NTSB Hearing Held on US Airways 1549 Ditching

 - June 11, 2009, 12:09 PM

On Tuesday, the NTSB opened a three-day hearing to focus on the January 15 ditching on New York’s Hudson River by an Airbus A320 operating as US Airways flight 1549 from La Guardia Airport. All 150 passengers and five crew escaped, though one flight attendant and four passengers were seriously injured. A PowerPoint summary with photos of the flight path, evacuation, rescue and recovery can be downloaded from the NTSB, as well as a computer animation of the five-minute, eight-second flight. Birdstrikes began one minute and 37 seconds into the flight’s climbout and both engines lost thrust. US Airways captain Chesley Sullenberger recalled the steps to find an emergency field, restart engines, then decide on a managed descent into the river near a line of commercial piers to enable a swift response. Witnesses discussed the growing and largely unreported hazard of wildlife to turbine aircraft of all sizes, defined research to avoid such collisions and called for more effective design of emergency checklists and crew resource management training to help the NTSB form any recommendations it might issue when the investigation is complete.