Simulating the Hudson Miracle

By Lakecia Shockley - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

Miraculously 155 airline passengers were rescued from the Hudson River after Thursday's emergency landing. Courtesy of the folks at Flight Trainers at LeTourneau University, we bring you a special look at what the pilots saw.

"To put it down on the river like that was quite an accomplishment," said Elliott Wicker who is an Advanced Ground Instructor in the Aeronautical Science Department. "He was able to avoid any obstructions like bridges or wires or boats."

Wicker showed us a simulation, created by a multi-engine training stimulator that Letourneau University instructors use to train students how to fly.

"As you can see we're on runway four here in Laguardia." Wicker points to the simulator. "So we'll be taking off North East just like the US Air flight did."

This flight science instructor has nearly forty years of flying experience, and has flown commercial planes out of Laguardia Airport.

"Flying can be like anything, its generally hours and hours of boredom separated my moments of stark terror and this is one of those cases where the moments of stark terror had come," said Wicker.

In the simulator, pilots can fly from Laguardia Airport. It as close as you can get to flying for real.

"I believe that was the runway that the US Airway flight departed off of," said Wicker.

Wicker said US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger, originally from Denison, TX, is to be commended for using his pilot training skills.

"His effort to put it down was very commendable," said Wicker. "He'll probably go down in history as one of the few that has ever done it successfully and everybody lived which is remarkable."

Wicker said that out of all the times he has flown from Laguardia, he only had one bird strike, but it did not damage his plane. He said that a bird the size of a Canadian Goose could do a lot of damage to a turbine engine.