Hudson Smhudson Flight 1549

I usually insist that a really good landing requires that the airplane be available for re-use. It is a little early to make conclusions but I am willing to make a tentative exception in this instance.

We have to leave it up to the birds to get out of our way. They usually do a really good job of doing so but didn’t manage it today. It is amazing to see a bird trying to maneuver to avoid collision with an airplane.  They fold one wing under and extend the other. Flapping and purposely rolling inverted they dive like a bullet.  It looks like it would hurt.

As for hero talk  …. it was a fine execution of competence and professionalism. The hero thing must be spread around to the cabin crew, rescuers, volunteer bystanders, and passengers though. 

The Captain reportedly did everything but complete the paperwork for the flight, and might even have brought the logbook with him from the sound of things.

Nothing in our FAA required training  would prepare pilots adequately for this.  There is a little litany pilots are supposed to remember regarding in flight engine restart and ditching but there are  no regular drills or practiced procedures for this.  

The sort of preparation that results in this sort performance is individual, not standardized.  Airline training programs do NOT provide drills for dual engine failure, wake turbulence, cabin fires, electrical failure, or farting in the cockpit.  All of these are likely occurances.

The vast majority of pilots do not prepare themselves for the big nasty unlikely events either.  The airlines aren’t really required to train us for these. Those of us that want to be prepared for this sort of thing do it on our own.

This is accomplished through  visualization of a series of unfortunate events and  devising a reasonable course of action just in case it should ever happen.

These people were lucky.  There are more than one Luckyjet out there.

Happy Landings, Ditchings, whatever.


5 Responses to “Hudson Smhudson Flight 1549”

  1. Holy dude. Totally impressive work on the part of everyone involved… even the passengers did everything right from the sound of it. I’m still waiting on truthful reports of the number of casualties – surely the birds did not survive.

  2. Can you talk at all about how difficult a water landing like this, with no engines, would be? I’m trying to envision. Was the plane in free fall as he did this? Was there a high likelihood of the plane going nose down into the water and sinking? Just curious.

  3. I’m with Tiffany. At least one of the birds had to bite it.

  4. luckyjet1 Says:

    The important thing about any “forced landing” meaning that with no thrust available the landing is GOING to happen, is energy management.

    Energy is required to get the airplane in the air, the higher and faster it is, the more energy is represented. Thrust from the engines provides the energy needed for climb and high speed cruise.

    The airplane will fly pretty much the same, with or without thrust. It can even climb a little, at the trade off of excess speed. Thrust and energy are not the same thing.

    A power off glide to the Hudson river is not in itself a difficult maneuver.

    The difficult part is accepting that it is going to happen. Many pilots might have tried to make the airplane do something it did not have the energy to do like glide to an airport. This could have caused them to run out of energy while still flying.

    Running out of energy while still in the air is a very bad idea, this results in the wing stalling and a hard touchdown with few if any survivors. A controlled landing or ditching is always better than an uncontrolled crash.

    So, as it turns out .. pilots also need to be prepared to float like a leaf on the river of air transport. Only this time it is the Hudson river.

  5. luckyjet1 Says:

    As for the birds … it kills them every time. Somewhere on somebodys roof over by LaGuardia there is at least one big dead bird that didn’t get all shredded by an engine. The ones that the engines got are little bitty bird bits.

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