- 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.
The miracle is reminiscent of the Japan Airlines Airbus A350 that erupted into a fireball after colliding with a smaller plane in Tokyo last week.
US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2013.
During an inflight emergency, pilots will work together splitting duties like running checklists, communicating with air traffic control, and flying the plane.
The crew appeared on various talk shows after the accident, like the Late Show with David Letterman.
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.
Some people tried to swim to shore before turning around due to the freezing river.
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.
Lucille Palmer was the oldest person on the plane at 85 years old and attended the opening of the original “Miracle on the Hudson” exhibit before she died in 2015.
Survivors would talk to visitors at the museum and answer questions about their experiences.
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.
Artifacts from the crash like lifevests and seat cushions were preserved.
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.
“We were so lucky to have Captain Sullenberger as our pilot,” Higgins, the flight 1549 passenger, told BI. “The man was absolutely incredible. After it all, he was so humble and taken aback that everyone was in such awe of him.”
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.
The original Wright Brothers glider is at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
“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.”
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.
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.