Posted tagged ‘US Airways’

Pilot Finds Hole in Plane’s Fuselage

March 29, 2011

The FBI trying to discover what caused a small hole in a US Airways plane, which was discovered by a pilot as he checked the aircraft before a flight.

From CNN:

The puncture in the Boeing 737 airliner is the size and shape of a bullet hole, but that doesn’t mean someone shot at the plane, said Amy Thorenson, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Charlotte, North Carolina. Investigators don’t yet know what could have caused the hole, she said.

The aircraft had flown to Charlotte from Philadelphia and was being prepped for another flight when the pilot discovered the hole above a passenger window toward the back of the plane, according to airline officials. The airline pulled the plane from service and called in the FBI.

It’s unclear whether the hole appeared before or during that flight or while the airliner was on the ground in Charlotte, but investigators and the airline were operating under the assumption that it happened in flight, Thorenson said.

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‘Miracle on the Hudson’ Pilot Retires

March 3, 2010

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who piloted a US Airways flight during its emergency water landing on the Hudson River last year, has announced his retirement.

I’m sure it will be nice to actually be able to retire, take some time with his family and friends, and of course, I’m sure that a book must be in the works!

From the Associated Press:

Sullenberger, 59, joined US Airways’ predecessor airline in 1980. Until 2007, the mandatory retirement age was 60 for commercial pilots in the U.S. The top age for retirement is now 65.

Flight attendant Doreen Welsh, 59, who was on Flight 1549 when it landed in the Hudson, is also retiring. Welsh, 59, joined US Airways’ predecessor airline in 1970.

All 150 passengers survived the emergency river landing in January 2009 when the plane’s engines were struck by birds.

Man Survives Hudson River Crash Then Loses Job

April 17, 2009

Frank Scudere thought that all was good in the world when he survived the crash of flight 1549.

Now, Scudere finds himself in the same position as thousands of others across the country,

looking for work.

From MSNBC:

In seat 24B as US Airways Flight 1549 fell silently toward the Hudson River, attorney Frank Scudere did not know that his name was on the list of lawyers that his firm planned to lay off the next morning.

In a one-in-a-million event, Scudere and his fellow passengers survived the plane’s river ditching on Jan. 15, and he walked away with nothing worse than wet clothes. But he could not escape an everyday event that has claimed millions of other victims: He lost his job and found himself questioning his self worth.

Now he’s a 48-year-old unemployed attorney. Like the Biblical Job, who lost and gained everything, Scudere searches for an elusive meaning in suffering and redemption. He’s grateful, a bit angry and reflective. “I don’t feel sorry for myself,” he said. “It just shows the randomness of life, and the inevitability of loss. You can lose, and yet you can still be preserved. I lost my job, and yet I have my life.”

Continental Airlines Flight 3407 Was on Autopilot

February 15, 2009

It appears that the commuter plane that crashed near Buffalo was on autopilot when it went down in icy weather, indicating that the pilot may have violated federal safety recommendations and the airline’s own policy for flying in such conditions.

From the Associated Press:

Steve Chealander, a National Transportation Safety Board member, said the company that operated the flight recommends pilots fly manually in icy conditions. Pilots are required to do so in severe ice.

“You may be able in a manual mode to sense something sooner than the autopilot can sense it,” Chealander told The Associated Press in an interview, explaining why the NTSB also recommends that pilots disengage the autopilot in icy conditions.

The preliminary investigation indicates the autopilot was still on when the plane crashed, he said. That has not been confirmed by information from the plane’s flight data recorder.

The pilots of Continental Flight 3407 discussed “significant” ice buildup on their wings and windshield just before crashing Thursday night in a suburban neighborhood near the Buffalo airport. Fifty people were killed.

The flight was run by Colgan Air, which operates a fleet of 51 regional turboprops for Continental Connection, United Express and US Airways Express.

In a December safety alert issued by the NTSB, the agency said pilots in icy conditions should turn off or limit the use of the autopilot to better “feel” changes in the handling qualities of the airplane.

Chealander also said Colgan, like most airline companies, had begun following NTSB recommendations that pilots use deicing systems as soon as they enter conditions that might lead to icing.

Continental Airlines Flight Crashes in Buffalo

February 12, 2009

A Continental Airlines plane has crashed in Buffalo, New York, this evening. Reports state that there were 48 people aboard and appear to be no survivors.

Associated Press

Credit: Associated Press

From CNN:

Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air, was en route from Newark, New Jersey, when it went down in Clarence Center, said Bill Peat with New York State Emergency Management in Albany.

The plane crashed about 10:20 p.m., hitting a home and bursting into a fireball, according to New York State Trooper John Manthey.

The crash took place about seven miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Area resident Keith Burtis said he was driving to the store about a mile from the crash site when he heard the plane go down. “It was a high-pitched sound,” Burtis said. “It felt like a mini-earthquake.”

Shortly after the crash, Burtis said he saw a steady stream of fire trucks rush by him as smoke billowed into the sky.

Continental Airlines confirmed that the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 was operating between Newark Liberty International Airport and Buffalo.

The National Transportation Safety Board said early Friday that is was preparing a “go team” to head to Buffalo to investigate the crash. The aircraft has seating capacity of 74, officials said.

There was a light mix of snow and sleet at the time of the crash, officials said.

Officials said relatives of passengers aboard the flight should call 1-800-621-3263 for information.

At this time, officials said they are not concerned about a hazardous materials situation on the ground.

From the New York Times:

A Continental Express flight from Newark to Buffalo crashed into a house about four to six miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Thursday night, killing 49 people, officials said.

The plane carried 44 passengers and a crew of 4, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, Ted Lopatkiewicz, said at midnight that he he did not know if there had been any survivors on the plane. The Erie County executive, Chris Collins, said at a news conference that 49 people, including one on the ground, were killed.

Mr. Collins said the plane, Continental Airlines Flight 3407, crashed about 10:20, five minutes before it was due to land. The house it crashed into was still fully engulfed in flames at 12:30 a.m., and Mr. Collins said that about 12 houses were evacuated and a limited state of emergency was declared.

Pilot Describes Final Moments Before US Airways Crash

February 9, 2009

Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who ditched his jetliner in the Hudson River and saved the lives of everyone on board, said he had a “sickening” feeling when a flock of birds disabled both engines with violent thuds, crippling the plane over New York City.

From the Associated Press:

Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that the sound of the geese hitting the plane and the smell of burning poultry entering the cabin was “shocking.”

“Oh, you could hear them,” he said. “Loud thumps. It felt like the airplane being pelted by heavy rain or hail. It sounded like the worst thunderstorm I’d ever heard growing up in Texas.”

The interview with Sullenberger and the other four crew members was broadcast Sunday, their first since US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the frigid water Jan. 15.

Sullenberger took control of the plane from his first officer and glided it to safety, but said that in the aftermath of the emergency landing, he lay awake at night second-guessing his performance, even though all 155 people aboard survived.

He said he initially had trouble forgiving himself because he thought he could have done something different in that “critical situation.”

“The first few nights were the worst,” Sullenberger said. “When the `what ifs’ started.”

He said he no longer regrets his actions that day, calling his decision to land in the river “the only viable alternative” to attempting a return to LaGuardia Airport or landing at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey.

“The only level, smooth place sufficiently large to land an airliner was the river,” he said, recalling that the plane had no thrust and was “descending rapidly.”

Sullenberger, a former Air Force fighter pilot who has flown commercial planes for nearly three decades, said he knew he had to touch down with the wings level and the nose slightly up, and “at a descent rate that was survivable.”

“Did you, at any point, pray?” CBS’ Katie Couric asked.

“I would imagine somebody in back was taking care of that for me while I was flying the airplane,” he said.

The flight attendants said they didn’t know they were landing in the water until it happened.

“When I got out of my seat and saw that water, it was the most shocked I’ve ever been in my life,” flight attendant Doreen Welsh said, adding that her emotions “had gone through, within seconds, accepting death and seeing life.”

She said she then “went crazy” and started yelling and pushing people to get them out because the impact tore a hole in the plane’s tail and water poured into the cabin.

“And as I was getting up, I thought I might actually live,” Welsh said. “`Cause a second ago, I thought I was gone.”

Sullenberger landed the plane near two ferry terminals, and rescue boats appeared within minutes to take the 150 passengers and five crew members to safety.

When the pilot got official confirmation that everyone had survived, “I felt like the weight of the universe had been lifted off my heart,” he said.

The crew met some of the passengers and their relatives at a reunion in Charlotte, N.C., the destination of Flight 1549.

“More than one woman came up to me and said, `Thank you for not making me a widow,'” Sullenberger said. “‘Thank you for allowing my 3-year-old son to have a father.'”

One passenger asked Sullenberger to sign his shirt.

“Where, right there?” Sullenberger replied. “You got it. Let me make it big and bold.”

US Airways Pilot Becomes a Facebook Phenomena

January 19, 2009

Social-media services company Vitrue reports that Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger III, the US Airways pilot who landed his jet safely in the Hudson River last week, has become a viral phenomenon after more than 300,000 users became fans of him via a Facebook page created by Vitrue.

I’m a fan, are you?

From MediaPost Publications:

At its peak on Saturday, 215 people a minute were becoming fans of Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III on a Facebook page set up to honor the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549.

That page was created by an employee of social media services provider Vitrue at 10 p.m. on Thursday, the day Sullenberger landed the disabled plane in New York City’s Hudson River, to honor “a real hero.” Ten hours later, there were 18,000 fans and 1,800 posts on Sullenberger’s wall. By 2 p.m. on Sunday, there were more than 300,000 fans and 14,000 wall posts.

Posters range from Shazo Wazo in Brighton and Hove, England, who wrot: “Well done mate, excellent job you’ve done. Bloody marvelous,” to Robert K. Rodriguez of New York, who simultaneously wrote: “god bless you brotha, you can be my pilot any day !!!”

Meanwhile, Vitrue’s Social Media Index was showing scores for US Airways soaring since Thursday. At their peak, the airline’s scores were up 171% from its December average, reaching a three-day average of plus-135%. The Index is a proprietary reporting technology that measures a brand’s online conversations.

Vitrue CEO Reggie Bradford tells Marketing Daily that this “crystallizes the amplification effect social media can uniquely deliver on a cause or brand. If brands can conjure up the right mix of ingredients, there are millions upon millions of passionate consumers who will take social actions.”

The first photo of the airliner sitting in the river was posted on Twitter by someone on board one of the ferries that raced to the rescue of 155 passengers and crew, creating a stir among social media fans and mainstream journalists who debated its importance in the days following the event.

“This is a compelling story which illustrates the power of how truly interconnected, influenced and inspired we are by each other’s thoughts and actions,” says Bradford. “From a business perspective, we think it is important for brands to take note of these passionate and engaged audiences who need a forum in good times and bad.”

The amazing growth in the number of the pilot’s fans certainly speaks well for the newly created Sullenberger brand. That and the story behind it are a boon for an airline that has filed for bankruptcy twice over the past several years, lost 75,000 bags two holiday seasons ago and last year became the first airline to charge for coffee and tea.