Pondering Ten Years: Miracle on the Hudson

By | January 15, 2019

We started this site in 2006. Things have changed a lot since then, but the realization that it has been ten years since a plane landed on the Hudson River has made us realize it may be time to revisit this site, which has been idle for a bit now.

USAirways Jet in Hudson River

On January 15, 2009, US Airways 1549 left LaGuardia Airport bound for Charlotte. Here is our post from that day, with a followup after more information was in. The story of the flight ended up as a major film, which is certainly worth a look due its attempt at recreating the event.

And finally, a few months later, we contemplated the role of the flight crew.

So, ten years later, what comes to mind?

  • Airlines continue to struggle to recruit pilots. Boeing estimates that airlines will need to recruit over half a million pilots to keep up with demand and as a result, airlines have been forced to raise benefits. Back in 2009, the concern was that experienced pilots like Chesley Sullenberger were a dying breed, and putting a less experienced pilot commanding the flight might have led to disaster. Sullenberger had been part of accident investigations himself, and had been involved in numerous safety efforts. While no one wants an accident to happen at all, this is the sort of person you want to handle your crisis. We can’t say that we’ve felt confidence in every pilot whose plane we’ve been a passenger on.
  • US Airways and American Airlines merged, with the last US Airways branded flight operating October 17, 2015.
  • The plane, N106US, after the flight touched down, was towed to shore, and ultimately salvaged. It is now on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte.
  • The fact that there were no fatalities is an outstanding achievement. Ten years later, it still boggles the mind. Thirteen years earlier, on November 23, 1996, Ethiopian Flight 961 ditched in the water. Commanded by an experienced pilot, 125 out of 175 onboard perished.