Chesley Sullenberger, born in 1951, is a retired airline captain, aviation safety expert and accident investigator, best-selling author, speaker and consultant.
He was hailed as a national hero in the United States when he successfully executed an unpowered emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, New York City, after the aircraft was disabled by striking a flock of Canada geese during its initial climb out of LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009. All of the 155 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft survived.
The incident came to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson”
The aircraft was an Airbus A320-200, registered N106US, operating as a US Airways scheduled domestic commercial passenger flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. About three minutes into the flight, at 3:27 p.m. EST, the plane struck a flock of Canada geese during its initial climb out from LaGuardia, just northeast of the George Washington Bridge. The bird strike caused both jet engines to quickly lose power. As the aircraft lost altitude, the flight deck crew decided that the plane could not reach the closest airfield. They turned southbound and glided over the Hudson, finally ditching the airliner off midtown Manhattan near the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, about three minutes after losing power. All 155 occupants, the passengers and crew, successfully evacuated from the partially submerged airframe as it sank into the river; they were rescued by nearby watercraft. Several occupants suffered injuries, a few of them serious, but only one required hospitalization overnight.
The entire crew of Flight 1549 was awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. The award citation read, “This emergency ditching and evacuation, with the loss of no lives, is a heroic and unique aviation achievement.” It has been described as “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”
Here is some amazing raw footage of Flight 1549 ditching in the Hudson …
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