Friday, January 16, 2009

US Airways' Miracle Ditching into the Hudson River

This morning, the news flash about US Airways crashes into the Hudson River certainly got my attention, if not the whole world especially pilots themselves. This is because as far a we know, there is only one successful ditching in the world for (modern) commercial airplanes in the history of flying (even then, that Garuda Flight 421 resulted in one death). Most of the rest resulted in disastrous and horrifying crashes. When I read the rest of the news, I sighed with relief that all passengers are safe with only one suffered 2 broken legs. That is really a miracle.

The news reported the A320 suffered total engine failure after takeoff on suspicion of birdstrike. With just 1 minute into the air (total flight time to splashdown was 6 minutes) and reported altitude of no higher than 3200ft, the pilots faced with a daunting task of bringing the plane down safely. For sure there are critics out there asking why the pilots never turn the plane back to the airport. Mind you that they were flying over the New York city and densely populated area. With such little time and low altitude, it could be a repeat of 9/11 crash. I say the pilots did a good job going through the emergency drills in so little time and avoided the populated area. And the ditching itself into water is no small feat. I believe this will make it the 2nd successful ditching of a modern commercial aircraft in the world with all passengers safe.

Now let's just wait what the investigators have to say about this crash. Hopefully there will be an episode in NatGeo's Aircrash Investigation series. Already there are skeptics out there saying this is a conspiracy trying to cover up an attempted terrorist attack. Reason given is there is no bird flying in such cold temperatures; so it could not have been a birdstrike. What's your take on this?

News report: All 155 survive as pilot ditches plane in Hudson
Wikipedia News: Flight 1549

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