It's a bird AND a plane!
They're calling it Miracle on the Hudson. An appropriate name for a story with a hero - the pilot -- who managed to land a US Airways plane onto the Hudson River with the grace of a ballerina , and without one injury.
All 150 passengers, three flight attendants and two pilots were rescued safely and immediately after the US Airways Airbus A320 crashed minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport on a flight headed for Charlotte, North Carolina.
57-year-old former fighter pilot Chesley "Sully'' Sullenberger was flying the plane., when according to an air controllers union spokesman, he reported a "double bird strike" (flock of birds hitting both jet engines) within a minute after take-off and asked to return to the ground, right before ditching into the Hudson.
But something in pilot Sully's sympathetic nervous system primed him for a second guess --a flight-AND-fight response to an intellectual understanding that the stimulus -- the plane-- well, it was going down. The pilot's response was not only heroic it was rare, as most people would react with a loud noise such as, "AHHHHHHH!!!!!!"
Waiting in the Wings: Bye Bye Birdie and The Seagull.
Even the earliest pioneers of flying machines, the Wright Brothers, had trouble with birds, and although no one was hurt there was a situation, according to a journal entry from 1905, the Brothers: "Chased flock of birds for two rounds and killed one which fell on top of the upper surface and after a time fell off when swinging a sharp curve" (1905).
Seven years later, "The Birdman", Calbraith Roger -- the first person to fly across the US. Months after he completed his historic journey -- flew his biplane into a flock of birds and crash landed. Birdman was not so lucky, as he died from a broken neck. The culprit? a Seagull.
Bird Blame - Why it's Lame.
Mother Goose, Woodstock, Big Bird, Tweety Bird, Zazu, even that drug case, the Road Runner. These are all some of our favourite birds.
OK, so the Geese WERE a PART of the plane issue yesterday. It is thought that the plane involved in Thursday's incident had both of its engines taken out after hitting a flock of Canada geese - which can weigh from about 3lbs to 12lbs. But there are always two sides to a story.
Updates on yesterday's incident filled my browser all day with headlines such as, How Birds Can Down a Jet Airplane ( FOXNEWS.com), How One Bird Can Take Down a Plane (MSNBC.com), Birds a common airport threat ( TVNZ.com), 'A Significant Threat' ( Newsweek.com), Feathered enemies for aircrafts ( bostonherald.com), and finally -- my favourite one of all -- Terror in the skies: Small birds taking down big planes ( Kansas City Star).
None of this bothered me until 29 minutes ago, when I saw a post pop up from the Associated Press, an article headlined, Airports use cannons, dogs, guns to scare birds.
Reporting in an almost immoral, unbiased perfection (probably how let's say, I'm supposed to write), the article simply states that "airports use everything from hawks and snarling dogs to screaming fireworks and shotguns to kill or scare off the intruders."
I have nothing to say, except for this, and I quote the infamous Mother Goose (you know the old woman in the shoe who raised you ALL):
Birds of a feather flock together,
And so will pigs and swine;
Rats and mice will have their choice,
bq. And so will I have mine.
Basically, I'm not trying to pull a PETA here. I just think we should consider the birds too. After all, the geese lost a lot of good men out there.
There's a whole group of folks dedicated to studying the meat of a Bird Strike. Called The Bird Strike Committee, the group -- composed of volunteers from the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Department of Defense,aviation industry/airlines, and airports --claims that a 12lb Canada goose struck by an aircraft at lift-off can generate a force equivalent to a 1,000lb object being dropped from a height of 10ft (3m).
It's good to know that the FAA, Deptartments of Agriculture and Defense, and the Plastic Police have been forcing everyone to condense their (sometimes holy) shampoo bottles into 3 oz ziplock nightmares only to reach the obvious conclusion: anything can happen to anyone, anywhere, anyhow, and there's simply no way of stopping it.
In the meantime, all we can do is
a) fly shiva for the poor birds,
b) thank Sully for his outstanding landing into the Hudson. Snoopy would've only dreamed to alter his ego in such a way.