Date registered: Jan 2009
Vehicle: 2002 CLK320; 2006 CLK350 Cabriolet; 2011 E350 Cab; 2014 E550 Cab
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After flying as a military fighter pilot for almost 25 years, during the last 10 of which I was also an airline pilot, flying the Airbus A-300-600 as well as the McDonald MD-11, I can tell you, with absolutely no reservation, that the crew of that USAirways A-320 did one hell of a job. In fact they might have singlehandedly saved all their passengers and flight attendants, as well as the airline itself. What they did, the crew that is, was just flat amazing. I've had bird strikes on both military jets as well as commercial jets and can tell you it always scares the shit out of you. Especially if they impact the windshield or radome. But these guys took a whole flock of Canadian Geese, which can weigh up to 15 pounds each. I'm not a physics major, but I can tell you if you got hit by a 15 pound weight, while traveling at close to 200 MPH, well, it would not be pretty. Jet engines are most susceptible to birdstrike issues during takeoffs, due in part to the low airspeed and high engine rpm.
This crew did amazing work. A normal ditching checklist is very long, complicated, and worst of all, is very rarely practiced in the simulator. So although pilots have the checklist, very few of us have ever flown an approach to a water landing. That plus the fact that a ditching checklist might take 20 to 30 minutes to run correctly, makes their accomplishment, fantastic.
As for the Airbus itself, it too did a good job. The French plane is well made, functional, and very inexpensive to operate, as well as being a very easy plane to fly, and because of their computer-system-to-pilot interface, a very simple plane to troubleshoot while airborne. However, losing both engines, due to (what could be) dual catastrophic engine failure, with no possibility of a restart, at such a low altitude (reportedly around 3200 feet above the ground), in one of the most densely populated areas in these United States, made the outcome even that much more incredible. Those two pilots are truly heroes.
Anyway, that's my take.