UAL744

Miracle on the Hudson 10th anniversary

Recommended Posts

2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the water landing on the Hudson River by US Airways flight 1549. That cold day back in 2009 was supposed to be a routine flight to Charlotte, North Carolina from LaGuardia airport in New York. Little did the crew and passengers know that their flight was going to be anything but routine. 

Under the control of First Officer Jeffery Skiles and former Air Force pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the Airbus A320 took off from runway 4. Barely 3000 feet above the ground, the airliner flew into a flock of Canadian geese, disabling the engines and crippling the twin engine jet. 

With time running out and the airliner now bleeding precious altitude, Sullenberger took over flying the now crippled jet. With his mind racing, Sullenberger sorted through his options for a safe landing. Shortly after the birdstrike and starting the auxiliary power unit, Sullenberger declared an emergency and was quickly cleared for an emergency landing at LaGuardia. 

Having been flying away from LaGuardia since the emergency began, he knew LaGuardia was no longer an option. Working as a team, Sullenberger and Skiles asked for other airports they could land at. At New York TRACON, controller Patrick Harten suggested Teteboro airport, and Sullenberger accepted. 

With the A320 still hemorrhaging altitude, Sullenberger was handflying the jet while Skiles ran the QRH checklist for dual engine failure. Seconds later, the veteran pilot knew that the airliner would not reach Teteboro airport. 

Having flown in and out of the New York Terminal Area numerous times, Sullenberger was familiar with the airports around LaGuardia. He asked about landing at Newark airport in New Jersey, and was cleared to head to Newark seconds later. 

With the powerless jet dropping lower and lower, Sullenberger realized that with their current loss of altitude, the plane would not reach either Teteboro or Newark. Out of options, almost out of time, and still bleeding altitude, Sullenberger and Skiles knew that they were left with no choice but to attempt a ditching on the Hudson River.

Finally having accepted the reality of their situation, Skiles and Sullenberger prepared for the task ahead; ditching the jet and doing it in a way that would eliminate or minimize any chances of the passengers and flight attendants suffering injury or loss of life.

Now mere seconds away from a ditching filled with uncertainty, Sullenberger made the announcement that no airline pilot wants to make, "This is the Captain, brace for impact."

Moments later, the A320 made contact with the frigid waters of the Hudson River. The jet, still going at close to 190 mph, skidded down the river before coming to a juddering stop.

Having survived the ditching, Sullenberger and Skiles knew that they would have to evacuate the downed jet before the frigid waters flooded the cabin. Emerging from the cockpit, Sullenberger gave the evacuation order to flight attendants Donna Dent, Sheila Deil, and Doreen Welsh.

But, one thing complicated the evacuation, flight attendant Doreen Welsh, having been in the jump seat at the back of the cabin, was seriously injured. A piece of metal came up through the cabin floor and sliced her leg open.

Wounded and bleeding, Welsh freed herself from her jump seat and joined Deil and Dent in evacuating the now sinking plane. Once the flight attendants and remaining passengers were evacuated, Sullenberger walked through the submerged cabin and having seen it completely empty, was the last one to leave the plane.

Having seen the floating jet in the river, the ferry Thomas Jefferson dashed to the scene along with other ferries and an NYPD rescue helicopter. EMTs and dozens of ambulances were mobilized to await the passengers and crew.

 The passengers and crew were quickly rescued and taken to waiting ambulances where they were rushed to hospitals for treatment. Hours later, still being treated at the hospital, Sullenberger was approached by fellow US Airways pilot and union representative Arnold "Arnie" Gentile. The other pilot walked up to Sullenberger and gave the shaken pilot the news. Out of the 155 passengers and crew onboard, against immeasurable odds, every single one survived!

In just 208 seconds, Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger turned what could have been the darkest day in commercial aviation history into the brightest and exemplified himself, becoming a celebrity and a role model for aspiring pilots the world over.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

1 hour ago, UAL744 said:

what could have been the darkest day in commercial aviation history

Tenerife? 

What is it with this obsession with Sully? There were TWO pilots up there who did their jobs that day, and without doubt, did them VERY well. But it wasn't just Sully though... You remembered to mention the cabin crew, but unfortunately neglected to mention any kind of respect for the jobs they did that day. And that of Skiles. 

Huge respect to them all. 

But that's it. Plenty of other deserving people going well beyond their jobs heroically every minute of every day. We don't hear of them - obviously they are confident enough in themselves to not feel the need to go out and drum up personal  endorsement and public air time at any opportunity, and create this sort of perpetual media storm.  

And i tire of reading about how they heroically steered away from buildings to selflessly save everyone but themselves. Was anyone expecting them to steer towards them? Doesn't take a hero to make that logical decision whatever the situation - to do otherwise would be suicide.

There. Grumpy episode over. It must be a Sunday evening 😁

But 10 years? Wow, I feel old.

 

Edited by Jetset408
  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yes it's been 10 years, and I saw the movie Sully and I was riveted to the end and I read the book he wrote some time after everything happened. It's a very good book.

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, Jetset408 said:

Tenerife? 

What is it with this obsession with Sully? There were TWO pilots up there who did their jobs that day, and without doubt, did them VERY well. But it wasn't just Sully though... You remembered to mention the cabin crew, but unfortunately neglected to mention any kind of respect for the jobs they did that day. And that of Skiles. 

Huge respect to them all. 

But that's it. Plenty of other deserving people going well beyond their jobs heroically every minute of every day. We don't hear of them - obviously they are confident enough in themselves to not feel the need to go out and drum up personal  endorsement and public air time at any opportunity, and create this sort of perpetual media storm.  

And i tire of reading about how they heroically steered away from buildings to selflessly save everyone but themselves. Was anyone expecting them to steer towards them? Doesn't take a hero to make that logical decision whatever the situation - to do otherwise would be suicide.

There. Grumpy episode over. It must be a Sunday evening 😁

But 10 years? Wow, I feel old.

 

Everyone did their job that day, let's not forget the passengers,.ATC, the rest of the flight crew, and the first responders.  Let's not forget people like yourself, whose attention was also a silent prayer.  Such attention also was offering miracles on 9/11, the Gulf Wars, and all events, such as the Chilean Mine rescue or Thai Cave Rescue or the work Russia, China and the US and other naval powers do in rescuing others on the high seas, together in cooperation or alone.  We often think too much of the bad things without celebrating the good events our so called enemies perform every day. That is who I am, I like to keep my friends close but my "Enemies" closer, and that is also who we are on these forums.  Avsim (other than Prodigy and AOL) was my first social media.  Prodigy and AOL were really the root of the WWW and they have not been forgotten by me.  My favorite .wav which I would use on my PC;s in the office was AOL's "You've got mail".  I wish Avsim would use it when our friends acknowledge posts like yours, that would be so funny!

John

Share this post


Link to post

I remember what I was doing that day. It was just 40 minutes before middle school let out for the day and it was a Thursday. I got home and caught up on the news on the tv. I remember being astonished to seeing the A320 floating on the Hudson River with a tail low position in the water, and having seen the footage of the Ethiopian 767 that ditched off Africa 6 months after I was born, I was speechless.

Of course, this was just barely after the ditching, and no one knew whether or not everyone had been rescued or not. After doing my stuff I caught up on it again, and to my relief and astonishment, it was announced that all 155 people survived. I'll be remembering that day for the rest of my life and January 15, 2019 bought it all back.

 

Share this post


Link to post
5 hours ago, John_Cillis said:

let's not forget the passengers,.ATC, the rest of the flight crew, and the first responders.

Quite right sir! The crews on the tour boats worthy of specific mention too. Incredible actions by many, many people.

Share this post


Link to post
14 hours ago, Jetset408 said:

Tenerife? 

Fully agree with you there. So many lives lost, needlessly.

R.I.P all.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, vc10man said:

Fully agree with you there. So many lives lost, needlessly.

R.I.P all.

That accident happened just a few days before I was to take off on my first trip to Europe, in 1977.  It really shook up my Mom, who wanted me to cancel my trip, because she said everything always comes in threes, there must have been some earlier accident she had on her mind.  But I went anyway, my trip was from SFO to JFK to Munich, then Milan.  On the return it was Munich to Vienna, to Shannon, to Gander, to JFK, to DFW and back to SFO. 

We did have some bad moments coming in and out of JFK on the way to Europe, severe turbulence the likes of which I have never been in, before or since, and as an appendectomy patient in '72 I felt the seat belt, which I had kept fastened, biting into my abdomen it was quite painful and we were all admittedly and quietly scared out of our wits.  Was my Mom's worry about Tenerife going to come true?  Somehow we landed at JFK but then we switched from our United DC-10 to a DC8-Super63 (TransInternational, later TransAmerica). 

We went for our takeoff in the pouring rain, and we watched the runway, the takeoff took an eternity and we all thought to ourselves, "not AGAIN" and then suddenly we were in the steepest climb I ever experienced in any aircraft, with the far runway threshold passing just beneath us.  I was fixated on the fact that it was close to the 50th anniversary of Lucky Lindy's crossing the pond.  Again the turbulence was severe and Tenerife was in the forefront of all of our young minds, our flight was a charter flight, "American Institute of Foreign Study" for which I got a full semester credit in one week, which helped me slide thru my junior and senior year in high school. 

But we made it, I had a good time there in Europe and saw my country for the first time from their point of view which I think is absolutely required for an American to appreciate how good we have it in America, and how good they have it in their homeland.  I was in a school choir that traveled the US and Canada, I left the US for the first time in 1969 when my parents took us three boys to Tijuana.

My father, who had been to Japan and Guam wanted us to learn about what being off American soil was about, and how we would appreciate home when we came back to it.  For my little boy eyes, Tijuana was fun, my father kept us from the seedy side, Tijuana was full of jolly merchants bartering for the best deal they could make for their customers.  I bought a Batman car and boat and I wanted to buy a little Beech Bonanza, but I could not.  I later toured Canada with my school choir in '72 and just fell into the gel of being a world traveler, and my ex wife ended up working for Mexicana Airlines, I whisked her out of Mexico, stayed in Napa just a bit more, then we moved here to Arizona.  I

I do not regret any of this past, and I often think that those souls in Tenerife have been my guardian angels, save for one pilot who was a bit too arrogant and too bold, from what the ATC tapes told us.... That's the bad news, but that is how pilots were trained then, I went thru it a little bit too, and that is why I quit my flight lessons and returned to simming until I found pilots who, like us in these forums, were "just right", like Goldlocks and the three bears. 

Best CFI I ever flew with was a woman, she was good but her aircraft, the Zenair XL, was not, I felt something was not quite right with it.  I flew in it the day my oldest brother had heart surgery and I insisted to cut the lesson short so I could go to the hospital to see him come out of anesthesia with his wife, Jeanie. We took off out of Chandler Airpark, went to the training area near the gliders soaring by the Estrella Mountains, then came back over Chandler Mall then turned final back into Chandler Airpark. 

Why did I not continue with their flight instruction?  The instructors were good, very good, they used Vatsim and Xplane.  But the 601 XL had a wing spar problem, and one of the worst light sport accidents was when the all metal aircraft just crumpled up in flight.  My Mom told me not to follow thru on my flying lessons after that and except for trikes, I have not yet.  Light Sport is just not safe enough and it is under review to see if they can up the gross weights and the sturdiness of the aircraft used.

My Mom has passed on since 2009, my father since 1999, but I still trust their voices the most and they were world travelers, and we all traveled together safely, I never lost a passenger in that way, my ex wife, colleagues and daughter continued on with me.  Heck, on one flight, between DC and Orlando, Pete Rose was seated up front.  I felt the poor guy got the shaft, I did not ask him for an autograph, like Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter I just gave him a nod...

John

Share this post


Link to post

Sully himself said they didn't do anything any other US Air crew wouldn't have done under the exact same circumstances.

There have been many great feats of courage and airmanship through out aviation history. This one happened to splash down in the heart of the media capital of the world. But it did give us an inspirational hero much needed these days.

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, PATCO LCH said:

This one happened to splash down in the heart of the media capital of the world.

Precisely........................publicity bonfire.

Share this post


Link to post

Jetset408:

With a totally different flight crew that day in 2009, the outcome may have ended  in whole different scenario.  As they say, God only knows... 

 

Share this post


Link to post
19 minutes ago, overspeed3 said:

Jetset408:

With a totally different flight crew that day in 2009, the outcome may have ended  in whole different scenario.  As they say, God only knows... 

 

Don't doubt that. A great job by all.

Share this post


Link to post
45 minutes ago, overspeed3 said:

With a totally different flight crew that day

Precisely. Take that sad----may their souls R.I.P. ------AF447 case.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw the Air Crash Investigation episode of that incident and it is astonishing that the pilots of that 737 were able to do what they did given the severity of their situation and that incident highlighted the dangers that thunderstorms pose to commercial airliners.

Being an aspiring commercial pilot myself even before I saw that episode I knew all too well that thunderstorms of any kind are a serious aviation hazard for both general and commercial aviation.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now