Thursday, January 15, 2009

US Airways 1549

What can be said other than "miraculous"? The crew should get medals, then promotions. But it's part and parcel of the professionalism common in an industry that hasn't seen a major crash since 2001.

As usual the media are doing their fine job of saturation coverage, including the normal goofy mistakes. Here's one:
NEW YORK (AP) - A US Airways plane crashed into the frigid Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after striking a bird that disabled two engines,
We can only deduce this was one stout bird, ripping out the turbine in one engine, ejecting out the exhaust wounded, then circling around faster than the speed of the plane only to take out the other engine. Only a specially trained al-Qaeda goose could do that. But regular geese can certainly do it--birds have long been the bane of jet aircraft on takeoff. They even put out messages on it.

La Guardia airport was departing north today, not sure whether on runway 04 or 31, but this tracking page suggests it was 31, meaning he would have gained some small modicum of altitude after takeoff to clear the buildings of Harlem before turning left down the Hudson. It'll be interesting to find out exactly where the bird strike occurred. Most probably it was shortly after takeoff over the water.

Some may wonder why he didn't try to make Newark, very close and just to the west, but if both engines were gone there would have been no choice but to immediately shoot for the biggest flat spot available, even if wet. And a fine job they did. We can certainly use a few more heroes these days.

AMAZING 1/17/09

This Coast Guard video is grainy, but not too grainy to see a miraculous splashdown followed by a miraculous rescue effort. It shows several things--the rapid deceleration once the aircraft hit water; the speed of the current and how that required skill from the harbor pilots in getting people to safety; and the amazing speed on which those passengers exited the airplane.

Ironically, the plane and rescue boats floated far enough downstream in this video to pass a static display of the Concorde in the background.


LASunsett said...

Miracle is an understatement, in this case.

A.C. McCloud said...

This is shallow I know and wouldn't be appropriate had there been severe injuries, but talk about bragging rights for pilots.. Capn Sully accomplished a dead stick landing on water without even bending the airplane. He sounds like the kind of guy who wouldn't brag, though.

Oddly, Bush came into the White House with airplanes crashing into the WTC, then will leave with an airplane crashing just west of ground zero with a miracle outcome. Make of that what you will..