Simulating the Hudson landing - Philadelphia News

January 16, 2009 7:05:00 PM PST
The pilots who fly out of the Philadelphia International Airport have hundreds of hours of training under their belts. Today, Action News talked with a man who trains them, and he takes us inside the cockpit to give us a pilot's eye view of what the flight crew went through yesterday. Glen King trains pilots at NASTAR in Southampton.

He says the pilot of US Air 1549 made a number of split second decisions when he lost both engines at 3200 feet.

"At about 3200 feet, he loses his power, instinctively he'll put the nose down to maintain glide speed and he's going to turn, look for a suitable place to land," King said.

At this point the pilot is multitasking.

He's trying to restart his engines and calculating the amount of glide time he has left to keep the plane airborne.

"There's a lot of mental calculations and feeling of the airplane going on in the cockpit to determine what this airplane's doing and where am I going to be able to do put with the energy, the wind conditions, and the location that I have," King said.

And while he's calculating, he's also looking out the window to gauge his options between New York and New Jersey.

The pilot is now committed to a water landing and instinct takes over.

He has to dip the nose to keep his air speed up.

Then it's a matter of fighting cross winds to keep the plane at just the right altitude.

The pilot and copilot had only seconds to make their calculations and decisions.

Any slight miscalculation could have led to disaster.

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.