Got a chance to hunt around Charlotte, North Carolina with a pilot buddy. Since he is involved with the Aviation Museum we got to poke around the refurbish area where stuff gets delivered and then restored to museum condition. Lots of aviation stuff in there. Much of which would look good in my front yard if I only couldchong qi gong men.
The Airbus from the “Miracle on the Hudson” ditching is on display. Pretty cool getting to see it. It is impressive how much the aircraft stayed together after the ditching. I think if the nervous fliers out there really understood the built in levels of safety that result from aircraft design and pilot training they would not be so afraid to fly. Dealing with the TSA is a whole ‘nuther matter though. Those people are seriously messed up.
Here is a shot of the nose where the impact from the Canadian Geese can be clearly seen. After exhausting everything they could think of, the crew finally ran out of options and just had to deadstick it into the river. At one point during the taped conversation from the cockpit voice recorder, Cpt Sully asks FO Jeffrey Skiles if he had any ideas. He responded “actually no.” Even in crowded urban environments there is usually someplace a pilot can put a plane down, even a large airliner. What do you think the chances are that an airliner loses both engines and the Captain who has to ditch it happens to be a glider pilot? Actually, probably fairly good considering that most pilots have flown anything they can get their hands on as they progressed through the ranks. Still, there has to be some interesting odds that it would happen to a pilot who is a glider enthusiast. Maybe that’s just the “miracle” part of the whole deal.
While at the museum we had the great fortune to meet retired Lt Col Ralph Easterling, USAF.
His flying story is fascinating. Living in Hendersonville, NC at age 15, he took his first flight in a Ford Trimotor. At 18, he enlisted in the Air Force and next thing you know he is in combat after getting about 275 hours of flight time! That stuff just doesn’t happen anymore. To be honest, there probably won’t even be any fighter pilots in the not too distant future since they will all be flying drones from a trailer in Las Vegas. Anyway, LtCol Easterling flew the P39 Lightning, P40 Tigershark, and P51 Mustang. He flew 120 missions if I recall correctly. Nice guy and some great stories!
So, if you have time in Charlotte drop by the museum and take a tour. It’s always interesting to look at airplanes. Next stop, the National Air & Space Museum!