CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( TheStreet) -- Like many people, Ed Bular found himself engaged on Sept. 11, 2001, in ways he had never envisioned.
Early that morning, as senior director for flight operations for US Airways (LCC), Bular, then 49, made rapid decisions on a series of unprecedented operational issues, including where to land the carrier's trans-Atlantic flights. A few hours later, he was drafted to represent United (UAL) as the first "airline guy" at the scene of the crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
|Ed Bular, US Airways Senior Director, Flight Operations.|
United Flight 93, a Boeing (BA) 757, took off from Newark Liberty International Airport at 8:42 a.m., bound for San Francisco with just 37 passengers aboard. Hijackers took it over at 9:28 a.m., apparently intending to turn it around and crash into a Washington target -- perhaps the Capitol or the White House. But United 93 passengers learned of the day's previous three plane crashes through phone calls and ended up storming the cockpit, forcing the Shanksville crash at 10:03 a.m.Today, Bular is US Airways' senior vice president for flight operations and inflight services. He is not only an airline guy but also a Pittsburgh guy, born in nearby Bentleyville, Pa. As a youth, he joined the Air Force, came out as a pilot and joined US Air in 1980. By 2001 he worked near the airline's operations control center, just outside Pittsburgh in Moon Township, Pa. As the morning of Sept. 11 unfolded, Bular was working in a situation room with about two dozen others, taking in the information pouring in from phone calls, cockpit crews and CNN. The first aircraft hit the World Trade Center in New York around 8:46 a.m; about an hour later, the Federal Aviation Administration shut down U.S. airspace to civilian air travel.
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