Heroic Capt. Chelsey B. Sullenberger III testified before Congress this morning regarding his experience piloting U.S. Airways Flight 1549 out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport and ditching the aircraft in the nearby Hudson River, The New York Times reports.
As most every New York personal injury lawyer (and every other New Yorker) already knows, Capt. Sullenberger’s Airbus A320 struck several Canadian geese shortly after takeoff, disabling both its engines and forcing the captain to take the extraordinary action of ditching into the Hudson, saving the lives of all 150 passengers and crew.
While Capt. Sullenberger’s testimony has no shortage of extraordinary details, of more interest to New York personal injury lawyers is the ongoing debate on how to best avoid this sort of “bird strike” in the future. Bird strikes are a serious problem in aviation, destroying 210 aircraft and killing 229 people in the past 20 years; it was only because of the crew’s great skill and a large helping of luck that anyone survived from Flight 1549.
The Federal Aviation Administration already has a robust radar system for detecting and neutralizing birds at low altitudes or near airports. The birds involved in Flight 1549’s bird strike were both too far from the airport and flying too high to be detected.
Unfortunately, as the Times makes clear, there is still no sure way to avoid these sorts of accidents in the future. All we have are proposals. Some believe that installing strobes on aircraft could frighten birds out of the path of planes while others have hope a modified radar signal might irritate the animals, discouraging them from inhabiting the area at all.
Knowing full well the disastrous consequences even mundane safety issues can have, New York personal injury lawyers hope some solution can be found to this pressing problem.