Friday, February 6, 2009

Grace Under Pressure

The FAA has released the audio of the short flight of US Airways 1549:

The only sign of stress as the plane descends over the Hudson River is when controllers and even the pilot, Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III, flub the plane’s call sign. But there is also a moment of disbelief. When the captain issues his final communication, “We’re gonna be in the Hudson,” the controller replies, “I’m sorry, say again, Cactus.”

Those are among the most dramatic moments in audio recordings of communications between US Airways Flight 1549 and controllers that were released on Thursday by the Federal Aviation Administration. All 155 aboard survived the plane’s ditching in the Hudson on Jan. 15.

Not that Captain Sullenberger wasn’t upset; he tells Katie Couric on CBS’s 60 Minutes that ““It was the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling I’ve ever felt in my life,” he said. But he kept his cool, brought the plane down, and everyone made it out alive.