Where Is Hero US Airways Pilot Capt. Sullenberger?

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Continuing now with FOX News anchor Geraldo Rivera. Last week, the biggest hero in America was Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who successfully crash-landed a US Air jetliner on the Hudson River. Nobody was killed, an amazing achievement. But where is Captain Sullenberger? So what's going on? Why isn't he out there?

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GERALDO RIVERA, HOST, "GERALDO AT LARGE": I don't know why he hasn't spoken up until now, but I do know that tomorrow in his hometown…

O'REILLY: Parade.

RIVERA: ...that's Danville, California…

O'REILLY: Right.

RIVERA: ...he will get a hero's welcome.

O'REILLY: There's a parade.

RIVERA: And he should.

O'REILLY: Right, right.

RIVERA: It's the most, as I said, the most incredible feat of aviation skill that has ever happened since at least Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic solo nonstop or Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier. This guy is a magnificent hero.

The bigger question as we see the emergency float being deployed there — and that's incredible video — the bigger question is: Why did those engines stall? Was it just the bird strike?

O'REILLY: Bird strike, yeah.

RIVERA: A random bird strike? I hold in my hand what's called an Airworthiness Directive. All right, this Airworthiness Directive, which is, in effect, December 31, 2008 reads: "This Airworthiness Directive results from an Airbus A-321 airplane powered by a..." and it goes on to designate the engine, the turbo fan engines experiencing high pressure compressor stalls during climb out after takeoff. In other words, airplanes with that Airbus with the engines that that airplane had were suffering stalls…

O'REILLY: Stalls.

RIVERA: ...during climb-out after takeoff. So now you have December 31, 2008, Airworthiness Directive, every Airbus of that sort has to be inspected, OK. That's December 31, 2008.

What happens next? January 13, 2009, Tuesday, the same flight, LaGuardia to Charlotte, North Carolina, guess what? The same aircraft experiences compressor stalls. The engine stalls. The passengers are worried. They panic. The pilot says we have to go back. We have to make an emergency landing. That is the same aircraft, this is Tuesday, that on Thursday Chesley Sullenberger…

O'REILLY: Not the same plane.

RIVERA: Well, it is the same plane, Bill.

O'REILLY: It is the same plane?

RIVERA: It's the same exact plane.

O'REILLY: Really?

RIVERA: The fuselage number is N106US.

O'REILLY: OK, now…

RIVERA: Same aircraft.

O'REILLY: All right, hold it. So you're going to have more on this on your show.

RIVERA: The NTSB admits that the engine was screwed up on Tuesday.

O'REILLY: So they knew the engine was bad?

RIVERA: They knew they had a compressor stall. They knew it.

O'REILLY: Oh, my God.

RIVERA: They knew it.

O'REILLY: So you're going to go through this on your show.

RIVERA: I'm saying that to suggest that it is…

O'REILLY: Birds.

RIVERA: ...pure coincidence that that same aircraft that on Tuesday, two days before…

O'REILLY: Stalled.

RIVERA: ...had a compressor stall in the air to say that it's just a coincidence that the birds hit the engine and the engines quit…

O'REILLY: All right.

RIVERA: ...and Sullenberger has to be a hero. I'm telling you, there's more to this story.

O'REILLY: All right.

RIVERA: And I'm investigating it.

O'REILLY: All right. So Geraldo will be on Saturday at 8:00. Check him out. We'll be back with more on Monday on it.

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