Everyone’s Talking About Flight 1549

23 Jan 09 One Comment

Everyone’s heard about the A320 that successfully landed in the Hudson and almost everyone seems to have an opinion. Finding the insightful points of view can take a little bit more time. Here’s my collection of the most interesting pieces on the Web that deal with the flight and its aftermath.

Yesterday, new footage of the plane in the river was released:
1010 WINS New York’s #1 source for local news, traffic and weather – Security Cam. Shows Plane’s Hudson River Crash Landing

The Con Ed tape, which company spokesman Chris Olert said was recorded by a security camera at a steam plant on Manhattan’s west side, begins with the plane hitting the river and skidding to a halt in a spray of water and steam at 3:25 p.m.

Within a minute, an emergency slide folds from the plane’s right side, and the first passengers and crew members appear on the wings where dozens gathered to await rescue. One or two people are visible in the water, which authorities said was a dangerous 41 degrees at the time.

Photographs of the airplane recovery:
AOPA Pilot Blog: Reporting Points » Blog Archive » Fishing for an A320

Flight Sim view of landing in the Hudson:
BBC NEWS | Special Reports | A pilot’s eye view of NY crash flight

The achievement of Captain Chesley Sullenberger in getting his plane down safely has astonished pilots and aviation experts.

US Airways letter to the passengers:
What US Airways is Doing for The Passengers of Flight 1549 >> The Cranky Flier – Airlines|Airports|Air Travel Blog

On behalf of all of us at US Airways, we hope that you have returned home and are resting and recovering following the evacuation of Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009. We are extremely grateful that our crew used their combined experience and training to safely land and evacuate all of the passengers onboard this flight. We also thank you, as many of you also played a role in ensuring a quick and safe exit.

Some pertinent points regarding the media coverage:
Ditching of US Air 1549 – Few clarification | Plastic Pilot

It is interesting to see that the co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, was the flying pilot on this leg, but Captain Sullenberger decided to take over after the bird strike. Taking this decision and its acceptation by the co-pilot reveals excellent CRM. Swapping the flying pilot and non-flying pilot roles under such circumstances requires in-depth training and conviction that the CRM principles are good.

Aviatrix objects to the terminology:
Cockpit Conversation: Safety Is Not a Miracle

And then, having interviewed everyone available and panned around everyone’s cellphone photographs, for lack of anything else to say about it, the networks and headline writers started calling it ‘a miracle,’ and making me yell at the TV. Don’t get me wrong: this landing wasn’t a routine occurrence. It’s a stunning, inspiring event. It’s good that no one died. It’s also good that no one died on the hundreds of flights US Airways conducted that day without incident. But I think it’s somewhat insulting to attribute any of that safe flying to divine intervention.

A pilot steps through the sequence of events:
Flight Level 390: Dual Engine Flame Out, continued…

The crew sees the geese, then feels the impact forces. Flight deck alarms are going off, one after the other. You can feel the aircraft decelerating. Get the nose down, fast! Maintain airspeed!What is happening here? A sick feeling washes over you from head to toe.

A bit of a light-hearted view:
Do birds fly in clouds ? – PPRuNe Forums

Owls are night rated and equipped (and oh so silent) In fact night aerobatic. One passed me walking dogs half an hour ago at head height pulled up and virtually stall turned onto a branch. Very skilful!

A more serious answer:
Flight Without Horizon References in European Starlings

Radar studies (Griffin 1972) suggest that some birds can maintain straight and level flight under completely overcast conditions, but birds flying within clouds may produce erratic tracks, suggesting disorientation in the absence of visual cues.

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