Sully performed the Miracle on the Hudson 15 years ago. Now the airliner is going back on display — see the restored plane.

Sully performed the Miracle on the Hudson 15 years ago. Now the airliner is going back on display — see the restored plane.
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Sully performed the Miracle on the Hudson 15 years ago. Now the airliner is going back on display — see the restored plane.
Captain “Sully” Sullenberger crash-landed a jetliner on the Hudson River in 2009, and all 150 people onboard lived.

  • Fifteen years ago, a fully loaded Airbus A320 airliner crash-landed on the Hudson River and no one died.
  • The jet was put on display in Charlotte, North Carolina, for public viewing but was stored in 2020.
  • The “Miracle on the Hudson” plane will be the centerpiece of a new museum named after Captain Sullenberger.

On a bitterly cold day in New York City on January 15, 2009, US Airways Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger pulled off one of the most miraculous saves in aviation history — he successfully crash-landed a fully loaded Airbus A320 jetliner on the Hudson River.

Every one of the 150 souls on board survived the incident after a bird strike caused total engine failure.

The event is known as the “Miracle on the Hudson,” and the A320 plane spent nearly 10 years on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte before being moved into storage in 2019.

But the famous jetliner is not gone forever. In the summer of 2024, a new $30 million state-of-the-art facility will open in Sully’s name, where a piece of history will again stand.

Take a look at the plane before its move, and what to expect at the soon-to-open Sullenberger Aviation Museum.

On January 15, 2009, US Airways flight 1549 crash-landed on the Hudson River, and no one died.
Miracle on the Hudson A320.
Passengers escape the sinking A320.

Many people know Sully’s name, but first officer Jeffrey Skiles was also in the cockpit that day.
First officer Jeff Skiles and Captain "Sully" Sullenberger pose with the Historical 1958 DC7 to benefit hosted by Historical Flight Foundation on November 17, 2011, in Miami, Florida.
First officer Jeffrey Skiles (L) and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (R) pose with the Historical 1958 DC7 to benefit hosted by Historical Flight Foundation on November 17, 2011, in Miami, Florida.

During an inflight emergency, pilots will work together splitting duties like running checklists, communicating with air traffic control, and flying the plane.

Three flight attendants, Donna Dent, Sheila Dail, and Doreen Welsh, led the life-saving evacuation.
Sheila Dail (L), Doreen Welsh (C), and Donna Dent (R) at the Late Show with David Letterman in 2009.
Sheila Dail (L), Doreen Welsh (C), and Donna Dent (R) at the Late Show with David Letterman in 2009.

The crew appeared on various talk shows after the accident, like the Late Show with David Letterman.

The accident has been retold through the movie Sully, with Tom Hanks as the lead.
Sully, Tom Hanks, and director Clint Eastwood.
Sully, Tom Hanks, and director Clint Eastwood.

The movie explains the sequence of the A320 crash and Sully’s thought process in the cockpit that day, as well as the subsequent investigation — though dramatized.

The film shows how passengers evacuated through emergency exit doors and used rafts and the jet’s wings to stay above water.
Miracle on the Hudson plane crash
Passengers on rafts escaping the crashed plane.

Some people tried to swim to shore before turning around due to the freezing river.

Emergency rescue was at the plane within minutes of the crash, getting to the survivors before the plane fully submerged.
Miracle on the Hudson A320.
Emergency rescue helping passengers after the crash.

When the plane crashed, it stayed intact. But holes in the fuselage caused water to flow in and passengers were faced with a new hazard — drowning.

After the disaster, the plane was put on display in Charlotte to recognize Sully’s heroic efforts.
Miracle on the Hudson fuselage.
Miracle on the Hudson fuselage.

Survivors would talk to visitors at the museum and answer questions about their experiences.

Museum president Stephen Saucier told BI that the airplane had to be transferred via road to the museum.
Miracle on the Hudson A320.
Miracle on the Hudson A320.

He said the small towns that hosted the jet on its journey had to move light poles and make other adjustments so the plane could weave through the streets.

Once at the then-named Carolinas Aviation Museum, Sully and the passengers visited the plane and donated personal items for the display.
Sully inside the Miracle on the Hudson A320.
Sully inside the Miracle on the Hudson A320.

Artifacts from the crash like lifevests and seat cushions were preserved.

Visitors could see the plane’s damage, including on the nose, tail, engines, wings, and fuselage.
Miracle on the Hudson wing.
Miracle on the Hudson wing.

The dents and bruises from the plane were on full display, showing the beating the plane took during the crash landing.

Visitors could not go inside, however, and will not be able to when the new exhibit opens this summer.

The plane has since been put into storage to make way for a new exhibit in Sully’s name.
The plane being moved into the new museum.
The plane was moved into the new museum in November 2023.

The new museum will officially open in the summer of 2024, with the famous A320 as the centerpiece.
The A320 being wheeled into the museum in November.
The A320 being wheeled into the museum in November.

The museum is adjacent to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, making it a great place to watch commercial planes take off and land, Saucier told BI.

Other aircraft, like historic helicopters and replicas of the Wright Brothers’ glider, will also be on display.
The location of the first-ever flight. Wright Brothers memorial.
The Wright Brothers memorial in North Carolina where the first flight was.

The original Wright Brothers glider is at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Saucier said the plane had been stored in a hangar on campus for the past five years, with a team of specialists there to preserve it.
Miracle on the Hudson A320.
The aircraft after it was recovered from the Hudson River in 2009.

“A lot of people look at this as a plane — which it is — but we treat it as a museum artifact,” Saucier told BI. “We know we are the stewards of that aircraft and try to keep it in the proper condition where it lasts, and future generations can see it.”

The museum will promote STEM education, working with companies like American Airlines to offer young people hands-on learning.
High school students board an American jet as part of a field trip.
High school students board an American jet as part of an aviation-focused field trip.

Saucier told BI that the mission of the museum is to “inspire the next generation of innovators,” explaining the museum has an educational wing with classrooms for STEM programs.

It will have been more than 15 years after the crash when the new museum opens, and it’s sure to bring back memories for passengers.
Passenger Diane Higgins and Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger.
Crash survivor Diane Higgins with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger.

Higgins told BI that the Japan Airlines crash brought it all back — and it reminded her how luckly she was to survive, just like the A350 passengers who escaped the burning JAL jet.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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