I’m hoping that the next time Discovery Channel decides to do a special on Crashes that Changed Flying–and asks for my opinion–I’ll be able to point to Captain Sully’s landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the frigid waters of the Hudson River this past January as the accident that finally got something done about the dangers of birdstrikes.
US Airways Flight
While only one in five birdstrikes is ever reported, one unusual strike this past January 15, with an even more remarkable outcome, gained global attention and might bring advisories and eventually new certification and training standards to operators of all turbine-powered aircraft.
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.
The vice president of Bend, Ore.-based Precise Flight last month expressed disappointment with Peggy Gilligan, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, for failing to acknowledge the effectiveness of “on-aircraft” devices in deterring birdstrikes.
The US Airways “heroes of the Hudson” pilots used a House aviation subcommittee hearing Tuesday as a bully pulpit to characterize cost-cutting in the U.S. airline industry as both a threat to passenger safety and to the recruitment and retention of career aviators.
DNA analysis of material taken from the pilot-side windscreen of a Sikorsky
S-76C++ helicopter that crashed January 4 near Morgan City, La., suggests that
the accident might have been caused by a bird strike.
The Smithsonian Institution has identified the bird remains found in both engines of the US Airways A320 that ditched into the Hudson River on January 15 as those of Canada Geese. The Smithsonian’s feather identification lab has so far examined 25 samples of bird remains and reached its conclusion through DNA analysis and through morphological comparisons with specimens in the museum’s collections.
NTSB investigators have found bird remains in both engines from the US Airways A320 that ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, according to analysis of the organic material found inside the airplanes’ CFM56-5B turbofans. The Safety Board has sent the material from both engines to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, where it expects further analysis to identify the particular bird species involved.
A US Airways Airbus A320 carrying 150 passengers and five crew on board ditched into New York’s Hudson River late this afternoon and initial reports indicate that all the occupants escaped with their lives. Flight 1549 had taken off moments earlier from New York La Guardia Airport for a flight to Charlotte, N.C., when the A320 descended into the 35-degree F water near Manhattan’s 57th Street.
A few months ago I wrote about the events surrounding a British Airways
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