Miracle on the Hudson
The Sully plane which made an emergency water landing with all 150 passengers and five crew surviving, now attracts visitors to the Carolinas Aviation Museum.
THE 2016 movie Sully didn’t get much Oscar love; the Tom Hanks film was only nominated for one Academy Award – for sound editing (it didn’t win).
But the biopic got a lot of people flocking to the Carolinas Aviation Museum, home of the actual plane that Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed safely in the Hudson River. Visitor numbers more than doubled after Sully hit the big screen in September last year, museum spokesperson Jan Black said.
The storied plane is the centrepiece of the aviation museum near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where the Airbus A320 was scheduled to land on that fateful day, eight years ago.
US Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from New York when it struck a flock of geese, disabling its engines. Sully made an emergency water landing, and every one of the 150 passengers and five crew members survived the “Miracle on the Hudson”.
The recovered aircraft was moved in 2011 to the museum – an appropriate resting place given that at least half of the people onboard were from Charlotte, a major hub for US Airways, which completed its merger with American Airlines in 2015.
The museum’s hangar collection is dominated by the “Miracle on the Hudson” jet. To accommodate the height of the Airbus tail, the hulk sits low – maybe 1.22m above the pavement – on a custom-made mount. Monitors facing the 62,500kg airliner show 2009 newscasts, interviews with passengers and the recovery of the Airbus from the Hudson.
But your attention keeps returning to the “un-restored” Airbus: the bottom that detached when making initial contact with the Hudson; the dings, dents and other mayhem visited on the lower fuselage; the left engine separated from the jet and recovered later. You can still spot dried “snarge” the guts of geese that crippled both engines.
The museum’s storyboards, displays and well-informed docents help flesh out the story beyond the pilot-oriented film. For example, Flight 1549 was popular with corporate commuters returning to their jobs at Charlotte’s big retailers and banks.
The execs’ team-building skills proved an asset when the downed jet had to be evac- uated.
Adult admission to the museum is US$12 (RM52). More info at www.carolinasaviation.org. – Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service
The roped-off Airbus A320 sits low to the ground in the museum’s hangar. Museum attendance more than doubled after screen. — Photos: JOHN BORSDEN/TNS reached the big