Thursday, January 15, 2009

Miracle on the Hudson

We interrupt the regular programming to bring some inside details about US Airways Flight 1549-

Lower heights of buildings north of 96th street allow planes to take the U-turn described on graphics. The plane did not come perilously close to the GWB at 181st street. LGA is located at about the place of 125th.

The most famous water landing disaster was the 1982 AirFlorida flight 90 on the Potomac River. The Floridian pilots did not understand what ice was---it actually happened about this time of year, 27 years ago. Only 6 people survived the wreck, 1 of them died before leaving the water. The bridge that was partially damaged by the plane was named after him- The Arlene D. Williams 14th Street Bridge.

Differences exist- the AirFlorida pilots were incompetent and lacked much brain ("regulations and deicing are just regulation"; "We don't have enough thrust", Nah, we'll dodge that bridge"). The USAIR pilots were attentive, and understood geography- Teterboro, with a short but salvageable runway was an option they crossed out in 15 seconds- they judged it to be too far, and executed a rarely successful intact-fuselage water landing- as commonly seen on those safety cards. A full aircraftSunCountry now flies from Dulles, a no-brainer beginner's airport with ample space to correct mistakes.

With by-the-card evacuation and a rapid rescue, an unprecedented 155 people escaped with the most serious injury a broken leg.

Miracle on the Hudson seems like a plausible name for a new ACI.

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