Narrative:US Airways flight 1549 was a passenger flight from New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA) to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT), operated by an Airbus A320.
The airplane took off at 15:26 from LaGuardia's runway 04. The first officer was pilot flying. As they were reaching an altitude of 3000 feet the crew saw a formation of Canada geese. Before they knew it, the windscreen turned dark brown and several loud thuds were heard. Both engines began to lose power and there was a burning smell. The captain took over control of the the flight. They radioed ATC about their emergency situation: "Aaah, this is Cactus 1549. We lost thrust in both engines. We are turning back toward LaGuardia." It quickly became evident that they were not able to reach LaGuardia. A possible landing at the Tereboro Airport (TEB) was considered. The captain decided that they would not be able to land safely on the short runway in the middle of a built-up area. The flight descended over the Hudson River until it ditched.
All occupants evacuated the airplane, climbing onto the wing and entering escape slides. Coast Guard vessels and commuter ferries rescued everyone on board.
According to FlightAware.com the maximum altitude was 3200 feet before the aircraft began a descent into the water. The last radar return received by FlightAware showed the aircraft at 300ft and 153kts (176mph)
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The ingestion of large birds into each engine, which resulted in an almost total loss of thrust in both engines and the subsequent ditching on the Hudson River. Contributing to the fuselage damage and resulting unavailability of the aft slide/rafts were (1) the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of ditching certification without determining whether pilots could attain the ditching parameters without engine thrust, (2) the lack of industry flight crew training and guidance on ditching techniques, and (3) the captain’s resulting difficulty maintaining his intended airspeed on final approach due to the task saturation resulting from the emergency situation.
Contributing to the survivability of the accident was (1) the decision-making of the flight crewmembers and their crew resource management during the accident sequence; (2) the fortuitous use of an airplane that was equipped for an extended overwater flight, including the availability of the forward slide/rafts, even though it was not required to be so equipped; (3) the performance of the cabin crewmembers while expediting the evacuation of the airplane; and (4) the proximity of the emergency responders to the accident site and their immediate and appropriate response to the accident."
» Canada geese caused plane to ditch in Hudson (Sunday Independent, 18-1-2009)
Follow-up / safety actions
Left hand side forward fuselage damage FR1 to FR12 (pink boxes - soft body damage)
US Airways N106US retrieved from Hudson River
Right-hand engine on barge
Pylon fractured at wing intersection
Passenger door R1 after recovery
Right hand inboard and outboard flap damage
Tail cone damage.
Left hand side forward fuselage damage aft of the L1 door
Photo taken 2 days before it crashed into the Hudson River
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from New York-La Guardia Airport, NY to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC as the crow flies is 869 km (543 miles).