The Ditching of Flight 1549
Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting
Dr. Gary Tindall
June 03, 2012
The ditching of Untied Flight 1549 changed aviation forever. It tested LaGuardia airport's emergency plan while simultaneously testing the Emergency Alert Notification System that the New York and New Jersey area shared. The first responders were from both city's fire and police departments along with some brave civilian ferry boat operators. They acted quickly so that no lives were lost in the frigid waters and transported all of the passengers and crew to multiple triage centers that were set up in both states. The rescue effort was a success because of the proper plans that were in place along with mutual aid agreements. Planning helped the ditching be successful but sometimes when you have one minute and thirty seconds to make a decision that 155 lives depend on, having a experienced captain and crew are priceless.
Brace for impact are the last words one wants to hear while fling along an a aircraft, but that is exactly what flight attendants yelled to passengers aboard a US Airways’ flight in 2009. Whenever someone thinks about an aviation accidents they always seem horrific and have staggering death tolls. But when you stop and think about the fact that there are over 7,000 of planes in the sky Untied States at any given time carrying hundreds of passengers and crew really aviation is quite statically safe. (Federal Aviation Administration, 2009) In fact you have a better chance of getting hit by a lighting or drowning then dying in a plane crash. (Britt, 2005) The passengers and crew were given the “brace for impact” command by the plane's captain and corresponding the aircraft accident would forever be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” or ditching of United Fight 1594. I’m sure you can remember seeing to picture of a plane, with passengers standing on the wings, floating down Hudson River between New York and New Jersey back in 2009 . That day a flock of ingested birds disabled both the Airbus‘s two engines and Captain Chesley Sullenberger and was forced to make daring decision to ditch the plane in the Hudson River. That decision by Captain Chesley Sullenberger and co-captain saved all 155 people onboard but there were a lot of unsung heroes involved. I’m going to discuss the how proper incident planning and swift actions of rescue personal involved made such daring ditching effort a success. After about two minutes after taking off for LaGuardia Airport (LGA), New York City, New York, US Airways flight 1549 had an in-flight emergency . The aircraft an Airbus A320-214 tail number N106US was at about 2,818 feet when the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) heard the captain yell birds. According to the NTSB report the captain talked to air traffic controllers on the ground and determined due to loss of thrust that the aircraft had to make an emergency landing at the closest airfield. The closest airfield just happened to be the LaGuardia form which the aircraft had just took off. After some quick calculations and it was determined by the captain and co-captain that the aircraft did not have enough airspeed and altitude to turn around and safely and still make the runway. The crew of Untied Flight 1549 radioed again and asked if there was place available to land in New Jersey. While air traffic controllers looked for another landing alternative it became clear to the crew what their only survivable landing option was. The captain then radioed air traffic again and told them that “we will be in the Hudson.” At around 1530 Untied Flight 1549, an Airbus 320 made its landing on the Hudson River. (National Transportation Safety Board, 2009) Before the first bystanders started to call in and report an aircraft in the Hudson River and even before the aircraft itself touched water. An extensive Emergency Alert Notification System was activated by air traffic control using the red...
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