“Birdstrike. He Lost Both Engines” source
While salvage workers labored in freezing temperatures to wrest the US
Airways Airbus A320-200 from the Hudson River, the NTSB on Jan. 17
revealed what transpired in the cockpit, the cabin and control tower
during the harrowing five-minute journey of Flight 1549.
Part 1 - Sequence of Events
- US Airways Flight 1549
Date: Jan. 15, 2009'
Origination: New York LaGuardia Airport
Planned Destination: Charlotte, N.C.
Actual Destination: New York Hudson River
Flight, 3 Cabin
flight Duration: Five minutes
According to NTSB Member
Kitty Higgins, spokesperson at the on-site investigation, the timeline
is based on FAA radar and audio relays of air traffic control
communications related to “AWE1549,” according to NTSB Member Kitty
Higgins, official spokesperson at on-site investigation. [ Ed: note:
“AWe” refers to -America West, parent company of US Airways]
Times are local EST as reported to NTSB.
15:24:54 LaGuardia (LGA) tower
controller clears Flight 1549 for takeoff from Runway 4, with
instructions to turn left after departure and maintain a 360 deg
heading. About a minute later, controller instructs crew to contact New
York Departure Control.
15:25:51 Pilot contacts
departure controller and advises aircraft was passing through at 700
ft. and climbing to 5,000 ft. Controller instructs aircraft to climb to
15,000 ft. Crew acknowledges. Controller instructs flight to turn left
to heading 270 deg.
15:27:01 “Ahhh, this is 1549.
Hit birds. We lost thrust in both engines. We’re turning back towards
LaGuardia.” ATC acknowledges problem and instructs flight to turn left
on a 220-deg heading. Crew acknowledges
Radar data from Newark and
JFK sites indicate that at 15:27:01-- about 90 sec. after Flight 1549’s
departure from LGA--the Airbus A320-200 intersected a “string of
primary targets” between 2,900 ft. and 3,000 ft. These targets
[interpretation: birds] were not depicted on the departure controller’s
15:27:49 Departure controller
advises LGA tower to halt further departures because an “emergency
airplane is returning to the airport.” When queried which flight was
returning, departure control advises, “It’s 1549. Birdstrike. He lost
all engines, he lost the thrust in the engines. He is returning
15:28.05 Controller asks if
pilot wants to land at LaGuardia’s Runway 13. Pilot responds:
“We are unable. We may end up in the Hudson.” According to the NTSB, discussion followed as to
whether the flight could land at Teterboro (N.J.) airport, located
about six mi. off the right side of the aircraft. Pilot responds, “We
can’t do it.” When asked on which runway he
would like to land, pilot responds: “We’re gonna be in the Hudson”—the
last communiqué from the aircraft
15:30:30 Radar data shows
aircraft touchdown in the Hudson River. Radar and
tower personnel notify U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Police Dept. and
other search and rescue groups. Coast Guard
replies, “We launched the fleet.” The safety board’s Air Traffic Control Group had completed
interviews with seven controllers and air traffic management personnel
from New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and LaGuardia
Part II – Inside the Cabin
While the drama was
unfolding in the “front office,” the two flight attendants seated in
forward cabin described the scene in the cabin to the NTSB. (As of Jan.
17, investigators had not yet been able to interview the third flight
attendant who was seated in the rear of the cabin. She was injured in
the accident and was still hospitalized.)
The two attendants told the NTSB that shortly after the routine
takeoff, they heard “a loud thud,” a type of sound that neither had
heard before. All engine noise ceased, they said, and cabin was in
complete silence, “like being in a library,” according to Higgins.
Both overheard a first-class passenger say, “I think we hit birds.”
Neither flight attendant reported feeling the aircraft was in a turn,
although they felt it descend. A light smoke haze had filled the cabin,
but it did not affect visibility, they said, and both detected a
burning electrical- or metallic-like odor.
One of the attendants saw water on the right side of the aircraft, when
the captain made the announcement, “Brace for impact.” The flight
attendants then ordered the passengers to “Brace, brace. Heads down!”
shouting out directions and not using the intercom. The impact with
water felt more like a hard landing, they said. There was no bounce,
and the aircraft gradually decelerated. And neither realized the
aircraft was in the water, says Higgins.
When the aircraft stopped, the captain issued the one-word command,
One attendant opened the left front, the other, the right front
door. The right door slide opened and inflated automatically, but the
left front door slide did not. It opened, however, when the flight
attendant manually turned the handle.
At this point, the threshold of doors was 2-3 ft. above the water. The
flight attendants gave further evacuation commands—“ Leave everything
behind, move forward, put on your life vests”--and began to get
everyone in the life rafts.
Meanwhile, passengers seated in the exit rows opened the doors which
deployed slide rafts, and people exited onto the wings. The
flight attendants said there was “no panic, no jostling, no yelling”
among the passengers.
The captain came out of the cockpit and was very concerned about the
passenger count, returning several times to the A320 to make certain
everyone was out of the aircraft. One flight attendant, the first
officer and captain were the last to leave the aircraft. True to
tradition of sea and air, Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger was the very
last to leave his literally sinking ship
“And that’s their story,” said Higgins. As of the evening
of Saturday, Jan. 17, divers, using sonar, had not yet located the
aircraft’s engines that detached from the A320-200 after the water
landing. The powerplants will help investigators verify if birdstrikes
occurred and by what type of bird, the severity of the strikes, as well
as the extent of engine damage.
Meanwhile, salvage workers, hampered by strong currents, and freezing
water and outside air temperatures, had begun the slow, methodical job
of lifting the aircraft from the river, securing it to a barge and
transporting it to hangar for examination by the NTSB. Once that
work is completed, investigators will be able to access the flight data
recorders, located in the tail of the A320. Data readouts and
examination of fuselage will provide important clues as to what
transpired on Flight 1549.
Caméra de surveillance: For videos of Flight 1549’s
water landing, http://cnn.com/2009/US/01/17/usair.splash.video/index.html
Aviation Week will issue
updates as NTSB investigators reveal more details about Flight
1549. source Aviationweek
Below Playing in 3D environment - Flight
1549 reconstruction source exosphere3d