Sunday, 15 January 2023

Miracle on the Hudson

US Airways Flight 1549 was a regular scheduled US Airways flight from New York City's LaGuardia Airport (LGA/KLGA) to Charlotte (CLT/KCLT) and Seattle (SEA/KSEA), in the United States. 
On the 15th of January 2009, the Airbus A320, with call sign 'Cactus 1549', performing the flight struck a flock of birds shortly after take-off from LaGuardia, losing all engine power. Given their position in relation to the available airports and their low altitude, pilots Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles decided to glide the plane to ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan. 
The flight was cleared for takeoff to the northeast from LaGuardia's Runway 4 at 3:24 pm local time.
With Skiles in control, the crew made its first report after becoming airborne at 3:25 as being at 700 feet (210 m) and climbing.

At 3:27 during climbout, the plane struck a flock of Canada geese at an altitude of 2,818 feet (859 m) about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north-northwest of LaGuardia. The pilots' view was filled with the large birds; passengers and crew heard very loud bangs and saw flames from the engines, followed by silence and an odor of fuel.
At 3:27 Sullenberger radioed a 'MAYDAY' call to New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) "... this is Cactus fifteen thirty-nine hit birds. We've lost thrust on both engines; we're turning back towards LaGuardia."

Sullenberger asked controllers for landing options in Teterboro Airport. Permission was given for Teterboro's Runway 1. Sullenberger initially responded "Yes", but then: "We can't do it ... We're gonna be in the Hudson". The aircraft passed less than 900 feet (270 m) above the George Washington Bridge. Sullenberger commanded over the cabin address system to "brace for impact" and the flight attendants relayed the command to passengers. Meanwhile, air traffic controllers asked the Coast Guard to caution vessels in the Hudson and ask them to prepare to assist with rescue. About ninety seconds later, at 3:31 pm, the plane made an unpowered ditching into the middle of the North River section of the Hudson tidal estuary.

All 155 people on board were rescued by nearby boats, with only a few serious injuries.

The media quickly dubbed this water landing of a powerless jetliner with no deaths "the Miracle on the Hudson" and a National Transportation Safety Board official described it as "the most successful ditching in aviation history".

The pilots and flight attendants were awarded the Master's Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in recognition of their "heroic and unique aviation achievement."

Aircraft Information:
Airline: US Airways
Code: US/AWE
Aircraft: Airbus A320-214
Registration: N106US
Serial Number: 1044
Engines: 2 x CFMI CFM56-5B4/P
First Flew: 15/06/1999.

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