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The salvage of flight 1549.
February 9, 2009 9:47 PM   Subscribe


 
Well, she's going to need a new coat of paint for starters.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:51 PM on February 9, 2009


Loved his American reclamation project pictures.

As for 1549, it is amazing how well she held up even upon impact.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:56 PM on February 9, 2009


Some great stuff here, thanks!
posted by jtron at 9:57 PM on February 9, 2009


A flatbed full of Win.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:57 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


That'll buff out, no problem.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:58 PM on February 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


In no particular order, it seems.
posted by speedo at 10:16 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Used airplane, light water damage."
posted by Krrrlson at 10:38 PM on February 9, 2009


The reason it didn't break up on impact was because of the way the pilot glissanded it in... kudos!

Seriously, he plopped that jet in a river the best way ever... with skill!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:50 PM on February 9, 2009


The saddest thing about this; they took the seat cushions but never had to use them as a flotation device.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:28 PM on February 9, 2009


These are great: Best was the plane moving through Elizabeth(?) like it was a regular thing.

I will now go, get a cup of coffee and glissand two lumps and some milk into it.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:13 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It says "stephen mallon's industrial photography" and he's great at that, but the portraiture is fantastic.
posted by GeckoDundee at 12:22 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It should be handed over to an enterprising sculptor who could turn it into a latter day Statue of Liberty on the Hudson. The "Freedom Flight" memorial to which Americans could turn to celebrate the deliverance from the evil of the dark, cold unknown (the river) to fly again (not coach for a year, natch) at the hands of Saint Sully.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:47 AM on February 10, 2009


Great pics!

Did the passengers ever get their waterlogged and soggy luggage back?

That would be cool to see pictures of.
posted by chillmost at 2:13 AM on February 10, 2009


One of the few downsides of electing to not-watch-television is being completely clueless in some conversations. This is sort of like that. FPP title = body = hyperlink = target title. No text, no context, no "more inside", no explanation. Plane pulled out of water somewhere on earth, sometime in the last 30 years. No photo titles. Contextless. On Reddit, it's normal. On the blue, it's surreal.

It's clear from the comments that everyone is enjoying this post, so I guess that makes it a "good" one.

no, you don't have to google anything for me, I can do it myself. pity I have to.
posted by sidereal at 2:51 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Even if you don't watch TV, and even if you don't live in NY, you should be able to narrow it down to no more than one jet liner being fished out of the Hudson, no?
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:11 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess this is not so much a matter of not watching TV, but of not reading newspapers and websites, or listening to radio neither, no?
posted by uncle harold at 3:15 AM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


I liked this one a lot.

"So here's how it happened - MMRRrrrrooooooowwwwwwwww!!!! KA-Splooooosh!!!"
posted by orme at 3:46 AM on February 10, 2009


One of the few downsides of electing to not-watch-television is being completely clueless in some conversations. This is sort of like that. FPP title = body = hyperlink = target title. No text, no context, no "more inside", no explanation. Plane pulled out of water somewhere on earth, sometime in the last 30 years. No photo titles. Contextless. On Reddit, it's normal. On the blue, it's surreal.

It's clear from the comments that everyone is enjoying this post, so I guess that makes it a "good" one.

no, you don't have to google anything for me, I can do it myself. pity I have to.


FFS sidereal this was one of the biggest stories of recent months- tv or not. I am in the UK so at's not as if I am a New Yorker that happened to see this on the local news, it was big news in papers, on radio, everywhere. Hell, it was the kind of thing that strangers would talk to you about in a bar.

P.S. a guy called Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in November.

The best thing about people that don't have/watch tv is that they don't like to talk about it.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:11 AM on February 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


Also, those are some pretty cool pictures. The site navigation is pretty meh though.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:12 AM on February 10, 2009


GeckoDundee - I didn't see "Hudson" anywhere in the text, or I might have made the connection. I do remember the radio reporting a plane crash in water a while back, and that mostly everyone was fine. I didn't memorize the flight number.

It's all OK! Everyone likes this post. I like it in my own way, here in the cool dark under my rock. My precious, precious rock.

ClanvidHorse - Right, a black guy, president. Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.
posted by sidereal at 4:27 AM on February 10, 2009


Apparently foregoing television also means that one will forego radio, newspapers, magazines, going out in public, the interwebs (except for MeFi apparently), talking to people, and any other means of finding out what is happening in the world.

As was said above, this was one of the biggest news stories of the last month at best. A pilot of a commercial jet with both engines down managed not only to keep his plane from veering off into populated areas on either side of the Hudson river, but brought the plane down so that no one was hurt? Then the ferries and tugboats of New York launched a massive, heroic, spur-of-the-moment resuce effort to save everyone on board before they sank into the icy waters? Nothing? You've heard nothing about this? Sure it is very slightly newsfilter because of the nature of the events, but the pics are pretty interesting.

Neat pictures docgonzo, thank you.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:32 AM on February 10, 2009


The pix are great, as are the others on the site. Cool stuff.
posted by sidereal at 4:44 AM on February 10, 2009


I liked how the coat hangers were still on the wall. That pilot is just amazing. So what happened to the luggage? Any clue? I know it was eventually returned but what's the procedure on that? Great site!
posted by pearlybob at 4:57 AM on February 10, 2009


Great photos - thanks. They could be used in the Gravity Research Foundation next grant application, as reducing airplane accidents is on part of their mission.
posted by Staggering Jack at 5:14 AM on February 10, 2009


I really need to figure out how to get that right-place-right-time thing down. Then my photography could be just as awesome. Part of the problem of working out in the suburbs is if anything interesting happens in town I can't just run out of my building with my camera.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:26 AM on February 10, 2009


great pictures. To me, the salvage would have been a fun, interesting job, made even better by the fact that it's a good-news story, nobody died, nobody hurt. I think the pictures captured that.

I particularly would have liked to have been the crane op, or a diver, or even the guy driving the big Pete pulling the float trailer with the fuselage. (I'm curious as to why they didn't just barge it somewhere, as opposed to trucking all the way)

"What'd you do today Daddy?" "Well... I cut the wings off of 1549" "....Whooooooah!". Must have been some interesting conversations around dinnertables that night.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:34 AM on February 10, 2009


In no particular order, it seems.

I wondered about that myself. It's not chronological, it is not by subject, a few of the pictures are titled (seemingly just the portraits, with the names of the subjects), yet someone had to make the decision to place them in the order we see them... is there some meaning we are supposed to take away from this?

Ah well: his organization skills are not the best. Great photography, though.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:00 AM on February 10, 2009


I'm impressed that someone involved in the recovery had the thought to actually hire a skilled photographer, rather than going the "Tony here has a camera, he can document it" route.
posted by dmd at 6:02 AM on February 10, 2009


I'm gonna have to back up sidereal here. I heard about the incident. I saw the news coverage, read the MeFi, etc. I did forget the flight number, and when I saw the pictures, only the fact that the plane was intact jarred my memory into realizing which flight this is.

Really, the pictures are great, but the FPP could have maybe 2 more sentences just to remind people which flight "1549" is. Even something as simple as:

"2 weeks after the miraculous landing on the Hudson River by Captain ____, The salvage of flight 1549."
posted by explosion at 6:04 AM on February 10, 2009


I'm really surprised they cut the wings off and trucked it to where ever. Seems like it would have been much easier to just barge it somewhere.
posted by smackfu at 6:04 AM on February 10, 2009


the seat cushions, methinks, have been sent out to have the shit stains removed.
posted by kitchenrat at 6:06 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


That first photo is fantastic... you'll probably never see another image of an airplane in that particular situation....

thanks for the post..

And, for those complaining about the title of the post...sheesh.......the word "salvage" coupled with "flight" were sort of a dead giveaway for anyone who hasn't been in a coma for the past few months...
posted by HuronBob at 6:10 AM on February 10, 2009


I kept expecting to see George Kennedy.
posted by bondcliff at 6:13 AM on February 10, 2009


I kept expecting to see George Kennedy.

No George Kennedy, but Harvey Keitel's in the movie.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 6:17 AM on February 10, 2009


What's amazing to me, as always in these situations, is the radio conversation between the plane and the tower:
L116: ah yes he a he was a bird strike can i get him in for runway one
TEB: runway one that's good
L116: cactus fifteen twenty nine turn right two eight zero you can land runway one at teterboro
AWE1549: we can't do it
L116: okay which runway would you like at teterboro
AWE1549: we're gonna be in the hudson
L116: i'm sorry say again cactus
posted by odinsdream at 6:20 AM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


And, for those complaining about the title of the post...sheesh.......the word "salvage" coupled with "flight" were sort of a dead giveaway for anyone who hasn't been in a coma for the past few months...

Oh please. Yes, some of us have great memories, and would immediately get it. However, these things happen often enough that it's tough to remember without context. Sure, this one was recent, but who can tell 1549 from 670 from 390? I don't know how soon planes are salvaged, is this common knowledge? Am I really expected to remember the incident from the flight number alone with no other context, and then to safely assume that it was the latest aviation accident to happen in the US, given that Metafilter is a world-wide site?

Really, Metafilter has higher standards than this. You don't need to turn every single link post into a "more inside" extravaganza, but if you're going to link one thing, a bit of background is useful. It's not about who can post that cool thing on the web first, but who can post it best.
posted by explosion at 6:24 AM on February 10, 2009


Better run a plane fax on that before buying it.
posted by a3matrix at 6:24 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, they just cut the wings off and stuck the fuselage on a flatbed truck. I'm sure it was the most efficient way to do it but it all seems so surreal.
posted by tommasz at 6:34 AM on February 10, 2009


I love how happy all the guys working are. Maybe because they didn't have to pull out a plane full of bodies. Three cheers!
posted by nosila at 6:36 AM on February 10, 2009


Holy cow, these are awesome. I love the shot of the plane tied up to the benches on the side of the river, and the ones of it going through the nice residential street on the back of the semi. It's the juxtaposition of the everyday with the giant plane that's so striking.

One thought, and maybe this shows how little I know about salvage, but they've got guys out there in the negative ass-million degree water helping pull the thing out - isn't that dangerous? I guess the value of the plane even in pieces is such that leaving it there until spring isn't an option, but wow. Badass divers.
posted by marginaliana at 6:36 AM on February 10, 2009


tommasz: Those wings should wind up as a sculpture over some huge intersection in NYC with a bunch of bronze people standing on them.

Get on that, you rich NYC philanthropist/arts-supporting type! I expect to be dazzled and crying next time I'm in New York!
posted by nosila at 6:38 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


marginaliana: dry suits
posted by nosila at 6:39 AM on February 10, 2009


This video has amazing live footage of the landing.

(Sorry - I was really looking for video of this scene:

Jefferson's Brother: My brother's gonna kill us! He's gonna kill us! He's gonna kill you and he's gonna kill me, he's gonna kill us!
Jeff Spicoli: Hey man, just be glad I had fast reflexes!
Jefferson's Brother: My brother's gonna shit!
Jeff Spicoli: Make up your mind, dude, is he gonna shit or is he gonna kill us?
Jefferson's Brother: First he's gonna shit, then he's gonna kill us!
Jeff Spicoli: Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.

....but no can do, amigos.)
posted by Xoebe at 6:44 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the few downsides of electing to not-watch-television is being completely clueless in some conversations. This is sort of like that. FPP title = body = hyperlink = target title. No text, no context, no "more inside", no explanation. Plane pulled out of water somewhere on earth, sometime in the last 30 years. No photo titles. Contextless. On Reddit, it's normal. On the blue, it's surreal.

So you somehow also missed the huge thread about it right here on Metafilter? You also haven't read any news sites at all in the last month? Or newspapers? No one you knew mentioned "hey did you hear about that airliner that landed in the Hudson river?" to you in casual conversation? You really heard nothing about this at all? Or did you just see this as another opportunity to mention, as so many like you love to do incessantly, that you don't watch television? This isn't like feeling smugly superior because you don't know who the American Idol finalists are (not that I do either, I hate that shit, but just as an example). This is basically trumpeting your ignorance of important events and being proud of it.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:50 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


nosila: holy cow, dry suits! I am, as always, blown away by what technology can do. Waterproof zippers! Amazing.
posted by marginaliana at 6:58 AM on February 10, 2009


Great photography! I'm glad they hired a real professional to cover the task.
posted by JBennett at 7:26 AM on February 10, 2009


DecemberBoy - it was a modest request for better FPP style, with a little self-deprecation thrown in. Like I said, I heard about it on the radio a while back. Remain calm. (or go into an impotent, spastic rage and entertain us all, your choice)
posted by sidereal at 7:46 AM on February 10, 2009


Did the passengers ever get their waterlogged and soggy luggage back?

The luggage is currently the freezer.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:47 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, his pictures are much, much better than mine, but he had better access. . . And he's, you know, a good photographer.
posted by The Bellman at 8:05 AM on February 10, 2009


Any info as to who hired him to shoot these? (The Big Picture?) They're really, memorably, great.
posted by progosk at 8:28 AM on February 10, 2009


Take the derail to metatalk if it needs to continue... jesus.

Great pictures, thanks for posting them. What a cool project to be involved in, knowing no one was killed in the landing.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2009


I like being able to see such a mundane, hidden view of an otherwise extraordinary, public event. It's like watching Sesame Street where you get to go into the factory and learn how your crayons are made.

I was wondering about the coat-hangers, too. It looks like they're hooked into something enclosed enough to prevent casually being jostled / floated out.

BTW, I usually snark at horrible photographer gallery's website UI, but this one wasn't too bad.
posted by Nelson at 9:01 AM on February 10, 2009


Pilot applauded as hero for doing what he was trained to do.
posted by pianomover at 9:07 AM on February 10, 2009


Pilot applauded as hero for doing what he was trained to do.
posted by pianomover at 9:07 AM


CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!
posted by orme at 9:20 AM on February 10, 2009


CLAP! CLAP! CLAPPITY-CLAP!
posted by orme at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2009


Pilot applauded as hero for doing what he was trained to do.

Piano-mover pushes a baby out of the way so the piano crushes him instead. Hero?
posted by smackfu at 9:26 AM on February 10, 2009


Pilot applauded as hero for doing what he was trained to do.

I'm as fed up as you are with people being designated heroes simply for performing a job in a profession ("Heroes Loans" for Teachers?). But he's a pilot because he tried to make the best of a no-win situation. That much was his job.

Actually succeeding, making the right calls and flying an airplane with 155 people into a body of water without so much as a single major casualty: that's definitely hero stuff. That's not just big brass ones, it's big brass ones and mad skills.

Joe Schmoe the Firefighter isn't a hero just because he signed up to be a firefighter, and Bob Smith the policeman isn't either. Nor is John Jones the Army private.

But Captain Sully and the rest of the crew? You bet your ass they're heroes. 150 people can attest to that.
posted by chimaera at 9:52 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why does doing what you are trained to do make you a hero? We see this every time their is a fire or accident. People doing what they are trained to do don't need us to elevate them to hero status. It seems that we expect less and less of those around us. The landing of the plane in the Hudson and especially the tape of the pilot speaking to the control towers are amazing, but I also don't fly a plane for a living. The homeless guy who pulls the bottles and cans out of my recycling can has a shopping cart configured with 7 different full sized garbage bags balanced to perfection Amazing.

Accountant pushes a baby out of the way so the piano crushes him instead. Hero? What's the point?
posted by pianomover at 9:54 AM on February 10, 2009


Same captain same crew same plane same incident with the geese but the flight leaves from Dallas. No Hudson river to land in just hard earth. The pilot does his best but crew and passengers die. Is he a hero?
posted by pianomover at 10:01 AM on February 10, 2009


Yes.

I bet you wanted us to say no.
posted by smackfu at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2009


> Why does doing what you are trained to do make you a hero?

Do you think that ANYBODY could be trained to land a powerless Airbus A320 with 155 people on it on the Hudson and not kill any? Do you think that everyone so trained would get it right?
posted by Artful Codger at 10:24 AM on February 10, 2009


People doing what they are trained to do don't need us to elevate them to hero status.

Consider the possibility that part of his training, when followed through successfully, actually qualifies as Hero stuff. See also: surgeons, rescue divers, etc.
posted by odinsdream at 10:28 AM on February 10, 2009


You know what this heroic photo series is missing? Some hero photos of the hero pilot acting all heroic during his act of heroism!
posted by orme at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2009


I think that professional pilots are in fact trained to respond to emergency situations, through flight simulators and being taught to be aware that in the event of an emergency to look for possible alternatives to just breaking down and crying in all caps.

Do you think that everyone so trained would get it right?
I don't know.
posted by pianomover at 10:32 AM on February 10, 2009


I think some people just have a different definition of hero than me, and I'm ok with that. I don't think debating that definition is going to change anyone's mind.
posted by smackfu at 10:39 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Smackfu, your my hero.
posted by pianomover at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I certainly think the guy is a hero, but it's worth noting that, at least according to a really great piece in New York magazine (how often do you read those words), Captain Sully is a hero because he did something beyond his training -- something for which he had trained himself, and for which commercial pilots are not and cannot be properly trained. Some things to remember:

1. No pilot in the history of commercial aviation has ever successfully landed a commercial jet on water without (mass) fatalities before. Ever.

2. Sully walked the entire plane, twice, after everyone was off, while it was in danger of sinking into the icy river, to make sure there was no one left trapped on board.

So for me, yeah, hero -- and according to the New York Magazine article, probably one of the last, because the airlines don't want the kind of pilots that make good heroes anymore, and the vast majority of the time, neither do you as a passenger -- until the geese decide to fuck you up.
posted by The Bellman at 10:52 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


...and the vast majority of the time, neither do you as a passenger -- until the geese decide to fuck you up.

Wait, why not?
posted by odinsdream at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2009


odinsdream: According to the article, the airlines say that it's because the kind of personality that makes heroes also makes bad day-to-day decisions and contributes to worse overall airline safety. They have all kinds of personality tests for pilots and they don't really want people prone to independent decision-making, which is exactly what you need when you decide you're not going to make Teterborough and you're going to have to make a statistically impossible ditch in the Hudson. 99.99% of the time the plane is either flying itself or the crew is on an incredibly strict checklist designed over many years by the airlines to maximize safety (on average) and minimize cost. So the airlines say that if you hire people who are good at figuring out what to do independently in an emergency (ex combat fighter pilots like Sully, for example), they will be less likely to perform the mundane tasks that make up 99.99% of the flight time mechanically, and thus at maximum safety. It may well be bullshit -- the pilot's union says it is -- but that is what the airlines say.
posted by The Bellman at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2009


pianomover, I think there are circumstances which no amount of training can prepare you for, and probably being the pilot of a crashing plane is one of them. Yes, he's trained to look for alternatives and keep calm, etc., but there comes a point in a situation like that where you either bear up under the pressure or you don't, and I don't believe you can train that into someone (or, at least, we don't currently know of a way to do so).

I've never been in a situation like this, and while I'd like to think that I would bear up under the pressure, the simple fact is that I just don't know what I'd do. I think the people who call him a hero are recognizing that he has a quality that many people simply don't have, an admirable quality. What's wrong with that?
posted by marginaliana at 11:05 AM on February 10, 2009


People doing what they are trained to do don't need us to elevate them to hero status.

And just so we're clear, from the article:

"Pilots are taught that if you need to ditch, you should land at the nearest practical airport. But Sully didn't have time for that. He’d been out of power for a minute already; he'd now dropped well below 3,200 feet. The controller asked if Sully wanted to land on La Guardia's Runway 13. Sully responded: 'We're unable. We may end up in the Hudson." Teterboro wasn’t a possibility either. He could see the New Jersey airport out of his window and knew it was too far. The rules weren't useful anymore. Sully had no playbook to consult, even if he’d wanted to. No pilot in modern jet aviation had ever pulled off a successful water landing. The simulators don't even offer it as a scenario."

Does he get to be a hero now?
posted by The Bellman at 11:09 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, WTF is up with people showing up in a perfectly benign thread to bitch about 1) having to Google for more information about a timely topic 2) being annoyed that other people's idea of a hero is completely different from theirs. You can't just enjoy some interesting photography of an unusual event without complaining that it's not up to your standards? This is the internet. Indulge your curiosity by doing some searches and finding out more cool info you can add to the thread. Post a toothy little blog about the meaning of "hero" in modern culture. These things can be done without being lame.

but who can tell 1549 from 670 from 390?

Well, one landed in the river nearly intact, one burst into flames, and one crashed into an embankment. It seems pretty unlikely we'd see photos of either one of those involving a nearly intact plane being pulled out of a river.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:50 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]




No pilot in the history of commercial aviation has ever successfully landed a commercial jet on water without (mass) fatalities before. Ever.

This is not true, although a common myth according to reply 8 in this post on airliners.net.
I have seen posts with references to sources but I can't find them quickly.
posted by Catfry at 4:07 PM on February 10, 2009


Why does doing what you are trained to do make you a hero?

Actually, most airlines do not train for ditchings. In any case, even pilots consider Sullenberger's accomplishment worthy of note. He has joined a small class that includes Al Haynes, who brought UA 232 to the ground and wasn't even able to save everyone. It really was a story that could have had a dramatically different ending and Sullenberger qualifies as a hero for not just doing his job, but for doing it exceptionally well.

Yes, I agree that "hero" is overused. This is not one of those cases.
posted by dhartung at 4:16 PM on February 10, 2009


Have you ever been close to tragedy
Or been close to folks who have?
Have you ever felt a pain so powerful
So heavy you collapse?
I've never had to (knock on wood)
But I know someone who has.
Which makes me wonder if I could.
It makes me wonder if...
I've never had to (knock on wood)
And I'm glad I haven't yet
Because I'm sure it isn't good.
That's the impression that I get.
Have you ever had the odds stacked up so high
You need a strength most don't possess.
Or has it ever come down to do or die
Youve got to rise above the rest.
I've never had to (knock on wood)
But I know someone who has.
Which makes me wonder if I could.
It makes me wonder if...
I've never had to (knock on wood)
And I'm glad I haven't yet.
Because I'm sure it isn't good.
That's the impression that I get.
I'm not a coward,
I've just never been tested.
I'd like to think that if I was,
I would pass.
Look at the tested and think
"There but for the grace go I."
Might be a coward,
I'm afraid of what I might find out.
I've never had to (knock on wood)
But I know someone who has.
Which makes me wonder if I could.
It makes me wonder if....
I've never had to (knock on wood)
And I'm glad I haven't yet.
Because I'm sure it isn't good.
That's the impression that I get.

- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:41 PM on February 10, 2009


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