Monday, January 19, 2009

On the Miracle on the Hudson.

I have been going ga ga over that place accident in New York the other day. I have to say that it just seems like God was watching over those people. Unfortunately, He could not stay the birds from hitting the Aircraft. Otherwise, from the start everything was in place that turned a potential disaster into a triumph over adversity. They were in a major metropolitan area which allowed them to be close to rescue services. It could have been a disaster if the plane had crashed into the buildings. The pilot was literally the perfect person for the job that was to befall him. He was the chief safety officer for the Airline Pilots Association. He wrote manuals on how crews work under pressure and how to interact in disaster. He had hand picked his crew and they all knew their jobs and had worked as a team. That team saved all those lives in New York that day. All were professionals and did the jobs they were trained for. The flight attendants functioned as the safety officers they are. The pilots flew the plane for one of the most successful ditching of a commercial airliner. A similar attempt by an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft ended in disaster. The ferrys, tug and tourist boats responded immediately and mitigated any loss of life there. New York was ready and all the emergency services responded with their expertise and when all was all was said and done there was no disaster. All walked away with their lives intact, able to be with their loved ones. God graced them with life and I hope they don't squander that.

I just spent the morning looking at all the YouTube fare about it. The BBC did a simulation:
Someone else did a simulation on their Microsoft Flight Simulator and showed how it would look like from the cockpit. Pretty scary. I would be praying. The news media here had the Parks Air University which is part of St. Louis University do a simulation on their unit and it was pretty impressive too. So we have a pretty good idea what happened and now people realize that birds can do bad things to an airplane. I remember listening to the scanner at work when I was in Louisville one night and they had a UPS plane get hit by a bird coming into land. Fortunately, he lost only one engine and was able to land safely.

Its common enough that planes are designed to resist a strike, but the problem with what happened in NYC was that the birds were a) large, and b) a flock that got into both engines. Canada Geese are very large birds and the design parameters only have a bird the size of a large chicken, not a Butterball Turkey sized bird. There's an old joke that when Americans started testing their bird strike mechanisms, where they fire a chicken carcass out of an air cannon at whatever part of the plane they are testing, they were getting damage all the time. Their British colleges, whom they had gotten the machine from, patiently told them they had to THAW the bird out before use. After doing that, of course they got accurate measurements... :-)

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.