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On January 15, 2009, about 1527 eastern standard time,1 US Airways flight 1549, an Airbus Industrie A320-214, N106US, experienced an almost total loss of thrust in both engines after encountering a flock of birds and was subsequently ditched on the Hudson River about 8.5 miles from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), New York City, New York. The flight was en route to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Charlotte, North Carolina, and had departed LGA about 2 minutes before the in-flight event occurred. The 150 passengers, including a lap-held child, and 5 crewmembers evacuated the airplane via the forward and overwing exits. One flight attendant and four passengers received serious injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The scheduled, domestic passenger flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Work with the aviation industry to determine whether recommended practices and procedures need to be developed for pilots regarding forced landings without power both on water and land.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Unacceptable Action
Weehawken, NJ, United States
Loss of Thrust in Both Engines, US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus Industrie A320-214, N106US
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Training and Education
Safety Recommendation History
We are disappointed that the FAA does not believe that the identified risk requires additional review of the information, practices, and procedures provided to pilots of Parts 121, 135, and 91K operators on forced landings without power, both on water and on land; we continue to believe that pilots could benefit from this additional information. Because the FAA believes that it has fully responded to this recommendation and plans no further action, Safety Recommendation A-10-71 is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.
-From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: As stated in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) initial response dated September 23, 2010, pilots are taught decision making skills and associated procedures for a forced landing. This is one of the first things taught to a pilot during initial training. Specifically, a pilot is taught how to determine when a forced landing may be required and how to accomplish a forced landing if necessary. These skills and procedures are included and continuously developed throughout flight training. The extent and complexity of this training is based upon the probability of losing all power in an aircraft and being forced to immediately land the airplane, whether on land or in the water. We also stated in our initial response that we would review the information, practices, and procedures provided to pilots of parts 121, 135, and 91 subpart K (91 K) operators on forced landings without power, both on water and land. However, before looking at this information and working with the aviation industry, we reviewed the available accident data to determine the prevalence of forced landings due to loss of engine power for these types of operators. Specifically, we conducted a search of the Board's Aviation Accident Database from January 2000 through February 2012, for parts 121, 135, and 91K operators. Based on this review, we found that US Airways flight 1549 was the only aircraft that was forced to land due to a loss of engine power, not as a result of fuel starvation. Because the FAA could not identify any accidents similar to US Airways flight 1549, we do not believe the identified risk requires additional review of the information, practices, and procedures provided to pilots of parts 121, 135, and 91 K operators on forced landings without power, both on water and land. Additionally, because of this data, we do not plan on working with industry to determine whether recommended practices and procedures need to be developed for pilots regarding forced landings without power on both water and land, as the recommendation suggests. Based on our review of the available accident data, this issue does not warrant any further action or training. Therefore, we consider our actions complete and plan no further action on this recommendation.
Our last update from the FAA regarding these recommendations was its September 23, 2010, letter. We are concerned that, although more than 2 years have passed since then, we have received no additional information regarding the agency’s efforts to address Safety Recommendations A-10-71, -76, or -82. Pending our timely receipt of such an update and completion of the recommended actions, they remain classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
The FAA's plan to review information currently available to pilots and the practices and procedures regarding forced landings without power, both on water and land, is the first step in responding to this recommendation. Accordingly, pending the FAA's completing the action recommended, Safety RecommendationA-10-71 is classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
CC# 201000368: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: A pilot, when learning to fly, is taught and tested on procedures and decision-making skills for a forced landing. This is a skill that is continuously developed throughout flight training. The practices and procedures taught, however, are not necessarily a one-size-fits-all action and vary with the type of aircraft and/or operation. The information provided to pilots may not be all-inclusive of practices and procedures regarding forced landings without power both on water and land. To address this recommendation, we will review information currently available to pilots as well as what practices and procedures are being provided to pilots of part 121, 135, and 91 subpart K operators on forced landings without power, both on water and land. Based on our findings, we will determine what additional action, if any, is necessary.
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