Plane Is Out; Crew's Story Begins to Emerge

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2009 11:43 PM CST

Investigators hoisted the US Airways jet out of the Hudson last night as crew interviews and transcripts began to shed light on the fateful flight, the New York Times reports. Among the revelations: Pilot Chesley Sullenberger was not at the controls when the plane hit a flock of geese, but he took over from co-pilot Jeffrey B. Skiles—a veteran pilot but one with limited exerience in this type of jet—when both engines failed. Investigators say Skiles had no time to evade the birds.

The pilots determined they didn't have enough power to try to land at a nearby airport, fearing "catastrophic" results in such a crowded area. "We can’t do it," said one, probably Skiles. "We’re gonna end up in the Hudson.” Flight attendants reported an eerie silence, like "being in a library," after the birds took out the engines. Shortly after, Sullenberger noticed the smell of "burning birds." After textbook maneuvers, one last key move: He purposely landed near boats to quicken the frigid rescue.
(More Flight 1549 stories.)

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