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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-10-094
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 quick-release girts and handholds on all evacuation slides and ramp/slide combinations.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Weehawken, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: 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: 4/17/2013
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: European Aviation Safety Agency (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Evacuation

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: European Aviation Safety Agency
Date: 4/17/2013
Response: The NTSB disagrees with EASA’s decision not to require that ramp/slides be equipped with quick release girts and handholds. The off-wing Type IV ramp/slides were not designed to be used during a water evacuation or required to have quick-release girts or handholds; however, they automatically deployed as designed when the overwing exits were opened after the ditching. Some passengers immediately recognized their usefulness and boarded the ramp/slides to get out of the water. Eventually, about 8 passengers succeeded in boarding the left off-wing slide and about 21 passengers, including the lap-held child, succeeded in boarding the right off-wing ramp/slide. Although passengers attempted to disconnect the off-wing ramp/slides from the airplane, they were unable to do so because the ramp/slides did not have quick-release girts like slides and slide/rafts. We recognize that A320 off-wing slides are not currently part of the extended overwater equipment on the airplane and are not designed to be used by passengers in this manner. However, this accident clearly demonstrates that passengers can and will successfully use the off-wing ramp/slides as a means of flotation in an emergency if they are available. In this case, the lack of quick-release girts prevented passengers from being able to disconnect the slides, and, if the airplane had sunk more quickly, the passengers would have had to abandon the slides and enter the water. Therefore, we believe that adding quick-release girts on all evacuation slides could be one method of preventing passenger immersion after an accident involving water. The analysis used by EASA as the basis for its decision not to take the recommended action disregards our findings from the US Airways flight 1549 accident investigation. Because EASA stated that it disagrees with the intent of this recommendation and considers this recommendation closed, Safety Recommendation A-10-94 is classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: European Aviation Safety Agency
Date: 2/6/2013
Response: CC# 201300094 was closed early and merged with CC# 201300095. See the 4/17/2013 response using CC# 201300095.

From: European Aviation Safety Agency
Date: 1/24/2013
Response: -From John Vincent, Deputy Director for Strategic Safety, Executive Directorate: A review of the installation of ramps/slides on current aeroplanes was performed, in order to determine whether adding quick-release girts and hand holds should be considered. The ramp/slide combinations are installed at over-wing exits on the A320 and A380, Boeing 747, some Boeing 757, and some Boeing 767 aeroplanes. For these aeroplanes, the compartments where the ramp/slide are stowed are completely or partially below the waterline defined in the floatation analysis for the aeroplane. As a result, the ramps/slides are not considered usable after a ditching and in some cases there are crew procedures to disarm the ramp/slides before opening the exit to mitigate the potential hazard of deployment. Since ramps/slides can be considered unusable during ditching, we do not intend to require these units be equipped with quick-release girts and handholds.