Birds Ruined the Engines But the Plane Couldn’t Come Back

Ten years ago, the world of aviation was flabbergasted by an event that was later named the “Miracle on the Hudson.” That day, two airline pilots had to use the only runway they could safely reach for an emergency landing – the narrow expanse of the Hudson River in New York City.

Besides the two pilots, there were 150 passengers and three cabin crew members on board the plane. It’s shocking how fast something so life-altering and scary can happen. One moment the pilots fill their jet with fuel, and the plane takes off, and two minutes later, it loses all the engine power and is about to drop out of the sky. How could such a critical situation not take any human lives? Let’s figure it out.

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The plane strikes a flock of Canada geese 0:29
Both engines fail 2:55
… and the plane isn’t able to make it back to the airport 4:26
“This is the Captain. Brace for impact.” 5:24
Plane in the middle of the river 6:00
Evacuation 6:36
Could the plane return to the airport safely? 8:48

#planes #aircrafts #aviation

US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River New York, USA on 15 January 2009: By Greg L – originally posted to Flickr as Plane crash into Hudson River, CC BY 2.0,
Animation is created by Bright Side.

Music by Epidemic Sound

– On January 15, 2009, US Airways flight 1549 was a routine flight from La Guardia Airport in New York to Charlotte Douglas Airportin North Carolina.
– All the equipment worked without a flaw, and the weather was great, with 10-mile (16 km) visibility that provided the cockpit crew with a breathtaking view of the Hudson.
– At 3:27 PM, with the plane moving at 316 ft (96 m) per second, captain Sullenberger noticed a flock of Canada geese just a moment before the plane struck the birds.
– Sully didn’t lose his presence of mind, even after he realized that both engines had shut down. He understood there was no chance that the aircraft would end up somewhere on a runway, undamaged.
– He tried to find a way to get the plane to the runway, but at 3:29 PM, Sullenberger repeated his words, only this time, he sounded even more sure: the plane WAS going to end up in the river.
– The impact was hard, but the plane was afloat and miraculously intact. Almost in unison, the pilots exclaimed, “It wasn’t as bad as I had thought!”
– But the situation was far from safe. One panicked passenger opened one of the rear doors, and the flight attendant couldn’t manage to seal it again. Water started to fill the plane through this door as well as through a hole in the fuselage.
– The Hudson water temperature was just 41 degrees F (5 degrees C), and some people had to stand knee-deep in the water to be rescued since some of the inflatable slides were partially submerged.
– All the passengers and crew members were alive; there were only 5 serious injuries, and 78 people received some sort of treatment, mostly for hypothermia and minor injuries.
– When the authorities investigated afterward, they tested whether it would have been possible for the plane to return to La Guardia airport safely. The answer was no.

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