Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-10-091
Details
Synopsis: 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.
Recommendation: TO THE EUROPEAN AVIATION SAFETY AGENCY: Require applicants for aircraft certification to demonstrate that their ditching parameters can be attained without engine power by pilots without the use of exceptional skill or strength.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: Weehawken, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA09MA026
Accident Reports: Loss of Thrust in Both Engines, US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus Industrie A320-214, N106US
Report #: AAR-10-03
Accident Date: 1/15/2009
Issue Date: 5/21/2010
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: European Aviation Safety Agency (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Water Survival

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: European Aviation Safety Agency
Date: 5/12/2016
Response: We note that, to address this recommendation, rulemaking task RMT.0453 “Ditching Parameters Without Engine Power” was added to your Rulemaking Programme inventory list several years ago, and that you plan to begin acting on this item at the end of 2016. On January 27, 2016, we informed you that we generally expect recipients to complete actions to satisfy our recommendations within 3 to 5 years after we issue them, and we did not regard the long delay between placement of this item on your rulemaking inventory list and initiation of action to be acceptable. We continued to believe that the recommended action was needed, and urged you to complete it without delay. Pending your doing so, Safety Recommendation A-10-91 was classified “Open—Unacceptable Response.” We issued this recommendation to you because EASA acts as the state of design for Airbus under Convention on International Civil Aviation, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, Annex 13, Chapter 6. This recommendation is also relevant for transport category airplanes certificated in the United States. Accordingly, we issued Safety Recommendation A 10 72 to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), recommending the same action. Earlier this year, the FAA informed us that, in response to Safety Recommendation A 10 72, it had issued for public comment a draft of Advisory Circular (AC) 25-7C, “Flight Test Guide for Transport Category Airplanes,” and had proposed a change to include procedures for demonstration of ditching parameters with all engines inoperative. The FAA received comments from industry that this change represented a shift in the intent of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations section 25.801, “Ditching,” that might be cost prohibitive; therefore, when the FAA issued AC 25-7C on October 16, 2012, it did not contain that requirement. However, the FAA initiated research in collaboration with Transport Canada and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority that reviewed water-related accidents of transport category airplanes to support the proposed change. The results of this study were published in May 2015 in an FAA report titled Review and Assessment of Transport Category Airplane Ditching Standards and Requirements, DOT/FAA/TC-14/8, which recommended that “consideration be given to amending the regulatory/advisory/guidance material for the certification of new aeroplanes, to require consideration of Ditching with no engine power.” The FAA then tasked its Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) with reviewing the results of this study and other FAA ditching-related research, to evaluate whether rulemaking or further guidance beyond that contained in AC 25-7C was needed. On March 11, 2016, because of completed research that supports our recommendation and referral of the issue to the ARAC, we classified Safety Recommendation A 10 72 “Open?Acceptable Response.” Ms. Daeschler’s March 17, 2016, letter indicates that EASA is represented in this ARAC group, and that RMT.0453 will consider the results of the ARAC’s review. Accordingly, pending timely completion of the ARAC’s work and appropriate revisions being made to EASA airworthiness standards that satisfy Safety Recommendation A 10 91, the recommendation is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: European Aviation Safety Agency
To: NTSB
Date: 3/15/2016
Response: -From Rachel Daeschler, Deputy Strategy and Safety Management Director and Head of Safety Intelligence and Performance Department: Certification Specification (CS) 25.801 (c) requires that "The probable behaviour of the aeroplane in a water landing must be investigated by model tests or by comparison with aeroplanes of similar configuration for which the ditching characteristics are known". The requirement does not specify whether this should be investigated in an engine power on or power off condition. Therefore the Agency has planned rulemaking task RMT.0453 in the Rulemaking Programme 2016-2020 to investigate how this safety recommendation could be addressed in the CS-25 certification specifications. RMT.0453 will also consider the outcome from the ARAC Crashworthiness and Ditching Working Group which has been tasked to provide recommendations regarding the incorporation of airframe-level crashworthiness and ditching standards, which includes the topic subject to this safety recommendation (refer to FAA task notice in Federal Register I Vol. 80, No. 107 I Thursday, June 4, 2015). EASA is represented in this ARAC group, and the schedule of RMT.0453 will be adjusted taking into account the ARAC progress.

From: NTSB
To: European Aviation Safety Agency
Date: 1/27/2016
Response: In the only letter we have received from EASA about this recommendation, dated January 6, 2012, your agency indicated that, to address the recommendation, rulemaking task RMT.0453 “Ditching parameters without engine power” had been added to your Rulemaking Programme inventory list. Because we have received no further information regarding action you have taken to satisfy the recommendation in the intervening 4 years, we recently contacted your staff for an update. We were disappointed to learn that no additional review is planned until the end of 2016. We generally expect that safety improvements we recommend will be completed within 3 to 5 years after a recommendation is issued, and we do not regard a planned 5-year delay with minimal action acceptable. We continue to believe that the recommended action is needed, and urge you to complete it without delay. Pending your doing so, Safety Recommendation A-10-91 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: European Aviation Safety Agency
Date: 5/1/2012
Response: We agree with EASA that the ditching parameters of in-service aircraft may be difficult to attain in a “power off” condition, and we are aware that such a demonstration was not required at the time the aircraft was certified. However, this recommendation was intended only for newly certificated aircraft designs. We issued Safety Recommendation A-10-90 to EASA to address the same issue for airplanes currently in service. That recommendation was classified “Closed—Unacceptable Action” on December 21, 2011, after EASA indicated that it disagreed with Safety Recommendation A-10-90 and did not plan to act as recommended. Because EASA has initiated a review of how Safety Recommendation A-10-91 can be best addressed, the recommendation is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE pending completion of the recommended action.

From: European Aviation Safety Agency
To: NTSB
Date: 1/6/2012
Response: -From John Vincent, Deputy Director for Strategic Safety, Executive Directorate: Subject: Safety recommendations related to the event to Airbus A320-214, registered N106US, on 15/01/2009, at the Hudson River about 8,5 miles from La Guardia Airport, New York, USA Following the Safety Recommendations mentioned above addressed to the European Aviation Safety Agency, please find thereafter the Agency's response. Certification Specification (CS) 25.801 (c) requires that "The probable behaviour of the aeroplane in a water landing must be investigated by model tests or by comparison with aeroplanes of similar configuration for which the ditching characteristics are known". The requirement does not specify whether this should be investigated in an engine power on or power off condition. EASA understands the "ditching parameters" are those parameters assumed at the point of irTipact for demonstration of compliance with CS 25.801 (c) (such as: descent rate, pitch attitude, forward velocity, etc.), and which are also used as inputs to define the ditching emergency procedure. EASA believes that the ditching parameters of in-service aircraft might be potentially difficult to attain in a power off condition, in addition such a demonstration was not required explicitly by the certification requirements nor routinely investigated by applicants. For new certification projects, EASA requires a demonstration that the ditching parameters can be attained by pilots without the use of exceptional skill, but not explicitly accounting for a power off condition. It is considered that the introduction of the power off condition is a significant change in the means of compliance to the rule, with a potential impact on dimensioning load cases for the aircraft structure. However, EASA accepts to review how this Safety Recommendation could be best addressed and the rulemaking task RMT.0453 'Ditching parameters without engine power' is added to the Rulemaking Programme inventory list.