Thursday, January 15, 2009
US AIRWAYS, A WATERY LANDING!
Its' tarmac, a flowing river called Hudson River in the city of New York, New York! A US Airways Airbus 320 US airplane declared emergency and landed safely the into the icy waters of the Hudson River with 155 people on board comprising of 150 passengers, 3 crew members and 2 pilots. US airways Flight 1549 was a domestic flight from LaGuardia airport in New York to Charlotte, North Carolina. The successful emergency landing was attributed to the heroic effort and dexterity of the pilot, a former airforce fighter-pilot, Captain Sullenberger, who meticulously maneuvered the out-of-power airplane safely to land on a body of flowing water.
According to the air controller, the US Airways pilot had reported a "double bird strike" less than a minute after take-off and asked to return to the tarmac. However he could not make it back to the tarmac but was forced to ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River for lack of engine power; the two engines were knocked out following collision with Canadian migratory flock of geese, like these ones, pictured here left in flight. According to a survivor, the pilot had alerted the passengers to be brace up for a hard impact. And except for minor, non life-threatening injuries, and some who are being treated for hypothermia, most of the passengers later returned home to their families to tell their tale of near escape. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are already at work trying to unravel the mystery behind the crash; they are inspecting the 9-year-old Airbus A320, which was towed to Battery Park City and moored to a bulkhead just north of the World Financial Center. Their term of reference will be to determine whether the plane hit a flock of geese as reported, which disabled the engines, forcing it into a controlled crash-landing. The New York State governor David T. Paterson left and the New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg right, are seen above addressing a news conference, following the plane-crash.
The "miracle-wrought`ing" pilot, Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, 57 is from California's Bay Area (Danville, San Francisco area). Sullenberger, a former fighter pilot and captain with the United States Air Force, has more than 40 years of flying experience, the last 29 of which, as a captain with US Airways. He also served as a local safety chairman and accident investigator for the Air Line Pilots Association. The winter temperature in New York City was about 20 degrees when the plane touched water, shortly after which, some commuter ferries crossing the Hudson rushed to the scene and began plucking shivering passengers from the wings of the "swimming" airplane. They were later relieved by the fast arriving New York City's emergency response team which immediately went into overdrive, successfully rescuing all the passengers and crew of the ill-fated airplane. From available data it would seem that birds' collision with jet-engines is a regular occurrence with about 486 planes so far damaged as a result. Icheoku says, why wouldn't airplane designers and manufacturers come up with a mechanism to keep off the birds from being sucked into the engines? A device like a titanium wire mesh/gauze, laid over the engine casing will work this miracle of keeping off the birds from the engine blades. Icheoku says, bravo to the pilot and gratitude to the Almighty for making it possible - the safe crash landing; at least those aboard has been given another chance at life.