NTSB: ‘Professionalism’ Key to Safe Hudson Ditching

 - May 6, 2010, 7:19 AM

The NTSB met on Tuesday to conclude its 15-month investigation into the Jan. 15, 2009, accident of US Airways Flight 1549, flown by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and FO Jeffrey Skiles. Shortly after departing New York La Guardia Airport, their Airbus A320 struck a flock of Canada geese at 2,700 feet, heavily damaging both engines and forcing the crew to ditch the airliner in the Hudson River. All of the 150 passengers and five crewmembers survived. “Once the birds and the airplane collided and the accident became inevitable, so many things went right,” said NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman. “This is a great example of the professionalism of the crewmembers, air traffic controllers and emergency responders who all played a role in preserving the safety of everyone aboard.” The NTSB’s final report validated Sullenberger’s decision to ditch in the Hudson River, saying that it “provided the highest probability that the accident would be survivable.” As part of the hearing, the Board made 35 safety recommendations on engine and aircraft certification standards, checklist design, flight-crew training, airport-wildlife mitigation, cabin safety equipment and preflight passenger briefings.