{A partially} submerged Airbus A320 with entrance emergency slides deployed and other people standing on its wings

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus A320 on a flight from New York Metropolis’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, struck a flock of birds shortly after take-off, shedding all engine energy. Unable to achieve any airport for an emergency touchdown, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the aircraft to a ditching within the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan.[1] All 155 individuals on board had been rescued by close by boats, with a couple of critical accidents.

This water touchdown of a powerless jetliner grew to become referred to as the “Miracle on the Hudson“,[2] and a Nationwide Transportation Security Board official described it as “essentially the most profitable ditching in aviation historical past”.[3] The Board rejected the notion that the pilot may have averted ditching by returning to LaGuardia or diverting to close by Teterboro Airport.

The pilots and flight attendants had been awarded the Grasp’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in recognition of their “heroic and distinctive aviation achievement”.[4]


N106US, the plane concerned within the accident, at LaGuardia eight years earlier, whereas working for US Airways Shuttle.

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549[note 1] with name signal ‘Cactus 1549’ was scheduled to fly from New York Metropolis’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Charlotte Douglas (CLT), with direct onward service to Seattle–Tacoma Worldwide Airport.
The plane was an Airbus A320-214 powered by two GE Aviation/Snecma-designed CFM56-5B4/P turbofan engines.[5][note 2]

The captain and pilot in command was 57-year-old Chesley B. Sullenberger, a former fighter pilot who had been an airline pilot since leaving the USA Air Power in 1980. On the time, he had logged 19,663 whole flight hours, together with 4,765 in an A320; he was additionally a glider pilot and professional on aviation security.[9][10] First officer Jeffrey Skiles, 49,[9][11] had accrued 20,727 profession flight hours with 37 in an A320,[12]:8–9 however this was his first A320 task as pilot flying.[13] There have been 150 passengers and three flight attendants on board.[14][15]


Takeoff and chook strike[edit]

The flight was cleared for takeoff to the northeast from LaGuardia’s Runway Four at 3:24:56 pm Jap Customary Time (20:24:56 UTC). With Skiles in management, the crew made its first report after changing into airborne at 3:25:51 as being at 700 toes (210 m) and climbing.[16]

The climate at 2:51 p.m. was 10 miles (16 km) visibility with damaged clouds at 3,700 toes (1,100 m), wind Template:Convert/knots from 290°; an hour later it was few clouds at 4,200 toes (1,300 m), wind Template:Convert/knots from 310°.[12]:24 At 3:26:37 Sullenberger remarked to Skiles: “What a view of the Hudson as we speak.”[17]

The aircraft headed approximately north after takeoff, then wheeled anti-clockwise to follow the Hudson southwards.

Flight path flown (purple). Various trajectories to Teterboro (darkish blue) and again towards La Guardia (magenta) had been simulated for the investigation.

At 3:27:11 throughout climbout, the aircraft struck a flock of Canada geese at an altitude of two,818 toes (859 m) about Template:Convert/miles north-northwest of LaGuardia. The pilots’ view was stuffed with the big birds;[18] passengers and crew heard very loud bangs and noticed flames from the engines, adopted by silence and an odor of gasoline.[19][20]

Realizing that each engines had shut down, Sullenberger took management whereas Skiles labored the guidelines for engine restart.[note 3][12] The plane slowed however continued to climb for an additional 19 seconds, reaching about 3,060 toes (930 m) at an airspeed of about 185 knots (Template:Convert/km/h mph), then started a glide descent, accelerating to 210 knots (Template:Convert/km/h mph) at 3:28:10 because it descended via 1,650 toes (500 m).

At 3:27:33, Sullenberger radioed a mayday name to New York Terminal Radar Method Management (TRACON):[22][23] “… that is Cactus 1539 [sicTemplate:Sndcorrect call sign was Cactus 1549], hit birds. We have misplaced thrust on each engines. We’re turning again in the direction of LaGuardia”.[17]Air visitors controller Patrick Harten[24] informed LaGuardia’s tower to carry all departures, and directed Sullenberger again to Runway 31. Sullenberger responded, “Unable”.[23]

Sullenberger requested controllers for touchdown choices in New Jersey, mentioning Teterboro Airport.[23][25][26] Permission was given for Teterboro’s Runway 1,[26] Sullenberger initially responded “Sure”, however then: “We won’t do it  … We’re gonna be within the Hudson”.[25] The plane handed lower than 900 toes (270 m) above the George Washington Bridge. Sullenberger commanded over the cabin handle system, “Brace for affect”,[27] and the flight attendants relayed the command to passengers.[28] In the meantime, air visitors controllers requested the Coast Guard to warning vessels within the Hudson and ask them to organize to help with rescue.[29]

Ditching and evacuation[edit]

About ninety seconds later, at 3:31 pm, the aircraft made an unpowered ditching, descending southwards at about 125 knots (140 mph; 230 km/h) into the center of the North River part of the Hudson tidal estuary, at 40°46′10″N 74°00′16″W / 40.769444°N 74.004444°W / 40.769444; -74.004444[30] on the New York aspect of the state line, roughly reverse West 50th Road (close to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Area Museum) in Manhattan and Port Imperial in Weehawken, New Jersey. Flight attendants in contrast the ditching to a “laborious touchdown” with “one affect, no bounce, then a gradual deceleration.”[25] The ebb tide then started to take the aircraft southward.[31]

Sullenberger opened the cockpit door and gave the order to evacuate. The crew started evacuating the passengers via the 4 overwing window exits and into an inflatable slide/raft deployed from the entrance proper passenger door (the entrance left slide did not function, so the guide inflation deal with was pulled). The evacuation was made harder by the truth that somebody opened the rear left door, permitting extra water to enter the aircraft; whether or not this was a flight attendant[32] or a passenger is disputed.[12]:41[33][34][35] Water was additionally coming into via a gap within the fuselage and thru cargo doorways that had come open,[36] in order the water rose the attendant urged passengers to maneuver ahead by climbing over seats.[note 4] One passenger was in a wheelchair.[38] Lastly, Sullenberger walked the cabin twice to verify it was empty.[39][40]

The air and water temperatures had been about −7 °C (19 °F) and 5 °C (41 °F), respectively.[12]:24 Some evacuees waited for rescue knee-deep in water on the partially submerged slides, some sporting life vests. Others stood on the wings or, fearing an explosion, swam away from the aircraft.[32] One passenger, after serving to with the evacuation, discovered the wing so crowded that he jumped into the river and swam to a ship.[25][41][42]


Sullenberger had ditched close to boats, which facilitated rescue.[16][39] Two NY Waterway ferries arrived inside minutes[43] and started taking individuals aboard utilizing a Jason’s cradle;[27] quite a few different boats, together with from the US Coast Guard, had been rapidly on scene as nicely.[citation needed] Sullenberger suggested the ferry crews to rescue these on the wings first, as they had been in additional jeopardy than these on the slides, which indifferent to change into life rafts.[27] The final individual was taken from the aircraft at 3:55 pm.[44]

About 140 New York Metropolis firefighters responded to close by docks,[45][46] as did police, helicopters, and varied vessels and divers.[45] Different businesses supplied medical assistance on the Weehawken aspect of the river, the place most passengers had been taken.[47]

Boats encompass the tail of the sunken aircraft, seen simply above the water line.


Among the many individuals on board there have been 95 minor accidents and 5 critical,[note 5][12]:6 together with a deep laceration in flight attendant Doreen Welsh’s leg.[25][49] Seventy-eight individuals had been handled, largely for minor accidents[50] and hypothermia;[51] twenty-four passengers and two rescuers had been handled at hospitals,[52] with two passengers stored in a single day. One passenger now wears glasses due to eye injury from jet gasoline.[41] No pets had been being carried on the flight.[53]

Every passenger later obtained a letter of apology, $5,000 in compensation for misplaced baggage (and $5,000 extra if they might show bigger losses), and refund of the ticket worth.[54] In Might 2009, they obtained any belongings that had been recovered. As well as, they reported gives of $10,000 every in return for agreeing to not sue US Airways.[55]

Many passengers and rescuers later skilled post-traumatic stress signs akin to sleeplessness, flashbacks, and panic assaults; some started an electronic mail help group.[56] Patrick Harten, the controller who had labored the flight, stated that “the toughest, most traumatic a part of the complete occasion was when it was over”, and that he was “gripped by uncooked moments of shock and grief”.[57]

In an effort to forestall related accidents, officers captured and gassed 1,235 Canada geese at 17 areas throughout New York Metropolis in mid-2009 and coated 1,739 goose eggs with oil to smother the creating goslings.[58]
Up to now (2017) 70,000 birds have been deliberately slaughtered in NYC because of the Hudson ditching.[59][60]


The aircraft being recovered from the river throughout the night time of January 17

The partially submerged aircraft was moored to a pier close to the World Monetary Heart in Decrease Manhattan, roughly Four miles (6 km) downstream from the ditching location.[28] The left engine, indifferent by the ditching, was recovered from the riverbed.[61] On January 17 the plane was barged[62] to New Jersey.[63]

The preliminary Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB) analysis that the aircraft had misplaced thrust after a chook strike[64] was confirmed by evaluation of the cockpit voice and flight knowledge recorders.[65]

Two days earlier the aircraft had skilled a much less extreme compressor stall,[66] however the affected engine was restarted. A defective temperature sensor was changed, and inspection verified the engine had not been broken in that incident.[67]

On January 21, the NTSB discovered proof of soft-body injury in the proper engine together with natural particles together with a feather.[68] The left engine additionally evidenced tender physique affect, with “dents on each the spinner and inlet lip of the engine cowling. 5 booster inlet information vanes are fractured and eight outlet information vanes are lacking.” Each engines, lacking massive parts of their housings,[69] had been despatched to the producer for examination.[70] On January 31, the aircraft was moved to Kearny, New Jersey. The chook stays[67][71] had been later recognized by DNA testing to be Canada geese, which generally weigh greater than engines are designed to face up to ingesting.[67]

As a result of the aircraft was assembled in France, the European Aviation Security Company (EASA; the European counterpart of the FAA) and the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA; the French counterpart of the NTSB) joined the investigation, with technical help from Airbus and GE Aviation/Snecma, respectively the producers of the airframe and the engines.[72]

Goose feather discovered within the left engine

The NTSB used flight simulators to check the likelihood that the flight may have returned safely to LaGuardia or diverted to Teterboro; solely seven of the 13 simulated returns to La Guardia succeeded, and solely one of many two to Teterboro. Moreover, the NTSB report known as these simulations unrealistic: “The quick flip made by the pilots throughout the simulations didn’t replicate or account for real-world issues, such because the time delay required to acknowledge the chook strike and resolve on a plan of action.” An additional simulation, wherein a 35-second delay was inserted to permit for these, crashed.[12]:50 In testimony earlier than the NTSB, Sullenberger maintained that there had been no time to carry the aircraft to any airport and that making an attempt to take action would seemingly have killed these onboard and extra on the bottom.[73]

The Board finally dominated that Sullenberger had made the proper choice,[73] reasoning that the guidelines for dual-engine failure is designed for larger altitudes when pilots have extra time to cope with the scenario, and that whereas simulations confirmed that the aircraft may need simply barely made it again to LaGuardia, these situations assumed an immediate choice to take action, with no time allowed for assessing the scenario.[74]

On Might 4, 2010, the NTSB issued its last report, which recognized the possible trigger as “the ingestion of huge birds into every engine, which resulted in an virtually whole lack of thrust in each engines.”[12]:123 The ultimate report credited the end result to 4 components: good decision-making and teamwork by the cockpit crew (together with choices to right away activate the APU and to ditch within the Hudson); the truth that the A320 is licensed for prolonged overwater operation (and therefore carried life vests and extra raft/slides) despite the fact that not required for that route; the efficiency of the flight crew throughout the evacuation; and the proximity of working vessels to the ditching web site. Contributing components had been good visibility and quick response instances from the ferry operators and emergency responders. The report made 34 suggestions, together with that engines be examined for resistance to chook strikes at low speeds; improvement of checklists for dual-engine failures at low altitude, and adjustments to guidelines design typically “to reduce the danger of flight crewmembers changing into caught in an inappropriate guidelines or portion of a guidelines”; improved pilot coaching for water landings; provision of life vests on all flights no matter route, and adjustments to the areas of vests and different emergency tools; analysis into improved wildlife administration, and technical improvements on plane, to cut back chook strikes; analysis into potential adjustments in passenger brace positions; and analysis into “strategies of overcoming passengers’ inattention” throughout preflight security briefings.[12]:124

Writer and pilot William Langewiesche asserted that inadequate credit score was given to the A320’s fly-by-wire design, by which the pilot makes use of a side-stick to make management inputs to the flight management computer systems. The computer systems then impose changes and limits of their very own to maintain the aircraft secure, which the pilot can’t override even in an emergency. This design allowed the pilots of Flight 1549 to focus on engine restart and deciding the course, with out the burden of manually adjusting the glidepath to cut back the aircraft’s fee of descent.[44] Nonetheless, Sullenberger stated that these computer-imposed limits additionally prevented him from reaching the optimum touchdown flare for the ditching, which might have softened the affect.[75]

Crew awards and honors[edit]

The reactions of all members of the crew, the break up second choice making and the dealing with of this emergency and evacuation was “textual content guide” and an instance to us all. To have safely executed this emergency ditching and evacuation, with the lack of no lives, is a heroic and distinctive aviation achievement.

An NTSB board member known as the ditching “essentially the most profitable … in aviation historical past. These individuals knew what they had been presupposed to do and so they did it and in consequence, no lives had been misplaced.”[76]
New York State Governor David Paterson known as the incident “a Miracle on the Hudson.”[50][77]U.S. President George W. Bush stated he was “impressed by the talent and heroism of the flight crew,” and praised the emergency responders and volunteers.[78]President-elect Barack Obama stated that everybody was pleased with Sullenberger’s “heroic and swish job in touchdown the broken plane.” He thanked the crew, whom he invited to his inauguration 5 days later.[79]

The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators awarded the crew the not often bestowed Grasp’s Medal on January 22, 2009 for excellent aviation achievement, on the discretion of the Grasp of the Guild.[4] New York Metropolis Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the crew with the Keys to the Metropolis, and Sullenberger with a alternative copy of a library guide misplaced on the flight, Sidney Dekker’s Simply Tradition: Balancing Security and Accountability.[80] Rescuers obtained Certificates of Honor.[81]

The crew obtained a standing ovation on the Tremendous Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009,[82] and Sullenberger threw the ceremonial first pitch of the 2009 Main League Baseball season for the San Francisco Giants. His Giants jersey was inscribed with the title “Sully” and the quantity 155Template:Sndthe rely of individuals aboard the aircraft.[83]

On July 28, passengers Dave Sanderson and Barry Leonard organized a thanks luncheon for emergency responders from Hudson County, New Jersey, on the shores of Palisades Medical Heart in North Bergen, New Jersey, the place 57 passengers had been introduced following their rescue. Current had been members of the U.S. Coast Guard, North Hudson Regional Hearth and Rescue, NY Waterway Ferries, the American Crimson Cross, Weehawken Volunteer First Help, the Weehawken Police Division, West New York E.M.S., North Bergen E.M.S., the Hudson County Workplace of Emergency Administration, the New Jersey E.M.S. Process Power, the Guttenberg Police Division, McCabe Ambulance, the Harrison Police Division, and docs and nurses who handled survivors.[84]

Sullenberger was named Grand Marshal for the 2010 Match of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

In August 2010, aeronautical chart writer Jeppesen issued a humorous method plate titled “Hudson Miracle APCH,” devoted to the 5 crew of Flight 1549 and annotated “Offered with Satisfaction and Gratitude from your folks at Jeppesen.”[85]

Sullenberger retired on March 3, 2010, after thirty years with US Airways and its predecessor, Pacific Southwest Airways. On the finish of his last flight he was reunited with Skiles and a lot of the passengers from Flight 1549.[86]

N106US, the accident plane, was moved to a salvage yard in New Jersey and put up for public sale every week after the accident, however remained with out takers for over two years. In 2011, it was bought by the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and reassembled, minus the engines, within the museum’s predominant hangar, the place it’s at the moment on show.[87][88][89]

In 2013, the complete crew was inducted into the Worldwide Air & Area Corridor of Fame on the San Diego Air & Area Museum.[90]

The ditching was recorded by a number of closed-circuit tv cameras. Tv studies and documentaries produced quickly afterward contained intensive video of the ditching and rescue, and recorded interviews with the aircrew, passengers, rescuers, and different key individuals.[citation needed]

Sullenberger’s 2009 memoir, Highest Responsibility: My Seek for What Actually Issues was tailored right into a characteristic movie Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood.[91] It starred Tom Hanks as Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart as co-pilot Jeff Skiles.[92] It was launched by Warner Bros. on September 9, 2016.[93]

See additionally[edit]

Checklist of airline flights that required gliding

  1. AWE1549, additionally designated beneath a Star Alliance codeshare settlement as United Airways Flight 1919 UA1919.
  2. Delivered in 1999,[6] the aircraft, registered N106US, was considered one of 74 A320s then in service at US Airways. On the time of the accident its airframe had logged 16,299 flights totaling 25,241 flight hours; and the engines 19,182 and 26,466 hours. The final “A Examine” (carried out each 550 flight hours) was handed on December 6, 2008, and the final C Examine (annual complete inspection) on April 19, 2008.[5][7] The plane was delivered to US Airways in August 1999. On the time of the accident, the plane was 9.6 years outdated.[8]Template:Par break
  3. The engines are the first supply {of electrical} and hydraulic energy for the plane flight management programs,[21] however an auxiliary energy unit (APU) can present backup electrical energy, and a ram air turbine (RAT) could be deployed into the airstream to supply backup hydraulic strain and electrical energy at sure speeds.[21] Each the APU and RAT had been working because the aircraft descended onto the river.[21]
  4. The Airbus A320 has a management that closes valves and different openings within the fuselage, so as to sluggish flooding after a water touchdown,[37] however the pilots didn’t activate it.[25] Sullenberger later stated this is able to have made little distinction for the reason that water affect tore substantial holes within the fuselage.[13]
  5. A critical harm is outlined as any harm that (1) requires hospitalization for greater than 48 hours, beginning inside seven days from the date that the harm was obtained; (2) leads to a fracture of any bone, besides easy fractures of fingers, toes, or the nostril; (3) causes extreme hemorrhages or nerve, muscle, or tendon injury; (4) includes any inner organ; or (5) includes second- or third-degree burns or any burns affecting greater than 5 p.c of the physique floor. A minor harm is outlined as any harm that doesn’t qualify as a deadly or critical harm.[48]


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