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09 February 2009

The "Miracle on the Hudson" and

Last month's ditching of a US Airways A320 was quite dramatic, and the survival of all on board, due in part to a very quick and very effective rescue operation, has been called the "Miracle on the Hudson" by the public and the media. Two elements of the accident, the ditching and the suspected role of birds in the accident, were of particular interest to Dr. Todd Curtis,'s founder, has had a long relationship with bird and wildlife hazard professionals in the US, Canada, and Europe, and had designed and launched the web site of Bird Strike Committee USA.

After the crash, a number of bird hazard items were added to, including updates of two previous research projects of Dr. Curtis. You can find links to those projects, as well as other links to Bird Strike Committee USA and other bird hazard related information, at

The crash involved a suspected bird strike, a common occurrence that rarely leads to a crash. The ditching aspect of this accident was even more rare, with this event being only the fourth time that a passenger jet airliner has been involved in a ditching. The attention the site attracted, especially an article published in the USA Today newspaper the day after the accident, led to clarify its definition of ditching, a definition that is much more specific than those provided by the NTSB, FAA, and other major aviation safety organizations (See

You can find many more details about the event, and about issues related to the US Airways ditching, at Among the resources at that location are: podcasts about the US Airways accident

Previous US Airways crashes

Other significant A320 events

An overview of bird strike hazards to aircraft

Jet airliner ditching events

Selected bird strike videos

Comparison of the US Airways event with seven other bird strike accidents

Bird strike study from the Foundation

1 comment:

  1. This might seem like a miracle to some but it's really not. Sully is a fighter pilot and when things like bird strikes and double flame outs occur, the check list in his head gives him the necessary actions to safely get the plane down. It's the way a fighter pilots brain works. He had the altitude, airspeed, and expertise to do it. He did what was expected of him, he simply did his job, and did it well. All concerned should be thankful that he was at the controls on that flight, that day. Don't embarrass him by calling him a hero, he did his job, no more, no less.

    I salute him,