24 January 2009

Interview on WGN Radio after the US Airways Ditching (audio - MP3)

On 15 January 2009, a US Airways A320 encountered a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. Both engines lost power, apparently as the result of experiencing multiple bird strikes, and the crew was able to successfully ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River. All five crew members and 150 passengers survived the accident. The following day, Dr. Todd Curtis was a guest of Dean Richards on Chicago's WGN radio. They discussed the US Airways event, how the public's fear of flying is affected by extensive media coverage of airline accidents, and what kind of measures could be taken to deal with the threat of bird strikes.

Listen to the interview

For more information on the accident, including videos and background information on bird strike hazards and airliner ditchings, visit:

16 January 2009

Ditching of a US Airways A320 on the Hudson River in New York

Crash of US Airways Flight 1549

Audio: MP3 | Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

On 15 January 2009, a US Airways A320 experienced a loss of power to both engines shortly after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The crew was able to successfully ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River near midtown Manhattan. Reportedly, the aircraft encountered a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. The aircraft reached an maximum altitude of about 3200 feet before it began to descend. After ditching, all five crew members and 150 passengers evacuated the aircraft. One passenger sustained serious injuries.

According to early reports, the aircraft took off normally toward the north, but the flight crew reported striking a flock of birds about two minutes after takeoff. Both engines lost power, and unable to either return to LaGuardia or to land in nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, the crew turned the aircraft toward the south. After flying over the George Washington Bridge, the crew executed a controlled ditching on the Hudson River just west of midtown Manhattan. The passengers and crew escaped with the help of numerous ferries, tour boats, fireboats, and other vessels in the area.

This was the first crash of an Airbus A320 operated by a US airline. The A320 has had eight events involving passenger fatalities. The first was a 1988 crash involving Air France, and the most recent was a May 2008 crash of a TACA airliner in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

While many jet airliners have crashed in the water, prior research by AirSafe.com revealed only three previous events where the crew of a large passenger jet intentionally ditched the aircraft in a controlled manner. Prior to the US Airways event, the most recent ditching involved a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines 767 in 1996. The others included a 1963 ditching of an Aeroflot jet in Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg), and a 1970 ditching of a DC-9 in the Caribbean.

Fatal and serious bird strike related crashes of large jet aircraft are also quite rare. The last fatal US bird strike accident involving a large jet was the crash of a US Air Force E-3 AWACS in Alaska in 1995. The last time bird strikes led to passenger deaths in the US was in 1960 in Boston. Since 1990, five other large jet airliners have crashed due to bird strikes, but only one involved fatalities.

The NTSB is currently investigating this US Airways accident. For updates on this investigation, and for the latest news from AirSafe.com, visit hudson.airsafe.org.

For related information, visit:
Previous US Airways Crashes
Other Significant A320 Events
Bird Strike Hazards to Aircraft
Jet Airliner Ditching Events

08 January 2009

New Video for Year in Review 2008 Released

The new video for the podcast "AirSafe.com's Airline Safety Review for 2008" is now available. You can see the video or listen to the audio version, below, or you can find it at one of the podcast links.

Audio: MP3 | Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For details on the events of 2008, visit http://2008.AirSafe.org

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

06 January 2009

Video Trailers for The Conversation at AirSafe.com

On occasion, I tear myself away from the computer and actually read a magazine or two for news about what's happening online. I came across an article about Animoto.com, which allows users to upload photos or graphics from their computer, or from an online photo management site like Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, or Photobucket, and have the Animoto turn it into a dynamic trailer. You can even add music to it (theirs or yours) and create a music video type trailer in minutes. Like many online services, there is a free version and a paid version. With the free version (my kind of price), you can upload the result to YouTube, Facebook, or other social networking sites.

How good is it? Just for fun, I decided to make a trailer for an upcoming podcast reviewing significant aviation safety events of 2008. I uploaded a bunch of pictures, hit the button, and waited for Animoto software to do its thing. You can see the fruits of Animoto's (automated) labor below (or at AirSafe.com's Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/airsafe).

Trailer for 2008 Year in Review

By the way, the music in this trailer is from the song "Time and Place" from the Canadian group In-Flight Safety. Yes, that is the name of the group. How could I possibly pass up the chance to use their music?

Future video podcasts will likely feature these kinds of trailers at the beginning of the show. Feel free to send feedback about this kind of addition.