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Miracle on the Hudson.
March 2, 2009 2:52 PM   Subscribe

The Hudson River plane landing was reconstructed by SceneSystems.
posted by gman (50 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's cute how at the very end the passengers happily sit there on one of the inflatable slides with their legs dangling in the water. Sort of like any old day at the swimming hole!
posted by mudpuppie at 2:58 PM on March 2, 2009


The squadron of geese descending on New York like a host of poorly-animated valkyrie is pretty hilarious.
posted by dersins at 2:59 PM on March 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Sully" was just ice cold. More people should try to be that way instead of losing their heads over nonsense. Dude knew the plane was going down and he totally eliminated his panic mode and did what needed doing.

Also, I would've liked some geese screams to go with the honking when the video showed the flocks of the birds.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:59 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd heard the audio several times before, and I hadn't been able to put together that the second time he says "We're gonna be in the Hudson" was literally the second before landing.
posted by peep at 3:01 PM on March 2, 2009


Cool hand luke. "Unable, we're going in the Hudson." No panic in his voice at all. Give the guy a lucrative contract and/or a gold statue.
posted by cavalier at 3:03 PM on March 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Imagine the suck the departure controller felt at "...radar contact is lost."

There's some time compression here, which is unfortunate. The plane departed LGA at 1525, reported the bird strike at 1527. The call to TEB happend at 1529, radar contact was lost at 1530, 32 seconds later, the plane hit the water.

So the whole sequence was close to six minutes, not the the less than two that that this video implies.
posted by eriko at 3:04 PM on March 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Agreed, Burhanistan. I found myself getting palpably frustrated with the control tower folks reciting alternative runways/airports while the plane was already in the water. And I'm just sitting here watching a simulation. On the internet. Mad props.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:04 PM on March 2, 2009


Seconding the call for geese screams. I am a bad person.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:05 PM on March 2, 2009


The Sims-like appearance of the passengers at the end makes me wish we had been following them all along. During the descent, their bladder meters could all spike to the maximum. And their thought balloons could contain skulls-and-crossbones, gloating demon faces, etc.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:05 PM on March 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


No matter how many times I hear it and see it, I'm amazed. I recently saw this quote and it was used to describe Obama, but I think it was designed for Sully:

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man."
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:06 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's cute how at the very end the passengers happily sit there on one of the inflatable slides with their legs dangling in the water. Sort of like any old day at the swimming hole!

I'd have been one of those rockin' out on the wing.
posted by gman at 3:06 PM on March 2, 2009


"I'd have been one of those rockin' out on the wing."

Yeah me too...but only because I'd be trying to splash my crotch areas in order to hide the piss stain that surely would have developed during the landing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:19 PM on March 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


So calm. He said "We're gonna be in the Hudson" in a such a way that it sounded like he expected them to bring beer and chips when they showed up to get him. Awesome.

I too would like goose screams.
posted by patr1ck at 3:20 PM on March 2, 2009


Second life, indeed.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:25 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Plane crashes, car wrecks, police shoot-outs: Scene Systems has an intriguing online portfolio of their work.

But I still think the confrontations would be better portrayed in the Half-life engine.
posted by isopraxis at 3:26 PM on March 2, 2009


You know, if you put your plane down in a river, no matter how well and with what gravitas, that's not a landing, that's a crash.

Just sayin'.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:27 PM on March 2, 2009


Don't make me lend you a book, td:
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,040,000 for "crash landing" [definition]. (0.12 seconds)
posted by joe lisboa at 3:29 PM on March 2, 2009


"... the Ice Man, 'cause that's how he flies, ice cold, no mistakes."
posted by bwg at 3:31 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


NICE marketing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:33 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is pushback on the pure Sully adulation. I was talking to a commercial pilot the other day after he returned from the airline's regularly scheduled training. The pilot said the people running the simulator were getting a bit irked by all the unquestioned and extended praise heaped on Captain Sullenberger without more analysis. They ran the simulator several times for the craft's position, altitude, and flying conditions, and were able to safely make the Teterboro airport runway every time.

Of course, it was a split-second decision based the captain's assessment of the situation, and had the craft landed short of the runway, the results might have been far worse than they were. All the pilots did feel that, for a water landing, he came close to absolute perfection.
posted by mdevore at 3:52 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


eriko, read this.
posted by peep at 3:57 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


mdevore: you know what? Thanks. Because now I respect the decision more. It was a hell of a tough call no matter what, and no time to weigh pros and cons. Yet in a split second, he decided that with the real possibility that he and everyone else on board was doomed no matter what he did, he could at least choose to minimize risk for people on the ground. A principled decision, with the determination to make it work out for all. I suspect most of us would've chosen whatever route offered the best odds of self-preservation, and just crossed fingers for the folks on the ground. "Oh is that a jet engine dropping on your head? We're terrible sorry but it was unavoidable..."
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 4:12 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Results 1 - 10 of about 1,040,000 for "crash landing" [definition]. (0.12 seconds)

Oh, sure, next you're going to start up about "collateral damage". Free your mind, man!
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:17 PM on March 2, 2009


I hadn't heard the audio before. That pilot is awesome.
posted by chunking express at 4:22 PM on March 2, 2009


Nah, jumbo shrimp and military intelligence are next up.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:25 PM on March 2, 2009


ATC impress me even when they're working the most mundane of situations. This is something else. I'm glad the audio is public, and I'm glad somebody followed up with the controller for that story.
posted by kiltedtaco at 4:39 PM on March 2, 2009


They ran the simulator several times for the craft's position, altitude, and flying conditions, and were able to safely make the Teterboro airport runway every time.

Well, if they know what they're going to do before they strap in, of course they'll find an elegant way to do it. And they'll learn something doing it, which is good.

It would be more interesting to "surprise" someone in the simulator by throwing a replay of the 1549 situation at them, to really see what other pilots decide to do.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:52 PM on March 2, 2009


The company that made this sounds like my fuckin' dream job - engineering, forensics, and 3D CAD? Sign me up! *sigh*
posted by notsnot at 5:09 PM on March 2, 2009


They ran the simulator several times for the craft's position, altitude, and flying conditions, and were able to safely make the Teterboro airport runway every time.

It's easy to jump out of the way of a bus that's bearing down on you if you know it's going to be coming in advance. Responding appropriately when you've just seen the bus and the impact is imminent -- that's the hard part.
posted by davejay at 5:13 PM on March 2, 2009


I think Sully took the water because in that split second he could not take the risk of wiping out even more people on the ground. If he fucked it up that would be a very high risk in NYC.

Turgid Dahlia, it's not a crash when you land without dying in the water, it's a ditch. Sully managed the first successful ditch in aviation history of a commercial passenger jet. I think it was a good decision though -- he had perfect conditions, extremely still water and more room to set up the ditch than he would have had for a landing at the airport he could barely reach.

"We'll be in the Hudson..." Yes, that's the way you're trained, and if it takes you might live and if you spend your last seconds going HOLY FUCK WHERE'S THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL well, then not so well.
posted by localroger at 5:25 PM on March 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's flight 1549.

Right after the bird strike, the pilot IDs as 1539.

Right after THAT, ATC calls him "1529" a couple of times before correcting to 1549.
posted by mrbill at 5:33 PM on March 2, 2009


Something about the way those birds approached the plane looks familiar.
posted by brain_drain at 5:34 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The animators edited so much out of the audio track. The original audio recording is even more interesting, with controlled chaos unfolding on one end, and even swifter decisionmaking on the other. It's amazing how everyone manages to get so much done within a span of only 2-3 minutes. Sullenberger is already contemplating the ditch option a mere *40 seconds* in. Wow.

The controller keeps on crisply working to find them a safe landing, even after they've dropped off radar and he's convinced (as he later admitted) that the lot of them are already gone. Hard not to tear up as you endure the radio silence with him. Must have been hell.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:59 PM on March 2, 2009


Metafilter: HOLY FUCK WHERE'S THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL

(forgive me.)
posted by joe lisboa at 6:16 PM on March 2, 2009


That's a silly looking flock of birds.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:20 PM on March 2, 2009


Sully managed the first successful ditch in aviation history of a commercial passenger jet

That's what I thought too, but apparently it also happened near Leningrad in 1963. Before that, a couple propellor driven examples as well.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:48 PM on March 2, 2009


I found this on the youtube sidebar for this video, and thought it was funny.
posted by ericbop at 6:48 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Patrick Smith of Salon reminded us that there were in fact, two pilots in the cockpit, but Jeffrey Skiles, the first officer, pretty much gets no credit (heck a search for his name on Wikipedia just forwards you to the "US Airways Flight 1549" article)

Stewart also got a lot of hell from readers for not worshiping Captain Sullenberger like the next incarnation of Jesus.

I've always been the fan of the #2 guy (always being the #2 guy myself) - I liked Andrew Ridgeley, John Oates, etc.

What does the blue know about Captain Skiles' role? I am under the impression that it takes two people to land the plane - Surely Captain Skiles was doing something, right?
posted by bitteroldman at 7:18 PM on March 2, 2009


This afternoon I was thinking about 1549's "landing," and then realized: oh my god, what if there were animals in the cargo hold?

I know that this was more or less a best case scenario, but I hope that no one had their pets with them. And god, don't tell me if they did.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:35 PM on March 2, 2009


Optimus Chyme: from the Wikipedia page on the flight: According to the airline, no pets were onboard in the cargo hold, with a spokesperson stating: "We don't carry pets in our cargo."
posted by xmutex at 7:55 PM on March 2, 2009


Surely Captain Skiles was doing something, right?

Stories said he was furiously trying to restart engines, which is a complicated checklist of procedures, and only some items can be skipped safely in a pinch. If he had managed that feat (and he couldn't have, because of the damage, but he didn't know that at the time), they almost certainly wouldn't have had to ditch. And ironically, we probably wouldn't have ever heard about his heroics in doing so.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:51 PM on March 2, 2009


What does the blue know about Captain Skiles' role? I am under the impression that it takes two people to land the plane - Surely Captain Skiles was doing something, right?

Skiles was co-pilot and flight engineer, and I'm sure he had plenty to do. He may have been trying to restart the engines.

Ever since the Tenerife disaster^, which was partly attributed to the pilot overriding the concerns of a co-pilot, commercial aviation has emphasized crew [or cockpit] resource management. The idea is that there are three professionals up there and you need everyone's knowledge, skill, and input in a disaster situation. Sullenberger being a safety expert -- he has actually designed a CRM course -- I don't doubt that he and Skiles were equally responsible for the outcome.

They only had two minutes, not enough time for an argument. The decision to decline Teterboro and choose the Hudson was probably one that he at least checked with Skiles with a nod.

but Jeffrey Skiles, the first officer, pretty much gets no credit

Oh, here in Wisconsin, he's gotten some honors, and the entire crew has been honored e.g. at the Superbowl. He seems to be fine with the way things are.

I think Sully took the water because in that split second he could not take the risk of wiping out even more people on the ground.

Sullenberger has confirmed that the risk of landing in a populated area was a key reason he chose the river.

If he fucked it up that would be a very high risk in NYC.

Well, Teterboro is in Jersey, so who cares?

</NYC>
posted by dhartung at 9:02 PM on March 2, 2009


I suspect Sullenberger always wanted to land in a river and this was just the excuse he needed to indulge himself.

Selfish prig.
posted by mazola at 9:38 PM on March 2, 2009




Sully himself has repeatedly said it was a team effort, and metioned the co-pilot Anne attendants by name. Classy guy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:57 AM on March 3, 2009


Not owning a TV (not really, but effectively true), I don't know much about this story. But damn, that dude's a hero. And I don't use that word lightly. "We'll be in the Hudson."
posted by DU at 5:47 AM on March 3, 2009


They ran the simulator several times for the craft's position, altitude, and flying conditions, and were able to safely make the Teterboro airport runway every time.

Sure. Looking at the distance flown, if AWE15490 had turned to Teteboro within about ten seconds of the loss of power, they could have made it.

The problems:

1) It takes time to understand the situation. First thought would have been "engine out." It would have taken a couple of seconds to realize multiple engine out. All of that happened *before* the first call about the bird strikes

2) the PF is primed to return to departure airport in the case of power loss on climbout. And that's exactly what he decided to do at first "this is uh1 cactus fifteen thirty nine2 hit birds we lost thrust in both engines we're turning back towards Laguardia".

Later, he think about TEB, but at this time, he's out of airspeed, altitude and ideas.

A similar case was AA191 in Chicago, where an engine loss3 led to damage to the leading edge slats on the DC-10 they were flying. Per procedure, they throttled back the remaining engines and tried to turn back. They didn't know that the slats on only one of the wings were working, so they didn't know that they had different stall speeds for each wing. They throttled back to stall +10 kts, per procedure -- and the damaged wing stalled, they flipped over and crashed.

In the simulator, they found out that if the flight crew hadn't followed procedure, and kept their speed up, they could have made it back to ORD.

So it doesn't surprise me that if you know what's going to happen, and what exactly is wrong wit the aircraft, you can get a better outcome. The good news here is that they did find a better outcome. Now, they'll look at procedures. Because of AA191, the procedure now for engine loss/out at T/O is to keep your speed *up* until you can evaluate for other damage.

I would be surprised to see new departure charts, with little notations like this....

EMERGENCY ON TAKEOFF
LGA 4 RETURN LGA
LGA 14 DIVERT JFK
LGA 22 DIVERT EWR
LGA 31 DIVERT TEB

... and a procedure change as part of the takeoff checklist where both pilots acknowledge what they're going to do if there's a problem at climb out.



0) Those wondering why this is AWE1549, not US1549, and why the call sign is "cactus fifteen forty nine", USAir and America West merged to form US Airways. Though the logo is USAir's, the call sign is AW.

1) These guys change call signs on every flight. It's not uncommon for them to have to look it up, which is why there's a spot on the panel for the current callsign to be written on.

2) And they still get it wrong sometimes. Even more amusing is when NY Departures calls LGA to warn them, *he* gets it wrong too "it's fifteen twenty nine he, ah, bird strike....he is returning immediatly.:

3) They found it lying next to the runway.
posted by eriko at 7:06 AM on March 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm enamored with the cool, curt inflection of "Unable". I've adopted it into my lexicon. "Honey, can you do the dishes?" "Unable. We'll be in the den."
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:34 AM on March 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


they didn't know that they had different stall speeds for each wing.

Holy schnikees, it didn't occur to me that this was even possible ... you learn something new every day...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:39 AM on March 3, 2009


Holy schnikees, it didn't occur to me that this was even possible

On a fixed wing, it's not, but airliner wings aren't fixed. They have leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps to change the airfoil. Slats and flaps extended, you get more lift, so your stall speed drops, but more drag, so you're not as efficient.

So, low and slow, you have flaps and slats out, and you don't fly fast, because of the drag. Up high at cruise, they're retracted, you have a very low drag airfoil -- but it stalls at a higher speed.

After AA191 lost the engine, damage to the wing caused the (IIRC) left wing slats to retract. Thus, they had the leading edge of one wing in takeoff/landing configuration, and the leading edge of the other in cruise configuration -- with the lower drag, but higher stall speed.

It killed them. Dropping the engine, really, was annoying, they had more than enough power to take off, circle, and land. But they didn't know that they had a differential stall problem, they slowed down (per the book!) and they fell out of the sky.

This is why the NTSB tries to find *every* contributory cause in a crash. What caused the emergency was AA Maintainence cheating on engine work, damaging the mount. What killed them was a combination of differential stall and the emergency engine-out procedure that they'd been drilled to follow.

That's why they'll look very carefully at this. Currently, everyone says "power issues at climbout, return to departing airport." Maybe that needs to be rethoguht, before the next plane has to use Lake Michigan or the Hudson -- or find that there's no river at all, just trees, or rocks -- or buildings.
posted by eriko at 8:07 PM on March 3, 2009


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