Being a bit of an aviation buff, I was amazed at the successful water landing this week of US Air's flight 1549, an Airbus A320, bound from Laguardia to Charlotte.
My first thought was that there had never been a successful water landing of a commercial airliner before, which was wrong, as this Wikipedia entry proves. Actually, I am surprised, and pleased, that there have been so many successful water landings.
Of course, that should not take away from the amazing airmanship of US Air's pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, an Air Force Academy grad, and former F-4 pilot, and, apparently, quite the accomplished pilot and safety expert. The passengers and crew of US Air 1549 could hardly have been in better hands. As the NTSB investigates, everyone fully expects they will determine a double bird strike took out both engines. Like water landings, you might be surprised how many bird strikes there are.
I don't believe this was a "miracle" as some people want to call it. Nearly all airline disasters require a sequence of unfortunate events to cause them. In this case, that sequence of unfortunate events was followed by a series of fortunate events - the skill of the pilot, the professionalism of the crew, the design and flying characteristics of the aircraft, the proximity to the glassy Hudson, the landing site itself close to ferrys and watercraft, the calmness of the passengers.
One other thing this story proves, once again, is that the press is filled with idiots. I listened to some of the NTSB's initial press conference today, and I swear, the people covering this should really spend 5 minutes educating themselves about aviation.