Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Another miracle (not) near the Hudson yesterday

Talk about strange coincidences with flying in the New York area in mid-January. Last year, as you will no doubt be reminded by the media this week, it was US Airways flight 1549 landing in the Hudson with no fatalities last Jan. 15. Now this: Someone is likely to call yesterday's dramatic landing at Newark airport of a United jet using just two of its three tires "the miracle near the Hudson." Two United pilots on the A319, using experience, skill and level heads, landed safely using only the nose and left landing gear; flight attendants did their job by evacuating the plane quickly. Read a good detailed AP story with passenger quotes about the incident here.

Another miracle (not) near the Hudson yesterday

Talk about strange coincidences with flying in the New York area in mid-January. Last year, as you will no doubt be reminded by the media this week, it was US Airways flight 1549 landing in the Hudson with no fatalities last Jan. 15. Now this:  Someone is likely to call yesterday's dramatic landing at Newark airport of a United jet using just two of its three tires "the miracle near the Hudson." Two United pilots on the A319, using experience, skill and level heads, landed safely using only the nose and left landing gear; flight attendants did their job by evacuating the plane quickly. Read a good detailed AP story with passenger quotes about the incident here. 

The Newark story prompted me to rant about this: Because of the Dec. 25 terrorist attempt, every glitch, major or minor, related to airlnes, airports and passengers is now fodder for news reports. Flight crews are being overly cautious in taking seriously any potential disruption by an unruly passenger, as they should be. We can all help keep flight diversions to a minimum by behaving properly, and the media could help keep us calm (see today's Winging It column below) by not leading the local news with a story each time a minor problem occurs. The fact is, tens of thousands of flights take off daily and one or more are diverted or delayed for something anomalous practically every day.

And one more thought: US Airways' folks grew weary last year of hearing Capt. Sullenberger's water landing called "the miracle on the Hudson" by the media. But it was NY Gov. David Paterson who first used the phrase, and can you really blame us for picking up on it? It seemed miraculous at the time. US Airways' point was this:  It was the training and experience of the five-member flight crew that resulted in no loss of life on 1549, just as it was a United crew doing its job at Newark yesterday. So let's just call both landings true "missions accomplished."

Tom Belden
About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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