FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Mayabird » 2009-01-15 08:03pm

The life vests are (usually) under the seats, attached to the bottom. The safety videos at the beginning of the flight (am I the only person who pays attention to those things?) always show how to put them on and inflate them, and there are also the cards in the seat backs with pictures of it all. Sometimes they also have inflatable life rafts at the emergency exists but I don't know which ones specifically carry them.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Adrian Laguna » 2009-01-15 08:05pm

Master of Ossus wrote:DO they have life vests on passenger aircraft? I thought they just had seat-cushions designed to float.


Yes, they have bright yellow inflatable life vests with compressed air bottles for rapid deployment and little water-activated strobe lights. Do you not pay attention to the safety briefing? They always remind you to not inflate your vest while inside the aircraft.

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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Kanastrous » 2009-01-15 08:16pm

Mayabird wrote:The safety videos at the beginning of the flight (am I the only person who pays attention to those things?)


Yes.

Mayabird wrote:Sometimes they also have inflatable life rafts at the emergency exists but I don't know which ones specifically carry them.


On a lot of large aircraft the escape slides are designed to separate from the fuselage and function as large rafts. Although I'm agnostic regarding their stability in any sort of chop, at all.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Count Chocula » 2009-01-15 08:45pm

Talk show host here in Tampa (Schnitt Show) had a retired US Air pilot on who was familiar with the Airbus. According to him, 1) the engine pylons are designed so that the engines will separate from the wings in a water landing, and 2) this is the first successful water landing of a transport EVER!! That pilot did a truly fantastic job.

As far as that plane ever flying again: I doubt it, but the fuselage and structure analysis should be a gold mine for aeronautical engineers. The Airbus series make extensive use of composite materials, and it will be interesting to see if analysis of an immersed airframe and fly-by-wire system, along with analysis of how the composite structure handled the crash, reveals any improvement areas for future transports.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2009-01-15 08:46pm

Mayabird wrote:The life vests are (usually) under the seats, attached to the bottom. The safety videos at the beginning of the flight (am I the only person who pays attention to those things?) always show how to put them on and inflate them, and there are also the cards in the seat backs with pictures of it all. Sometimes they also have inflatable life rafts at the emergency exists but I don't know which ones specifically carry them.



The evacuation slides are intended to double as life rafts, IIRC, which means they all would.


In fact, I think in the picture at the front of this thread you can see people lined up on long, gray, narrow floating objects on each side of the aircraft, which are presumably the slides in use as life rafts.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby fgalkin » 2009-01-15 09:21pm

I live in a waterfront high-rise on the NJ side. That plane passed in front of my windows today. If the pilot was a little less awesome at his job, I could have come back from work homeless (and sans a few members).

Have a very nice day.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Broomstick » 2009-01-15 09:59pm

Count Chocula wrote:Talk show host here in Tampa (Schnitt Show) had a retired US Air pilot on who was familiar with the Airbus. According to him, 1) the engine pylons are designed so that the engines will separate from the wings in a water landing, and 2) this is the first successful water landing of a transport EVER!!

Welllll.... not exactly the FIRST.

Leaving aside things like the Pam Am flying boats which were designed for water landings, there have been other successful airline ditchings. Not a lot, and having everyone survive is rare.

That pilot did a truly fantastic job.

Unquestionably

Supposedly, after the last passenger was out he walked the cabin TWICE in waist-deep water to make sure that no one had been left behind. One wonders how he managed to walk that narrow aisle with such enormous brass balls.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby FSTargetDrone » 2009-01-15 10:09pm

I was less-than clear about the water impact/shock possibly rupturing fuel tanks, but the business about the engines being designed to separate in a water landing is interesting.

Broomstick wrote:Supposedly, after the last passenger was out he walked the cabin TWICE in waist-deep water to make sure that no one had been left behind. One wonders how he managed to walk that narrow aisle with such enormous brass balls.


Indeed. And, speaking of the pilot:

Story:

January 16, 2009

US Airways Crew Is Credited for Quick Reaction
By MATTHEW L. WALD

Minutes after departing La Guardia Airport, what the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 faced Thursday afternoon, at about 3,000 feet over the central Bronx, was a really quick decision.

The plane had suffered “a double bird strike,” one of the pilots told an air traffic controller at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control.

Probably feeling the plane shake after hitting the birds, and certainly feeling the loss of power in both engines and watching the dials show thrust slipping away, the crew looked ahead as the plane turned west, and caught a glimpse of a runway.

What is that small airport, one pilot asked a controller.

Teterboro, in New Jersey, the controller replied, and instructed the pilot to fly south along the Hudson River, then swing back to the north to land there.

Instead, the pilot told the controller that they would ditch the plane in the river. They then cleared the George Washington Bridge by about 900 feet, according to controllers, and at a point near the end of West 48th Street in Midtown Manhattan, the plane slid into the river’s smooth, gray waters.

In a few weeks, a close comparison of radar tapes and cockpit audiotapes will establish where the plane was when that clipped, urgent conversation took place, and other investigators will try to figure out why this one plane, flying through some of the world’s most congested airspace, was the only one to report a bird problem.

But from early indications, it appears the pilot handled the emergency river landing with aplomb and avoided major injuries, evacuating the plane, an Airbus A320, calmly in the middle of the river, passengers and officials said.

Airliners are not meant to glide, although occasionally they have to. The pilot of this one, Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III, is certified as a glider pilot, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Captain Sullenberger, known as Sully, flew the F-4 for the United States Air Force for seven years in the 1970s after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy. He joined USAir, as it was called at the time, in 1980 and became a “check airman,” training and evaluating new pilots or those changing to new aircraft or moving up to captain. He also was an accident investigator for the union, the Air Line Pilots Association.

Captain Sullenberger’s wife, Lorrie Sullenberger, a fitness expert in Danville, Calif., said she learned about the crash on Thursday afternoon when her husband called her. “I haven’t stopped shaking yet,” she said in a brief phone interview.

US Airways pilots can drill for water landings in a simulator, but no one knows how realistic that is. “You’re landing on a big blue screen,” said one US Airways A320 pilot, referring to the flat-panel computer screens in the simulator.

“Better to land at an airport where there’s actual crash-fire-rescue,” said the pilot, who requested anonymity because he did not have his airline’s permission to speak. But the pilot and other experts said the crew appeared to have done a good job.

Ditching can be tricky. The first step is to extend the slats and the flaps, the movable surfaces on the front and back edges of the wings that allow the plane to fly more slowly and to descend to just over the water’s surface.

Another step is to hit the “ditching button,” which seals the openings in the plane. One is the intake, where the engines grab air to pressurize and force it into the cabin, essential to high-altitude flight. Another is the valve at the back that lets air out.

When the plane is flying low enough, it will generate its own cushion of air, a phenomenon called “ground effect,” that lets it fly even more slowly.

“The whole point is to get the airplane slow, to minimize the damage and the forces on the airplane,” said John Cox, a safety consultant who flew the A320 for US Airways and USAir for six years.

Mr. Cox said that he knew Captain Sullenberger and that he was “a seriously good aviator.”

While the plane slows, the crew has to be careful not to let it stall, which happens when the wind is flowing over the wings too slowly to generate enough lift and the plane falls from the sky. Mr. Cox said the plane would probably have touched down at 100 to 120 knots, roughly 115 to 140 miles per hour.

Ditching is different from landing a glider. Another safety expert, Arnie Reiner, who was a crash investigator for Pan American World Airways and later a pilot for the Delta Shuttle flights out of La Guardia, said the object was to keep the wings level and the nose up slightly, so the fuselage could plane on the water’s surface. Hit in a nose-down attitude, he said, and the plane could dig into the water, potentially damaging the fuselage heavily.

This one settled in with the nose high.


Excellent job by the pilot, but let's not forget to credit the crew in general! :)
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Mayabird » 2009-01-15 11:28pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Mayabird wrote:The life vests are (usually) under the seats, attached to the bottom. The safety videos at the beginning of the flight (am I the only person who pays attention to those things?) always show how to put them on and inflate them, and there are also the cards in the seat backs with pictures of it all. Sometimes they also have inflatable life rafts at the emergency exists but I don't know which ones specifically carry them.



The evacuation slides are intended to double as life rafts, IIRC, which means they all would.


In fact, I think in the picture at the front of this thread you can see people lined up on long, gray, narrow floating objects on each side of the aircraft, which are presumably the slides in use as life rafts.


But not all planes have evacuation slides. IIRC some of the smaller ones I've been in have the emergency exits over the wings and the instructions are to slide off the wings themselves, which actually isn't all that far. But this is a big plane we're talking about here and I had been wondering if those were rafts.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2009-01-15 11:56pm

Mayabird wrote:But not all planes have evacuation slides. IIRC some of the smaller ones I've been in have the emergency exits over the wings and the instructions are to slide off the wings themselves, which actually isn't all that far. But this is a big plane we're talking about here and I had been wondering if those were rafts.



Yeah, it's true that smaller aircraft might not, at least when not flying over long distances in water, but it seems very clear from some of the pictures now that at least on an aircraft this large they are liferafts too.

As for the pilot, well, I'm not surprised to hear he's an Air Force Academy graduate and was a Phantom driver.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby phongn » 2009-01-16 01:32am

Having flown on a US Airways A320 recently, I'm pretty sure that the emergency evacuation slides double as rafts.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2009-01-16 03:17am

Airliners are not meant to glide, although occasionally they have to. The pilot of this one, Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III, is certified as a glider pilot, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.


Does this mean he knows how to fly one-man gliders, or does 'glider pilot' mean something specific in commercial aviation lingo?
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Sky Captain » 2009-01-16 03:39am

This is amazing, it`s the first successful water landing of a large jet I have ever heard of. Hats of to the pilots.

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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Edi » 2009-01-16 04:18am

Truly impressive work from the pilot. That man is a hero.

The most memorable plane crash that I remember is the passenger jet that went down in Sweden sometime in the late 1980s. Crashed in the middle of the forest, fuselage broke into three parts and all told less than ten people out of more than 100 died. It was remarkable precisely because usually everyone dies in crashes like that and almost everyone got out of that one alive. The aerial pictures of the crash site they showed on the news here were pretty amazing. Sadly, I don't have time to Google the event from work.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Broomstick » 2009-01-16 06:05am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Airliners are not meant to glide, although occasionally they have to. The pilot of this one, Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III, is certified as a glider pilot, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Does this mean he knows how to fly one-man gliders, or does 'glider pilot' mean something specific in commercial aviation lingo?

A "glider pilot" is someone certified to fly gliders. Assuming they have a private pilot-glider license they can fly however big a glider they can afford to rent or buy and launch, including those that carry more than one person.

Someone with a "commercial" glider license can fly gliders and get paid for it. This usually means instructing in gliders. Another use of a commercial glider license might be flying aerobatic routines in air shows.

Being a commercial airplane pilot does not automatically make one a commercial glider pilot.

Airliners are not meant to glide, but they actually do glide pretty well, much better than the small airplanes I fly and, in fact, the average airliner glides better than the one actual glider I flew - admittedly, it wasn't a spectacular type of glider, that one. Some of the features that optimize them for high-altitude flight made for decent glide characteristics at lower altitudes.

[Generalizing] Airliners have auxiliary power generators that drop into the airstream and use it to power things like basic instruments, hydraulics, and landing gear in the event of large scale power failures. The fact that this is standard equipment tells you that there is an expectation the airplane will be flyable even if the engines aren't running at all. [/generalizing]
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Sky Captain » 2009-01-16 07:20am

Airliners are not meant to glide, but they actually do glide pretty well, much better than the small airplanes I fly and, in fact, the average airliner glides better than the one actual glider I flew - admittedly, it wasn't a spectacular type of glider, that one. Some of the features that optimize them for high-altitude flight made for decent glide characteristics at lower altitudes.


If I remember correctly in the past there has been several cases of jetliners flying into volcanic ash clouds suffering flameout and then gliding more than hundred kilometers before getting out of ash and successfully restarting engines.

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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby lukexcom » 2009-01-16 09:57am

Broomstick wrote:[Generalizing] Airliners have auxiliary power generators that drop into the airstream and use it to power things like basic instruments, hydraulics, and landing gear in the event of large scale power failures. The fact that this is standard equipment tells you that there is an expectation the airplane will be flyable even if the engines aren't running at all. [/generalizing]


Also, should the "windmill" fail to deploy, the airliners could still utilize their Auxiliary Power Units for awhile to augment internal battery power. I'm not sure of large airliner procedures, but I would suspect that the APU would normally be utilized, and the windmill only for cases of total electrical failure where starting the APU is impossible.

When I was a ramp agent (marshal aircraft to and from gates, load/unload baggage) at MSP for Northwest Airlink, I remember during training on how we were told to be *absolutely careful* when hooking up the ground power cord to the nose area of a CRJ, as there have been prior cases of the the "windmill" popping out of its casing and striking a ramp agent on the head.

As far as engine faliures go, I never had one through my short stint in aviation flight training (got all the way up to PP-AMEL IFR, with complex and high perf. endorsements), fortunately. However, it's an unforgettable, heart-thumping experience the first time your instructor cuts the fuel flow to one of your two piston prop engines during flight, and demonstrates how to re-start the engine.

Three years later, I can still recall many of the BE-76 checklists and procedures today...ensure prop is not feathered, remaining engine on full power, correct for p-factor, angle the aircraft nose-down, gain speed to 100kts+, hold nose down as the prop starts to slowly spin...
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Broomstick » 2009-01-16 10:17am

Dug up some information I wrote down several years ago. According to that, the typical airliner has a 17:1 glide ratio. The training glider I flew had a 12:1 glide ratio. I don't know where the idea started that airliners don't glide well, because they certainly can and do. A trained glider pilot will get closer to that stated ratio than someone inexperienced with gravity-powered flight. If airliners didn't glide so well that plane wouldn't have made it to the Hudson, but it still took a good pilot to get it there.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Kanastrous » 2009-01-16 10:58am

It's aggravating, that the babble everywhere in the media is now miracle, miracle, miracle.

This is engineering, luck, and awesome, unbelievable airmanship, but this 'miracle' bullshit is already getting thick, out there.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Redleader34 » 2009-01-16 12:08pm

This is the Hudson river, which tends to be freezing (It wasn't,) and the fact that people did not die or worse, crash into an office tower/Jersey/South Bronx makes it pretty miraculous, when the last few damaged airplanes in this city (Not counting 9-11) tended to crash and kill everyone involved. Flight 587 killed everyone on it AND several on the ground, and Cory Lide's plane killed himself, his pilot, and injured 23 others.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Kanastrous » 2009-01-16 12:16pm

Unusual, improbable, fortunate, extraordinary do not rise to the level of miraculous.

Isn't unusual, improbable extraordinary good fortune - and, much more to the point, the skill of the pilot and engineers - good enough? Why the compulsion to go all wild-eyed-blue-sky with the miraculous nonsense?

I didn't hear about any natural laws being broken by this event; has someone else heard of such a report?
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Broomstick » 2009-01-16 12:22pm

I think it's sad that people do not give themselves credit for being heros, for rescuing others, for doing the right thing. By saying it's "miraculous" they take credit away from human beings, form their own selves, and deny that they had any control at all. Totally false. Human do not ever have total control but in this case they had sufficient control, and skill, and initiative, for an excellent outcome. Those involved should be PROUD.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby FSTargetDrone » 2009-01-16 12:24pm

Redleader34 wrote:This is the Hudson river, which tends to be freezing (It wasn't,) and the fact that people did not die or worse, crash into an office tower/Jersey/South Bronx makes it pretty miraculous, when the last few damaged airplanes in this city (Not counting 9-11) tended to crash and kill everyone involved. Flight 587 killed everyone on it AND several on the ground, and Cory Lide's plane killed himself, his pilot, and injured 23 others.


I was thinking, everyone was also fortunate that none of those large ferries happened to be crossing in front of and struck by the Airbus as it came down. That might have been a very messy situation.

With regard to the over-used "miracle" nonsense, if you hear anyone say that, just ask where the "miracle" was for people in airplane accidents which did not turn out so well. Or any disaster, really.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Kanastrous » 2009-01-16 12:32pm

FSTargetDrone wrote:
With regard to the over-used "miracle" nonsense, if you hear anyone say that, just ask where the "miracle" was for people in airplane accidents which did not turn out so well. Or any disaster, really.


Never seems to work. Whenever someone burbles at me about their 'miraculous' recovery, I always ask what about all the similarly afflicted people, for whom there was no 'miracle?' Does God just *like* you, better than them? and am invariably rewarded with a blank stare, a few seconds' silence, then the burble resumes.
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Re: FLASH! US Airlines Flight 1549 Down In Hudson River

Postby Broomstick » 2009-01-16 01:10pm

Graphic of the flight path:

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Reports are that the pilot considered Teterboro, and the graphic might make it appear he could have made it, but you have to recall that the area is full of very tall buildings and the aircraft was unable to climb. The Hudson river offered a VERY long "runway" with no buildings. The pilot clearly took the choice that presented the fewest potential causalities in the event he couldn't make a successful landing, and managed to resolve the problems without any loss of life.
Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid. - Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice


A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.


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