59: Miracle on the Hudson

This is an auspicious week in aviation history. 13 years ago, on January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus A320, on a flight from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, struck a flock of birds shortly after take-off, losing all engine power. Unable to reach any airport for an emergency landing due to their low altitude, pilots Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan.[1] All 155 people on board were rescued by nearby boats, with only a few serious injuries.

This water landing of a powerless jetliner with no deaths became known as the Miracle on the Hudson,[2] and a National Transportation Safety Board official described it as “the most successful ditching in aviation history”.[3] The Board rejected the notion that the pilot could have avoided ditching by returning to LaGuardia or diverting to nearby Teterboro Airport. Everyone knows this story. It was dramatized in the 2016 film Sully, starring Tom Hanksas Sullenberger.Today we have 5 amazing guests who are intimately involved in this story, Vallie Collins, David Sanderson, Ben Bostic, Stephen Mallon and Paula Paul.

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