US Airways flight 1549 ditches in the Hudson River

Hans-Georg's picture
Sat, 2009-01-17 22:16 by Hans-Georg

In the afternoon of Thursday, 2009-01-15, a US Airways Airbus A320 (flight 1549) took off from runway 04 (northwards) of LaGuardia airport, New York, and climbed to an altitude of nearly 1,000 m, when it apparently encountered a flock of geese. The left engine was hit hard and began to burn. Apparently the right engine was also hit, so the aircraft was without thrust.

The experienced pilot, former US Air Force captain and fighter pilot, flight safety expert, and accident investigator Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III turned left and finally chose the Hudson River for a ditching. He managed it so well that the plane remained intact and kept floating. All 150 passengers and 5 crew members survived, nobody suffered any life-threatening injury, and most passengers were entirely unharmed.

Some reports mention that the A320, like several other types of airliner, has a "ditch switch", which closes all holes and vents in the lower fuselage to allow the plane to float for a longer time after a ditching.

The following video mix contains the voice communication between the pilot and Air Traffic Control during the critical phase of the emergency approach.

The following webcam movie shows the actual ditching just after 2:00 min on the left side.

Flickr user i'mjustsayin used various bits of available information to piece together the following track of the entire flight (taken from

Track of US Airways flight 1549 on 2009-01-15
Larger map

FlightAware > Live Flight Tracker > US Airways #1549 > 15-Jan-2009 > KLGA-KLGA > flight track small, with data; large, map only

Animation with audio:

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