The following is an update on the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation of US Airways flight 1549, which ditched into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009.
The left (#1) engine, which was recovered from the Hudson River on January 23 and subsequently shipped to the manufacturer in Cincinnati where the NTSB is directing a teardown, was found to contain bird remains. The organic material found in the right (#2) engine has also been confirmed to be bird remains. The material from both engines has been sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington where the particular bird species will be identified.
As part of its investigation into this accident, the NTSB investigated an engine surge event that occurred in the right (#2) engine during a flight on January 13, two days prior to the accident. The engine recovered from the surge and the remainder of the flight was completed uneventfully. The NTSB determined that the surge was due to a faulty temperature sensor, which was replaced by maintenance personal following approved procedures. After the engine was examined with a boroscope and found to be undamaged and in good working order, the aircraft was returned to service.
On December 31, 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) covering all CFM56-5B series turbofan engines, the same type that was on the accident aircraft. After examining the engine maintenance records and interviewing relevant personnel, the NTSB determined that all of the requirements of the AD were complied with prior to the accident flight.
During the accident flight, the flight data recorder revealed no anomalies or malfunctions in either engine up to the point where the captain reported a bird strike, after which there was an uncommanded loss of thrust in both engines.
Last week the aircraft was moved from the barge where it had been docked in Jersey City, NJ, to a secure salvage yard in Kearny, NJ, where it will remain throughout the NTSB investigation, which is expected to last 12-18 months.
Photo: A feather found in the left (#1) engine. Click here for a larger version of this image (900 x 1200 pixels)