Video of USAIR Flight 1549 ditching onto the Hudson River

Posted on 17. Jan, 2009 by in Featured

This is an excellent video from security cameras around the area of the ditching. All I can say is one word, perfect! Look at the aircraft attitude and wings at touchdown. The wings were level and the attitude perfect for a high speed ditch. Keep in mind that the engines were completely dead and the flaps were most likely stuck in the take off position. That means the approach to landing speed and touch down speed had to be much higher than normal to maintain control all the way to touch down.

While not checked out on the A-320 I am sure that any back up electric hydraulic pump would not be on the emergency electrical pump. Also even if the wind milling engines produced enough pressure to move the flaps, the selector was probably not powered by the emergency bus either. The crew played the hand they were dealt and did so perfectly. Nice job.

No Responses to “Video of USAIR Flight 1549 ditching onto the Hudson River”

  1. Rick 17 January 2009 at 15:23 #

    The one thing that really bothers me is that there apparently was not enough raft space for all passengers. I can’t imagine how horrific it might have been if they’d been fully immersed in the water for a lengthy period of time. It really is a miracle the wings apparently provided enough bouyancy just long enough. But seeing all those people standing in thigh high water on the wings rather than in a raft is startling. I hope the NTSB draws a lesson from that as well.

  2. Chip 17 January 2009 at 16:22 #

    The rear door was unaccesable and so the raft space was reduced by 33% (third raft not deployed). In domestic aircraft (domestic is USA, Mexico and Canada) you are limited to gliding distance from the shore a “limited over water” aircraft can go up to 150 miles off shore and has aditional equipment. Long exposure over water is not anticipated, it is assumed that a domestic can always glide to land. Obviously in this case land was not an option due to all the high rises. The rafts really are slides for escape, the flotation feature is a secondary function for domestic.

  3. Rick 17 January 2009 at 18:20 #

    Thank you for pointing that out about the aft door. I’m still troubled by the fact that this is a known deficit that the aft door will be underwater in a ditch, and aircrew are trained for this. So if this is a know fact, then then the raft “deficit” should be factored in. I do understand that the raft is a secondary benefit to the chute, but I’m hoping the NTSB draws a lesson from this and, learning from this incident, that they increase raft capacity on domestic aircraft. The rules don’t seem to factor in frigid weather. For sure, as a private pilot flying a short distance from Florida to the Bahamas with my family, there’s definitely an emergency raft on my plane…even if I climb to FL 13-14.0 I need that extra protection. Domestic aircraft fly over the Great Lakes. If you ever stuck your toes into Lake Superior or upper Lake Michigan, you’d be a bit wierded out after this incident.

  4. Chip 17 January 2009 at 19:41 #

    I swam in Lake Michigan as a kid, even in August it is like ice. I understand your concern, but remember this is a very rare event. I’m planning a trip this summer out west in a Musketeer with my second son. I’ll have plenty of survival gear including a lot of water. The reality of moving people 150 at a time is you can only carry enough stuff to get them out and survive until the first responders are on scene. I suspect if they had to they could have crammed in the two available rafts.

    When I was in the Navy you had your one man raft, a knife, some water, signaling devices, (during combat a .45) and a pack of Starbursts. The main thing you had was a PRC-90 rescue radio. That was really the only thing you needed; the other stuff was nice to have items. No radio, no rescue! It is pretty much the same with any aviation, the radio/IFF is the main survival gear (long term). And the good news is we do have new ones that work in the water and are designed to go in the rafts.

  5. Rick 18 January 2009 at 18:34 #

    OK I think that’s sound. Now today I’ve read Sully reported during the hectic ditch he never did get to the “ditch button”. I’ve been thinking that what would have happened if he lost his pitot tube….would he have lost his airspeed indicator? I realize he probably was all-glass panel…but would his backup airspeed indicator have failed if he actually did engage the ditch button”.

  6. Chip 18 January 2009 at 20:28 #

    From what I’ve read the ditch button only effects valves etc below the water line. So the pitot system would have been unaffected. I’m not sure if any glass indicators worked on emergency power. He would have had back up analog “steam gauges” for attitude, altitude, airspeed and heading.

Leave a Reply