A final look at Flight 1549

If the “miracle on the Hudson” hadn’t involved a miracle, what might we be saying today about US Airways flight 1549, which ditched in the Hudson River in January 2009?

The National Transportation Safety Board revealed today that tests showed that Capt. Chesley Sullenberger could have made it back safely to Laguardia Airport, after its engines flamed out in a collision with geese.

Airbus, the maker of the aircraft, said in a filing published today that while the flight could’ve returned to Laguardia, the pilots made the right decision:

Although an emergency return to La Guardia Runway 13 was technically feasible from an aircraft flight performance point of view, the emergency landing on the Hudson seems the most appropriate decision.

The safety board is considering whether there should be design changes to aircraft to make them better able to withstand bird strikes. One change that you may notice during those pre-flight briefings from flight attendants: The NTSB is recommending they had a demonstration on how to put on a life vest.

The NTSB has been holding its final hearing on the incident this morning. You can watch it online.

  • It’s seems quite easy in hindsight that the plane would have/could have but the pilots didn’t have the luxury of running those tests before having to land somewhere.