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Old 01-15-09, 05:13 PM   #1
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Sometimes a disaster is mitigated by good pilots.

I'm not sure if it was luck of the draw, the skill of the pilot, the promptness of the rescue teams, or a combination of all of that, but for a water ditch of such a big plane, having everyone survive is pretty darn lucky... especially with both engines fried by bird strikes (although later new blurbs said that might not be the case.)
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Old 01-15-09, 05:38 PM   #2
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I'm not sure if it was luck of the draw, the skill of the pilot, the promptness of the rescue teams, or a combination of all of that, but for a water ditch of such a big plane, having everyone survive is pretty darn lucky... especially with both engines fried by bird strikes (although later new blurbs said that might not be the case.)
Conspiracy theories. Ignore them.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:00 PM   #3
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I'm not sure if it was luck of the draw, the skill of the pilot, the promptness of the rescue teams, or a combination of all of that, but for a water ditch of such a big plane, having everyone survive is pretty darn lucky... especially with both engines fried by bird strikes (although later new blurbs said that might not be the case.)
Combination. The Airbus they ditched actually has a Ditch button that seals off all the air intakes to the plane so it won't sink so fast too. I'm sure they employed that. The pilot was a veteran commercial pilot since 1980, and a former F4 military pilot.

All in all, those pilots are major friggin heroes today. No doubt about that.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:13 PM   #4
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All conspiracy theories aside, a Canada Goose is a BIG DARN BIRD. 7-15 lbs, the size of a small dog. On takeoff, the turbines in a typical turbofan are spinning between 25000 and 32000 RPM, depending on atmospheric factors and the diameter of the engine. It's nearly impossible for a jet engine to ingest something that size and survive.

And as anyone from the NY/NJ/PA area knows, Canada Geese are like cockroaches. They're crawling over everything leaving a trail of poop in their wake.

Judging from the radar and weather data that is available, along with the flight path, my speculation is that they took off runway 4, lost one engine about 1NM north of the airport, and immediately made a left turn to try to get back in the pattern for a tailwind landing on Runway 13. Then, just about when they would have made the left turn to line up for final on 13, the second engine went, and the PIC made the decision to ditch rather than risk trying to make the field. You can see the right turn abeam the runway 31/13 trajectory where they jogged over to line up with the river.

It's clear from the radar data that they could have made it to the field, but would have risked putting down on land, killing everyone on board and likely a bunch of people on the ground.

Radar Track: http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...26ZZ/KLGA/KLGA
Weather: http://www.uswx.com/us/stn/?stn=KLGA&n=200&code=d
Airport Info: http://www.airnav.com/airport/KLGA

That was some exemplary decision making on the part of the crew. Well done. They deserve medals, or something.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:28 PM   #5
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Give me an older pilot any day. They don't get older by being dumb.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:28 PM   #6
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those turbofans can suck up multiple chunks of hail and small birds and still work
the engines probably surged when the bleed valves got clogged from the geese.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:34 PM   #7
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My dad was in the Air Force as a Pilot Instructor Trainer (he taught the pilots that taught the wanna-be pilots). Anyways, he flew the Tweety (aka, T-37), and he has stories about flying into flocks of birds with that. One time, he had no idea that he had sucked in a bird until the airplane was going through it's routine after-flight check and the crew chief asked him about the feathers sticking out of the intake.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:36 PM   #8
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That's some fine flyin' there, Lou.

But really, though. Bloody fantastic work by the pilot. It'll be great to possibly learn something that will increase safety, without having to bury a planeload of people in order to do so.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:39 PM   #9
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My dad was in the Air Force as a Pilot Instructor Trainer (he taught the pilots that taught the wanna-be pilots). Anyways, he flew the Tweety (aka, T-37), and he has stories about flying into flocks of birds with that. One time, he had no idea that he had sucked in a bird until the airplane was going through it's routine after-flight check and the crew chief asked him about the feathers sticking out of the intake.
Maybe he was just trying to keep his lunch warm...


Honestly, those Tweets are LOUD. Birds oughta know better than stick around when that racket shows up.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:52 PM   #10
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The geese had a bad day of course. Oh well.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:55 PM   #11
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Cross-posted:


Why don't airplane engines have screens in front to prevent objects from getting sucked in????
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Old 01-15-09, 06:56 PM   #12
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Why don't airplane engines have screens in front to prevent objects from getting sucked in????
As a non-aeronautical-engineer, my guess would be that the engine would suck the screen in.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:58 PM   #13
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As a non-aeronautical-engineer, my guess would be that the engine would suck the screen in.
Plus in the winter you'd have to swap out the engine screens for the storms.
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Old 01-15-09, 06:59 PM   #14
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As a non-aeronautical-engineer, my guess would be that the engine would suck the screen in.
Even though the screen is not a solid object, has enough airflow though it to prevent this, and would also be bolted on????
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Old 01-15-09, 07:06 PM   #15
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Wouldn't screens on engine intakes F up the plane's aerodynamics quite a bit?
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Old 01-15-09, 07:14 PM   #16
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Early in production, the b1-b was brought down twice by flocks of birds...like anything, you get enough of something where it shouldn't be, it'll gum up the works...that said, it was nice to have some good news for a change..( relative, i know, but thank god no souls were lost is the point)
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Old 01-15-09, 07:18 PM   #17
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The screen could get obstructed by striking birds and have the same effect, stalling an engine, but then the aerodynamics would get compromised. This is from another US Airways pilot in my family.

That plane stopped right in front of a large ferry terminal. Talk about luck, fate, karma, etc. The airframe isn't even compromised. The passengers may even get their luggage back!
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Old 01-15-09, 07:30 PM   #18
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minus the pets in the cargo hold...
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Old 01-15-09, 07:31 PM   #19
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Give me an older pilot any day. They don't get older by being dumb.
There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.
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Old 01-15-09, 07:32 PM   #20
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Plus in the winter you'd have to swap out the engine screens for the storms.
Not only that, but depending on how tight the weave of the screen is, they might need to be cleaned like dryer lint traps on occasion, since they'd catch the crud that usually passes harmlessly through.

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Talk about luck, fate, karma, skillz, etc.
Possibly fixed.
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Old 01-15-09, 07:33 PM   #21
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Why don't airplane engines have screens in front to prevent objects from getting sucked in????
Because the screens would disturb the air enough at high speed to cause the compressor section of the turbofan to stall. Compressor stall = BAD..

Besides, no "screen" would withstand hitting a 15lb bird at 150 knots, and what was left of the bird would still go into the engine.

I heard some wingnut on the radio this afternoon screaming that government hasn't done enough to mandate screens on engines. The idea is just plain stupid.
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Old 01-15-09, 07:34 PM   #22
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Sometimes a disaster is mitigated by GREAT pilots.
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Old 01-15-09, 07:39 PM   #23
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Because the screens would disturb the air enough at high speed to cause the compressor section of the turbofan to stall. Compressor stall = BAD..

Besides, no "screen" would withstand hitting a 15lb bird at 150 knots, and what was left of the bird would still go into the engine.

I heard some wingnut on the radio this afternoon screaming that government hasn't done enough to mandate screens on engines. The idea is just plain stupid.
I THINK there are screens that would withstand a 15lbs bird at 150 knots, but they dont use it due to ice build up. (from what I understand)
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Old 01-15-09, 07:44 PM   #24
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What the heck is this about? What did I miss?!

EDIT: Ah, this.
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Old 01-15-09, 07:44 PM   #25
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I THINK there are screens that would withstand a 15lbs bird at 150 knots, but they dont use it due to ice build up. (from what I understand)
Ice buildup would be just one reason, but the most influential reason would be the destruction of smooth airflow into the engine.
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