March 26, 2009 —Earlier this year Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles successfully landed an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River in New York City, saving 155 people aboard the US Airways airliner, after a bird strike caused both engines to fail.
Could you do the same thing?
Now iPhone or iPod Touch owners can find out, thanks to a new application available from flight simulator maker X-Plane.
The Unofficial Apple Weblog, or TUAW, reports Laminar Research has come up with a 99-cent iPhone application titled "Sully's Flight." The flight sim includes the actual air traffic communication audio during Flight 1549.
You’ll take off from LaGuardia's Runway 4 in weather just like Sullenberger and Skiles encountered in their January 2009 flight, then a series of rectangular hoops will guide your flight on their original flight path. And just like the real thing, there's a flock of birds you can't avoid, causing you to lose your engines.
TUAW acknowledges that while some may find the app to be in questionable taste, the user should remember that no one was seriously hurt in the actual accident. Plus, TUAW points out that the application is more of a simulation than a game.
“The average person trying it won't be able to escape the physics of the simulation, so if you're looking for a full flight sim, this is not for you,” TUAW reports in the March 21, 2009 posting. "No matter what you do, you will hit the birds, and your engine will fail, so don't plan on just flying around Manhattan."
Those attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh can also hear about the flight as both Sullenberger and Skiles will appear together at several venues during the week, including a special evening program at Theater in the Woods hosted by longtime TV personality David Hartman on Friday, July 31.
Sullenberger has nearly 20,000 flight hours logged, and began his airline career with PSA Airlines in 1980. He also served in the U.S. Air Force and has been a flight instructor, accident investigator and national technical-committee member during his career.
Skiles has more than 20,000 flight hours and began his career with US Airways in 1986. The Oregon, Wis., resident is also a regular AirVenture attendee, as he began attending the EAA fly-in convention with his parents – who are also pilots – when it was in Rockford, Ill., in the 1960s.
The simulation’s opening screen. Photo/illustration
credit: Laminar Research
The real thing: The US Airways Airbus A320 lies in the water as passenger stand on the wings awaiting rescue in January 2009. Photo credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer
Jeff Skiles will appear at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Photo credit: EAA.