Recreating the pilot's view of US Airways Flight 1549
News 12?s Pat Dolan took to the air in Chopper 12 Friday to retrace US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Chesley Sullenberger?s frightening flight path.
US Air Flight 1549 departed LaGuardia Airport from Runway 4 at 3:26 p.m. Thursday. Two minutes later, the plane was over the Bronx Zoo at 3,000 feet, flying more than 200 knots when it hit a flock of birds.
Then both engines died, forcing Sullenberger to make some quick decisions.
?With both engines out, the Airbus 320 is essentially a 4,000-ton glider, descending at a rate equivalent to nearly 100 stories every 60 seconds,? Dolan says. ?Sullenberger realizes that one way or another, his aircraft and the 155 souls aboard will be on the surface in three minutes.?
The tower at LaGuardia directed the crew back to the airport, but Sullenberger considered his options. Teterboro Airport was only seven miles away, but he decided that?s too far. He made a hard left turn, deciding to land in the Hudson River below.
The plane then descended rapidly as it crossed over the northern tip of Manhattan. It glided past the George Washington Bridge at about 1,200 feet. Passengers on the left could see Riverside Park and the Upper West Side. On the right were condos and offices on the Jersey Shore.
The water got closer as the aircraft descended to just 400 feet near East New York. By the time it reached just south of the Lincoln Tunnel at 300 feet, Sullenberger pulled the nose up, floating the airplane off the surface of the water as long as possible to lose more speed. Seconds later, Flight 1549 bellied into the Hudson.