Friday , 25 September 2020

US Airways Airbus A320 Hudson crash video and report

A video of the US Airways A320 crash on the Hudson river, New York, from the Coast Guard camera. The plane hits the water around 2 minutes in to the video.

I reproduce the report from Aviation Herald, which I find to be on the best in terms of facts.

A US Airways Airbus A320-200, registration N106US performing flight US-1549 from New York La Guardia, NY to Charlotte, NC with 150 passengers and 5 crew, performed a controlled emergency landing into the Hudson River after losing engine power shortly after takeoff from runway 04 of New York’s La Guardia Airport. The airplane had reached a maximum altitude of about 3000 feet. All people on board got out of the airplane. 78 people received injuries and were treated by paramedics, most of them minor injuries. One man suffered broken legs, a number of people had to be treated for hypothermia. Several ships and ferries helped to collect the people which got out to the wings and slides, which served a life rafts.

A New Jersey Coast Guard video shows the last few seconds of slow down and the evacuation of the airplane, covering the time between 3:29pm and 3:39pm local (20:29Z-20:39Z). The camera catches the airplane 2:02 minutes into the recording at the time time stamp of 3:31:02pm (watch the most left middle section of video).

The FAA reported, that the airplane hit a flock of birds (geese) causing both engines to lose power shortly after takeoff. The airplane took off runway 04 and was airborne for about 3 minutes.

Passengers reported, they had barely time to prepare for the ditching from time of impact with birds to impact with water. The airplane was airborne, when one loud bang was heard, the airplane shook, both engines flamed out and emitted smoke.

In radio transmissions to Air Traffic Control the pilot reported bird strikes to both engines and wanted initially to divert to Teterboro,NJ before turning onto the Hudson River.

The NTSB confirmed the registration of the airplane to be N106US and dispatched a go-team consisting of 20 investigators on site. The French BEA joins the investigation with 4 investigators, EASA with one specialist and Airbus Industries with 6 engineers. On Jan 16th the NTSB reported, that one of the airplane’s engines is missing but they can’t tell yet, which one is missing. (Editor’s note: an images of the airplane just before touchdown – see below – shows both engines attached). The airplane has been secured south of Manhattan, attempts are underway to get the airplane fully recovered out of the water. The FAA later added, it is the left engine missing. Again later the NTSB clarified their previous report, that both engines are missing from the airframe and both apparently detached after hitting the water.

In a press conference on Jan 15th the Mayor of New York cautioned, that they only believe everybody got out of the airplane. The number of 155 souls on board is not yet entirely ensured as well. So far they don’t have reports of any serious injuries. Only a few were actually delivered to the hospitals. The captain walked the airplane twice after landing to ensure, nobody was left on board.

The radar track by New York’s La Guardia Airport has the airplane appear on the radar screen at 20:25:52Z, reaching the highest point at 3400 feet MSL overhead the Bronx Park at 20:27:30Z, entering the left hand turn on 20:27:51Z. A Helicopter (registration N461SA) is at that time tracking north over the Hudson River at 1000 feet MSL. The A320 leaves the turn at 20:28:27Z, reaches the George Washington Bridge at 20:28:53Z at 1300 feet, while the helicopter at that point descends to 800 feet and starts to turn right onto Manhattan, the Airbus also swerves right for a moment. At 20:29:10Z the aircraft are clear of each other. The last radar return of the aircraft is received at 500 feet MSL at 15:29:50Z.

There are large bird sanctuaries underneath the departure path of runway 04 respective approach path runway 22 like Rikers Island, Clason Point Park, Hunts Point Riverside Park or Barretto Point Park.

A marvelous article about the ditching including an extensive statement by Eric Moody, captain of the British Airways Boeing 747-200 flight BA-009 losing all 4 engines while flying into volcanic ashes overhead Indonesia in 1982, has appeared in the regional Scottish newspaper “The Scotsman“.

On Sep 15th 1988 an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-200 registration ET-AJA collided with a flock of pigeons at about 200 feet AGL while taking off from Ethiopia’s airport Bahar Dar. Both engines failed some time later resulting in a belly crash landing. 35 of the 104 occupants lost their lives.

Another very similiar accident happened to Scandinavian Airlines flight 751, a MD-81 registration OY-KHO on December 27th 1991, when during takeoff from Stockholm both engines failed as result of ice coming off the main wings and hitting the engines. All 129 people on board survived, 2 of them with serious injuries and 23 with minor injuries.

At least temporary total power losses (incomplete list):
Dec 28th 1978: United DC68 registration N8082U near Portland,OR (USA), fuel starvation
Jun 24th 1982: British Airways B742 registration G-BDXH over West Java (Indonesia), volcanic ashes
Jul 23rd 1983: Air Canada B762 registration C-GAUN (“Gimli Glider”) near Gimli (Canada), fuel starvation
Mar 31st 1986: United B762 registration N609UA near San Francisco,CA (USA), dual flame out
Jun 30th 1987: Delta B762 registration N103DA near Los Angeles,CA (USA), fuel inadvertently turned off
Sep 15th 1988: Ethiopian B732 registration ET-AJA at Bahar Dar (Ethiopia), multiple bird strikes
Sep 03rd 1989: Varig B732 registration PP-VMK over Brazil, wrong heading
Dec 15th 1989: KLM B744 registration PH-BFC near Anchorage,AK (USA), volcanic ashes
Jan 25th 1990: Avianca B703 at New York,NY (USA), fuel starvation
Dec 27th 1991: Scandinavian MD81 registration OY-KHO at Stockholm (Sweden), ice ingestion
Nov 15th 1993: Indian Airlines A30B registration VT-EDV near Tirupati (India), fuel starvation during diversion
Nov 23rd 1996: Ethiopian B762 registration ET-AIZ at Comoros (Union des Comores), hijack
Jan 13th 2000: Avisto SH36 registration HB-AAM at Marsa Brega (Lybia), ice ingestion
May 21st 2000: East Coast J31 registration N16EJ at Wilkes Barre,PA (USA), fuel starvation
Jul 12th 2000: Hapag Lloyd A313 registration D-AHLB near Vienna (Austria), cruise with extended landing gear
Aug 24th 2001: Transat A332 registration C-GITS (“Atlantic Glider”) near Azores (Portugal), fuel leak
Aug 16th 2005: Tuninter AT72 registration TS-LBB near Sicily (Italy), wrong fuel gauge
Jan 17th 2008: British Airways B772 registration G-YMMM at Heathrow,EN (UK), yet unexplained engine roll down

It is also suspected, that a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 registration EI-DYG lost all power following multiple bird strikes on approach into Rome Ciampino (Italy) on Nov 10th 2008.

Congratulations to the pilot for a great landing on water.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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