15 Years On: US Airways 1549 Lands in the Hudson, New York

15 Years On: US Airways 1549 Lands in the Hudson, New York
Edmund Seeger, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

15 years ago today, US Airways flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River in Manhattan, New York in a miraculous turn of events where everyone was saved.

Dubbed “The Miracle on the Hudson”, the aircraft suffered a dual-engine failure following a bird strike that forced the Airbus A320 into the river.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

US Airways 1549 Lands in the Hudson River: 15 Years On…


15 Years On: US Airways 1549 Lands in the Hudson, New York
Spyropk, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

US Airways flight 1549 departed from LaGuardia Airport in New York on January 15, 2009, and initially proceeded to climb out of the area in the direction of Seattle via a stopover in Charlotte.

At an altitude of 2,800 feet, N106US, the Airbus A320 involved in this incident, hit birds, which resulted in a double flame-out on it’s engines.

Captain Sullenberger took controls of the aircraft and called out Mayday whilst First Officer Skiles went through the checklist to see if they could get the engines to restart following the incident.

Around 90 seconds after that, the crew realised that the engines wouldn’t restart and proceeded to think about ditching the aircraft in the Hudson River, to avoid the high city buildings of New York.

The jet successfully ditched in the Hudson River, with “one impact, no bounce”, and slowed down before an evacuation began.

Following that, New York Waterway ferries and the Coast Guard headed to the aircraft to get passengers out of the water, which was around 5’c in air temperatures of -19’c.

As seen in the movie, Sully, the investigation showed that the crew could have landed at an airport, but did not take into consideration real-world scenarios.

Once this was considered, the NTSB affirmed that the ditching of the aircraft provided the highest probability of survival.

Quick Thinking Saved Lives…


Edmund Seeger, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Given the NTSB’s findings of the incident in the Hudson, New York, the quick thinking of the crew onboard US Airways Flight 1549 saved everyone onboard.

As mentioned in the film Sully, played by Tom Hanks, the movie explores a lot of the conflicts and nightmares that he had during the aftermath of the ditching, which gave a sense of doubt into whether he thought he did the right thing.

Of course, what Captain Sullenberger & First Officer Skiles did during this high-pressure event was perform their job to the highest standard, and it worked out for them.

US Airways flight 1549, and the ditching in the Hudson River in New York, will always be remembered as an important event in aviation safety.

And as 15 years passes since the ditching, it’s incidents and accidents like this that further reinforce the gravity of air safety and the integrity of the aviation industry within that.

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