The great escape of all 155 people on the Airbus that was forced down by a suspected bird strike in New York yesterday is a giant relief to everyone, and an incredible achievement by the pilot – Captain Chelsey B Sullenberger – who can now surely hang up his hat and go fishing for the next 20 years.
Has anyone else been a bit sceptical of the pictures on the in-flight safety card depicting a landing on water? The plane is always floating serenely on a perfectly calm sea, while calm passengers evacuate onto colourful life rafts in a calm and orderly fashion.
Even more amazingly, rumour has it that this is the first time a passenger aircraft of this size has landed on water and everyone on board has survived, which makes it even more incredible.
Well, scepticism be gone – what a relief to actually have proof that you can land on water and be back on dry land in time for tea. The Daily Telegraph also reported on a sharp New York Police Department official saying: “You got a bird, a plane and Superman” – ten out of ten for coming up with such a great line on the spur of the moment.
Airbus have built 3,723 A320s so far and currently have 3,683 on their order books as of January 2009. You can find out everything you could possibly wish to know about the company and their aircraft on their excellent website www.airbus.com
Curious facts and quotes
Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. They were 2 of 7 children in the Wright family. Their interest in flight was piqued by their father giving Orville a toy helicopter made of bamboo, cork and elastic based on an early design by Alphonse Penaud, a French aeronautics engineer. He and Wilbur played with it until it fell apart, so they built a new one, and the rest is history. You can read a first hand account of their flight here.
“Luck affects everything. Let your hook always be cast. In the stream where you least expect it, you will find a fish”.