Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hudson pilot: 'Got any ideas?'

"Actually not," replied the first officer. That exchange was in newly released black box recordings of cockpit conversation aboard US Airways Flight 1549. The airplane lost its engines after colliding with geese and ditched in the Hudson River.

Everyone aboard survived the Jan. 15 incident.

The NTSB this week released a transcript from the cockpit voice recorder from the dramatic last moments of the flight from New York City to Charlotte.

Here is an edited version:

The number '1' indicates Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger is speaking.
The number '2' indicates First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, the co-pilot, is speaking.
HOT-1 uh what a view of the Hudson today.
HOT-2 yeah.
HOT-2 flaps up please, after takeoff checklist.
HOT-1 flaps up.
HOT-1 after takeoff checklist complete.
HOT-1 birds.
HOT-2 whoa.
[sound of thump/thud(s) followed by shuddering sound]
HOT-2 oh #.
HOT-1 oh yeah.
[sound similar to decrease in engine noise/frequency begins]
HOT-2 uh oh.
HOT-1 we got one rol- both of 'em rolling back.
[rumbling sound begins and continues until approximately 15:28:08]
HOT-1 ignition, start.
HOT-1 I'm starting the APU.
[sound of single chime]
HOT-1 my aircraft.
HOT-2 your aircraft.
[sound of single chime]
[sound similar to electrical noise from engine igniters begins]
[sound similar to electrical noise from engine igniters ends]
HOT-1 get the QRH... [Quick Reference Handbook]
loss of thrust on both engines.
RDO-1 mayday mayday mayday. uh this is uh Cactus fifteen thirty nine hit birds, we've lost thrust (in/on) both engines we're turning back towards LaGuardia.
DEP ok uh, you need to return to LaGuardia? turn left heading of uh two two zero.
HOT-2 airspeed optimum relight. three hundred knots. we don't have that.
HOT-1 we don't.
DEP Cactus fifteen twenty nine, if we can get it for you do you want to try to land runway one
CAM-2 if three nineteen-
RDO-1 we're unable. we may end up in the Hudson.

HOT-1 yeah. the left one's coming back up a little bit.
HOT-2 distress message, transmit. we did.
DEP arright Cactus fifteen forty nine its gonna be left traffic for runway three one.
RDO-1 unable.
DEP okay, what do you need to land?
HOT-2 (he wants us) to come in and land on one three...for whatever.

RDO-1 I'm not sure we can make any runway. uh what's over to our right anything in New Jersey maybe Teterboro?
DEP ok yeah, off your right side is Teterboro airport.
PA-1 this is the Captain brace for impact.

DEP Cactus fifteen twenty nine turn right two eight zero, you can land runway one at Teterboro.
RDO-1 we can't do it.

RDO-1 we're gonna be in the Hudson.
DEP I'm sorry say again Cactus?

GPWS too low. terrain.
GPWS too low. terrain.
GPWS too low. terrain.
HOT-2 no relight.
HOT-1 ok lets go put the flaps out, put the flaps out.
EGPWS caution. terrain.
EGPWS caution terrain.

EGPWS terrain terrain. pull up. pull up.
DEP Cactus uh....
DEP Cactus fifteen forty nine radar contact is lost you also got Newark airport off your two o'clock in about seven miles.
EGPWS pull up. pull up. pull up. pull up. pull up. pull up.
HOT-2 got flaps out.
HOT-2 two hundred fifty feet in the air.
GPWS too low. terrain.
GPWS too low. gear.
CAM-2 got no power on either one? try the other one. 4718 two one zero uh forty seven eighteen. I think he said he's goin in the Hudson.
HOT-1 try the other one.

HOT-2 got flaps two, you want more?
HOT-1 no lets stay at two.
HOT-1 got any ideas?
DEP Cactus fifteen twenty nine if you can got uh runway uh two nine available at Newark it'll be two o'clock and seven miles.
CAM-2 actually not.
EGPWS terrain terrain. pull up. pull up. ["pull up" repeats until the end of the recording]
HOT-1 we're gonna brace.
HOT-2 * * switch?
HOT-1 yes.

15:30:43.7 [End of Recording]

- Doug Miller


Anonymous said...

Pretty neat read! I wonder why the air traffic controller guy seemed so clueless.

AUGGER said...

The irony beginning with the very first sentence...."what a view of the Hudson today."

Anonymous said...

and the Captain was humble enough to ask the co-pilot is he had any ideas? He is my hero.

Anonymous said...

In response to the first post. Air traffic controllers are working several aircraft at once. They are juggling spotting and tracking a/c on the radar scope and communicating with pilots and other controllers all the time. When an emergency comes up it takes priority over all a/c in the pattern the controller still has to keep up with the "big picture" and ensure that the emergency a/c gets all the resources (like search and rescue) it requires for the pilot to be able to make the best decision for the situation. The controllers "cluelessness" is the person looking away from the scope to contact emergency crews and coordinate rescue efforts and mentally coming back to the emergency. The flight crew, the rescuers, and all the personnel involved with making this a safe ending to a bad situation should be commended. -J. Gunter

Anonymous said...

The safe landing was an awesome accomplishment!

Anonymous said...

I am damn proud of the US Airways crew and the air traffic controllers.

Mary said...

Exciting read. I'm impressed with the captain's composure. Even the co-pilot just had one "oh #." I would have been going "oh #######" the whole time.

Anonymous said...

As to the first person's comment --it happens so fast, and it's so rarely this extreme. Here it is animated with the audio: