Thursday, January 15, 2009

Airbus ditches in the Hudson

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US Airways Plane Crashes in New York City's Hudson River, Everyone Survives

I have to echo Neal Boortz's comments on Hannity's show today. That Pilot and FO earned every single penny they're ever going to make for the rest of their lives in a few short minutes.

Their quick thinking saved who knows how many lives! Not only the crew and passengers, but also any number of bystanders in Manhattan and across the bridges and tunnels who could have had 125,000 pounds of Jet-A and aluminum dropped on their heads.

It was ballsy of them to line that plane up on the freezing waters of the Hudson, and skillful to keep the wings perfectly level with the waterline to prevent cartwheeling, all without power or boosted flight controls. For those of you unfamiliar with the way large aircraft work, the flight control surfaces (flaps, ailerons, elevators, and rudder) must all be actuated by hydraulic servos. When the engines die, there's no hydraulic pressure.

The hydraulic pumps are powered by generators that are driven by the engines; without boost, it takes a herculean effort to manipulate the flight controls. The pilots who dead-sticked Air Transat Flight 236 into Lajes AB in the Azores in August 2001 could tell you that.

That was another Airbus, which had a misdiagnosed fuel leak. The leak left the aircraft in the middle of the Atlantic with two flamed out engines, and the pilots' efforts to get the plane down safely at Lajes was impressive, even if their handling of the leak diagnosis was almost Darwin Award-worthy.

Apparently the passengers on USA 1549 kept their cool and encouraged each other as well. There was no panicky struggle to reach the exits.

If you meet that pilot and FO, don't leave their bar tabs unpaid. Provided they're not flying the next day.

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