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  • Writer's pictureAvaitors Maldives

12 years since Captain Sully Sullenberger’s Hudson River landing

Today marks 12 years since US Airways flight 1549 landed in Hudson River after both engines of the Airbus A320 failed as the aircraft struck a flock of birds 2 minutes after takeoff from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport.

Flight US-1549 was a scheduled flight from New York La Guardia, NY to Charlotte, NC with 150 passengers and 5 crew operated on an Airbus A320-200, registration N106US.

The flight was commanded by Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III and First Officer Jeffrey B. Skiles.

The Airbus A320 struck a flock of birds about 3 minutes after takeoff resulting in both engines losing power. In a radio transmission to Air Traffic Control, the pilot reported about bird strikes to both engines and wanted to initially divert to Teterboro, NJ.

ATC cleared the aircraft to perform a landing a Teterboro Runway 1. Captain Sullenberger initially responded with a "Yes", however then replied: "We can't do it  ... We're gonna be in the Hudson".

The aircraft made an unpowered ditching, descending southwards at about 125 knots (140 mph; 230 km/h) into the middle of the North River section of the Hudson tidal estuary.

Captain Sullenberger opened the cockpit door and gave the order to evacuate. The crew began evacuating the passengers through the four overwing window exits and into an inflatable slide.

Numerous other boats, including from the US Coast Guard, were quickly on scene and rescued passengers.

On May 4, 2010, the NTSB issued its final report, which identified the probable cause as "the ingestion of large birds into each engine, which resulted in an almost total loss of thrust in both engines." The final report credited the outcome to four factors: good decision-making and teamwork by the cockpit crew (including decisions to immediately turn on the APU and to ditch in the Hudson);

Captain Sullenberger retired on March 3, 2010, after thirty years in the aviation industry as a pilot flying primarily with US Airways and its predecessor, Pacific Southwest Airlines.

In 2011, the A320 was purchased by the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, and reassembled without the engines. The aircraft is on display in the museum's main hangar.



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