I don't know for sure, but the site administrator on the NYCAviation.com web site says that the A320 doesn't have the ability to dump fuel. From the pictures I've seen, there sure wasn't much of an oil slick on the water. All the rescue boats seemed to be operating without much concern.
I will find this out for certain when I get the chance to talk with my son, who is an airline pilot. He's on an international flight right now. According to that same site the aircraft may not have had much fuel on-board due to it's short flight destination. I do know, from my son, that all the airlines are skimping on fuel due to cost when they buy at destinations they don't have hubs, and the fact that it costs money(fuel)to carry more than they need.
That plane went down and no-one died. That is the most unbelievable fact of the whole incident. What a great deal to have a pilot with all those years of experience at the controls. His quick actions saved all those lives and his crew. What a miracle of application of knowledge and journeymanship handleing of that plane going down. I hope that pilot is commended and celebrated for his actions of saving those lives. Dan
I know nothing about plans but if both engines are out how can the pilot control the plane? How does he operate the controls? Is there another source of poower for the controls? I know stupid question, but just wondering.
Normally, there are redundant electrical (battery) and RAM air systems to run the hydraulics that keep the controls functioning. Many of the newer airplanes have computer(s) fly-by-wire systems that work the controls strictly by electrical servos.
I heard he was a cropduster early on. You learn to take what is pretty much straight in front of you, hold it off tail low untill it stops flying. Do not try to stretch anything. If you stop flying with any altitude, one wing falls first, then you cartwheel. Allin a days work for someone with his time.
A commercial pilot told me that plane has an "Auto Ditch" switch that automatically closes necessary compartments for water ditching. The windows are designed to hold pressure from the inside, not outside, and thats why some of the windows started leaking in the rear of the plane. He also said that they were lucky the water was smooth that day. Big waves would have caused a frontal or wing flip. Also, the engines are designed to snap off on impact, but I don't recall seeing them attached to the wing. Still amazing.
Hope Sulley will be cool after all the attention abates. One imagine it is hard to do something "heroic", and even harder to be labeled a "hero"..hope the man gets back into his comfort zone and routine in his life. (Remember they guy who pulled the baby out of the well and other "heros"...a double edged sword..)
Optimistically, he is a pilot with lots of wisdom.
"the engines are designed to snap off on impact, but I don't recall seeing them attached to the wing."
Dove it would seem from this news story(the video)shows at least one engine still on the aircraft on the salvage dock. So in this case maybe they got lucky enough to study the damage to the engines from bird strike if that is what it was.
Hydraulic flight controls keep working after the engines flame out because they windmill which keeps the hydraulic pumps working, although with less than normal system pressure.
Having glider experience is irrelevent. All airplanes are gliders when the engines quit and all pilots are trained for that eventuality.
I'm sure Sully would be the first to say that he's no hero, just a very lucky fellow. All professional pilots are well trained to deal with forced landings, including ditchings and have practiced them countless times in the simulator. In this case, ditching was the only alternative- it doesn't take a genius to know that taking a header into a building wouldn't be a good plan. It's no harder to land on water than it is to land on dry land.
As far as the ditching goes, it's not a difficult thing to do, but the record for ditchings in large airplanes isn't good because they usually break up and sink like a stone. All previous ditchings of big iron have happened in the ocean and the waves usually screw things up. Another problem with ditching over large bodies of water is that it's difficult to judge distance from the surface of the water. Ditching in a large river with no waves was the best circumstance possible.
No, he didn't dump fuel even if the Airbus has a fuel dumping system. There wasn't near enough time to do that and you must cease dumping well prior to impact- for obvious reasons. For a relatively short flight from NY to Charlotte, there wouldn't be a lot of fuel on board anyway, mostly air in the tanks.
The nuts in the lunatic news media love to display their ignorance. If they can turn Obama into a hero, why not this pilot? The fact is that Sully did things by the book, just as any other profesional pilot would have done, and had a good outcome- helped by a generous portion of luck.
Thanks Delbert for some education about this. I remember, as a child, about a big Pan Am Clipper ditching in the ocean...South Pacific, as I recall..gosh I'm showing my age. But, if you are old like I, and can remember that scenario, the pilot remembered to put the tail in the water first to absorb the impact. The "book" on that plane said that was the thing to do. The plane was low on fuel and that's what the pilot had to do. It was a positive outcome as I recall; all survived and were rescued. That left me with respect for the good pilot's skill and job..lots of boredom, sudden terror..
Sort of like a screaming and sudden right off 5 from a target that may have been slightly miss set.
From a Check Pilot buddy of mine.
Subject: The Airbus Ditching Button
There's been much discussion about US Airways Flight 1549 and the extraordinary circumstances that befell the Airbus A320-200 (N106US) and her compliment of 150 passengers and 5 crew. At least preliminarily, it appears a double bird strike disabled each of theCFM56-5B4/P engine forcing Captain C.B. Sullenberger III and his First Officer to ditch the jetliner in the Hudson River.
As the aircraft was making its 'final approach' to the Hudson, the crew was preparing the aircraft and its passengers for the water landing, including, some speculate, by activating the ditching system on the A320. The button, cleverly labeled 'ditching', is located on the 'Cabin Press' section of the overhead panel shown above.
So what does that infrequently used button actually do?
When pressed, it commands the aircraft operating system to close the outflow valve, emergency ram air inlet, avionics inlet, extract valve and flow control valve. In addition, it will immediately shutdown the cabin fans. The button itself has a guard over it to prevent accidental activation. The system is available on all A320 family, A340/A330 and A380 aircraft.
According to the A320 quick reference guide, the ditching procedure calls for Flaps 3 and a minimum approach speed of 150 kts. The system should be activated at 2000 feet AGL and Airbus recommends 11 degrees of pitch at the time of touchdown.
The ultimate purpose of the system is to seal the aircraft to prevent water from undermining the buoyancy of the aircraft to keep it afloat in the event that the airframe remains intact after impacting the water. Federal Aviation RegulationPart 25, Section 801describes the safety requirements in the event of a ditching:
(d) It must be shown that, under reasonably probable water conditions, the flotation time and trim of the airplane will allow the occupants to leave the airplane and enter the liferafts required by25.1415. If compliance with this provision is shown by buoyancy and trim computations, appropriate allowances must be made for probable structural damage and leakage. If the airplane has fuel tanks (with fuel jettisoning provisions) that can reasonably be expected to withstand a ditching without leakage, the jettisonable volume of fuel may be considered as buoyancy volume.
It's not hard to imagine that this live test of the 'Ditching' system was a resounding success.