PPRuNe Forums - Plane Down in Hudson River (2024)

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MilktrayUK17th Jan 2009 16:27

EarthCam - USS Intrepid Cam

It's in Liberty State park looking across the Hudson. I'm not sure where that is in relation to the aircraft now hence the question.

Well, I have been watching for the past couple of hours. Seems that they have a couple of crane barges preparing to lift something quite substantial. :8

Actually, if you look at the Hall of Fame there are screen captures of the landing and recovery.

finfly117th Jan 2009 16:33

Three points. Will any effort be made to offload and save the fuel on board?

Second, it has been mentioned that there is audio of the tower tapes available. Has anyone linked it here yet?

Finally, it is somewhat distressing that the press cannot get correct a major fact such as whether an engine is or is not attached to the plane.

reventor17th Jan 2009 16:33

"Would you rather have the union mandated senior Fright Attendants, or like the bankrupt airline in Mexico: reach age 26 and fired?

In this case, I don't see how it would have mattered one bit of there were no CC at all. The plane was ditched on the Hudson river and it was sinking. At this point it should occur as a good idea, to even the densest of passengers, to get the hell out and as a secondary objective: grabbing a floatation devide on the way. They even had plenty of time (relatively speaking), thanks to excellent piloting, a well designed aircraft and of course the many ferries that combined for a tripple whammy saving the day. The CC role appears largely irrelevant thus far.

I would however expect the CC to rehash the RELEVANT parts of the safety briefing, as it became clear they were landing on water, even I would pay attention at that point. This should include brace technique, floatation devices and procedure for doors and evacuation. If the passengers don't listen at this point, just imagine how utterly useless the pre-flight briefing really is (in terms of actual safety that is, psychology and establishing an authoritive cabin leader has obvious benefits.) I believe one of the passenger accounts included that water was leaking in quite early in the back and "they" (don't know who) tried to open the aft doors without much success. Some posts here indicate those doors are best left closed on a ditching, so it may appear, to my untrained eye, as if everything didn't go 100% by the book on the evacuation?

Rick Studder17th Jan 2009 16:39

You start wondering if the PF has flown seaplanes in his career as well...
He obviously put the "butt" of the 'plane in the water while holding the nose high for so long that one of the engines did not even come off, when they finally dug in.

Yes, but isn't that what you'd "naturally" do? You'd want as much aeordynamical braking as possible, regardless of any knowledge of seaplane technique.

Regarding the CRM-discussion here, "captain's co*ckpit" etc: This discussion is nonsensical, for all we know the ditching was the FO's suggestion. Yes, the captain has final say and responsibility, which is as it should -- but I certainly hope the FO had his say and that there was a discussion of possibilities and an agreement in the co*ckpit. According to one news article (don't recall where) the possiblity of landing at nearby airports was even discussed with ATC.

wideman17th Jan 2009 16:46

The CC role appears largely irrelevant thus far.

According to at least one passenger, an FA provided important info to passengers before the crash-landing. After the "BRACE" call from the flight deck, the passenger reported that an FA yelled out: "Put your head down, put your feet flat on the floor."

Professional work and clear thinking to supply that tremendously important info, and hardly irrelevant to the outcome.


On another subject, I imagine that most would agree that a dead stick to an airfield, height and distance (at the time of engine-loss) permitting, carries less risk than a dead stick to a river. That said, one distinct advantage of the Hudson compared to Teterboro is the "runway" length: with the Hudson, you can set up for best/slowest glide, with no real worries about landing short or long.

Super VC-1017th Jan 2009 16:49

Another honour for the pilot

Looks like Chesley Sullenberger has been given what is possibly the ultimate honour - an article on Wikipedia! :ok:

Chesley Sullenberger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NiteKos17th Jan 2009 16:51


The Captain decides to ditch in the Hudson.

The Cabin Crew are strapped in at their crew stations and probably as they run through their ditching drills in their mind they reflect that this could be the last few seconds of their life.

The First Officer agrees with the Captains decision and starts feeding the Captain relevant information with the same thought that this could be the last few seconds of his life.

The Captain prepares for ditching and it does not cross his mind that this is the last few seconds of his life; his mind is so focussed on the task ahead and is confident in his own ability to land the aircraft.

Just before impact the Cabin Crew are still mentally running through their drills with an impending feeling of doom.

The First Officer head down just before impact is coolly reading off the radio alt heights, airspeed, wind speed and drift to help the Captain decide when to flare and ditch.

On impact after so much tension the Cabin Crew now spring to work, doing what they are trained to do and evacuate all the passengers safely.

Nobody panicked; they all went about their duties in a most professional manner despite the possible horrifying outcome.

Are all the crew heroes? You bet your life they are, they all set a standard that many of us can only dream of.

misd-agin17th Jan 2009 16:59

ChristaanJ - held the nose off? Typically touchdown attitude is about 5 degrees NU.

Watch a landing aircraft and visualize it with no landing gear. The accident aircraft touchdown attitude was the same.

Folks asked and landing gear up or down? Landing gear down would only increase deacceleration and is not SOP.

Still Wee Jock17th Jan 2009 17:20

I controlled a Royal Squadron BAe146 (the one with the missing oil seals post servicing) with two engines shut down, one at idle and one going flat out in 1997 - it landed safely at Stansted, and the last engine conked just before the stand. Horrible emergency, thankfully resolved without loss of life but it was the worst emergency I ever dealt with in nearly thirty years. The pilots got the Air Force Cross. Having read about this incident all I can say is Captain Sullenberger, you are the master.

Graybeard17th Jan 2009 17:29

Speaking of the Killer Bee

#3 engine on an Aviacsa BAe-146 blew apart at altitude, at night, out of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, a dozen years ago. The shrapnel took out #4 engine, which cut fuel to #1 & #2. They landed deadstick in Campeche, an airport not served by airlines.

I wonder how The Bee would do in a water landing? Would be kinda' tough to walk out on the wing.


scottmorris17th Jan 2009 17:45


mentions earlier in this thread that SOP for A320 ditch is to land with 11 degrees aoa? looks less on the video clip. presumably on the tail touching the water at that point pic applies full elevator and essentially stalls exactly on contact with the surface in order to reduce groundspeed to a minimum and assuming on emerg gen and tail in the water he has any controll authority left. either way its a hell of a put down!

hetfield17th Jan 2009 18:02

AOA is'n ot equal to pitch of course...

MadDog Driver17th Jan 2009 18:02

Captain Bob

I am going to agree with A37575, The co*ckpit is not a Democracy, it is a Benevolent Dictatorship. It belongs to the Captain and he alone.

You're absolutely correct! If the Captain so wishes,he runs his co*ckpit that way,and he won't get in any trouble for that! You're telling us what the law has told us for a hundred years!
BUT... the GOOD Captain takes a good look at the person next to him,(Well,I'm sure he's done that when reporting for the flight) and considers the FO's experience level.
If that person is a 23 year veteran with the airline,as Mr Skiles is..and the Captain has taught CRM and Crisis management as Mr Sullenberger has....well knowing those facts, I am pretty sure that the co*ckpit of USAir 1549 was NOT run as a Benevolent Dictatorship!

I personally don't care who the media calls a hero. Capt. Sullenberger will I'm sure, let everybody know that this was a beautiful piece of TEAMWORK, ala UA 232.

Fantastic show, crew (all 5 of you) of USAir 1549! Congratulations!

GP7280-POC17th Jan 2009 18:07

Authorities plane to lift a/c at 2.00pm ET

Cee of Gee17th Jan 2009 18:08


As has been mentioned in a previous post:

Do the qualified posters feel that this event (and the recent Ryanair one) require the operators, manufacturers and the regulators, to work together, to amend any previous related SOPs?

Just a thought .

C o' G

precept17th Jan 2009 18:12

Cranes Appear To Be Positioning Over Aircraft


EarthCam - USS Intrepid Cam

rmac17th Jan 2009 18:27

Case for enhanced vision systems in airliners

If this had happened in IMC (do birds fly in clouds ?) or above a cloud layer, would options be reduced to following the FMC or vectors to the nearest airport with the attendant risks of an all or nothing result.

Would this be a good outline case as an example of where an EVS would have helped to arrive at the same outcome in IMC and/or low visibility ?

Hugh Spencer17th Jan 2009 18:30

It all reminds me of the small amount of practice in 'ditching procedures' we had as a crew preparing us in case we had to ditch a Lancaster. Designated positions were allocated to each member of the crew, and landing on calm water must have made an enormous difference to landing on the sea, each crew member had a duty. I think the flight engineer had to pull the release to expose the rubber dinghy stowed in the starboard wing, crew jumped into the sea on that side, each scrambled in and helped others, wop took over the manually operated radio which transmitted the distress message and the rope was cut to detach the dinghy from the aircraft. One or two practices were carried out in nearby swimming pools.

rageye17th Jan 2009 18:32

Glider pilots know why

Capt. Sullenberger will I'm sure, let everybody know that this was a beautiful piece of TEAMWORK

But above all, as a glider pilot, he obviously had a better feel for a situation like this.
Great job :ok: I take off my glider pilots hat for him :D

RatherBeFlying17th Jan 2009 18:39

Teterboro vs. Hudson

I suspect that there will be a number of attempts in various sims to see if Teterboro could have been made with the limited hydraulics available. Mind you that first turn where 1200' was lost likely extinguished interest in any more turns. From 2000' you've got about 6 nautical miles; so, there's a chance they could have got to the runway.

The failure:success ratio will be interesting.

Face it: landing short or not stopping within the runway (how much hydraulics available for the brakes after the glide?) risk significant fatalities.

I don't know what powers the spoilers on the A-320, but if that's hydraulics, there's not much glide path control. Cross controlling for a sideslip with limited hydraulics is test pilot stuff.

Without much in the way of glide path control you want the longest field you can see.

Looks to me like a conservative choice between a high risk attempt for Teterboro and a super long runway that you already have got made:ok:

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