—Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators
On January 15, 2009, just three minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, US Airways flight 1549—an Airbus 320—struck a flock of birds in midair.
With the loss of both engines and only seconds to make critical decisions at 3,000 feet (914 m) above the river, all of the crew’s training and preparation came into play. The pilot, copilot and crew, who had logged many hours of flight time, maintained a steady demeanor that helped to sustain the passengers’ confidence during an intense situation. Additionally, first responders from the ferry boats nearby acted quickly to make sure everyone got to shore safely. The remarkable result was that all 155 persons on board survived with reports of only relatively minor injuries.
The remarkable skills of the pilot and crew captivated people around the world as TV and Internet news correspondents began to call the harrowing situation “The Miracle on the Hudson.” Yet even a miracle alone could not have accounted for the amazingly safe emergency ditching of an aircraft.
A significant part of the credit for what happened when flight 1549 went down that day lies in preparation. As disaster loomed, the crew and rescue teams calmly and consistently implemented what they had learned in years of training and emergency drills. No one involved had ever undergone a situation like this one, and yet their countless hours of experience combined to achieve the best possible outcome—an inspiring and successful rescue.
Preparation. Pass It On!
This billboard about Preparation features US Airways Flight 1549.