine "Lorrie" Sullenberger.
Sullenberger has another hat he currently wears but doesn't have any plans at this time to sell his new hat or any other parts of his uniform.
Dougherty Valley High School and its sister school in fundraising events, Lockwood Elementary School in Oakland, Calif., will use the money raised to fund various school programs.
Sully's Hat to Help Fund Tutoring Program
So how did Dougherty Valley get the hat? The Sullenberger's daughters Katie and Kelly to both attend the school.
"Their act of kindness has really inspired and supported the efforts of our hard-working teachers in our school, and I know it will encourage others to donate and help support our students," Hibbard said.
Among other things, the money will go to an after-school tutoring program for students who haven't passed the state's exit exams in math or English and to help send kids with financial hardships on a band and choir trip to Canada.
The schools say on eBay that it can't promise that Sullenberger will personally deliver the hat, adding that the "well-worn (but well-maintained!) hat" is been used all around the country and "probably has more frequent flyer miles than you do."