Patterico's Pontifications


NTSB Releases Details on the US Airways Ditching

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 7:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Three and one-half minutes. That’s how long it took from the moment the birds hit the aircraft until the plane was in the Hudson.

Those and other details were released today regarding US Airways Flight 1549. According to the NTSB, Captain Chesley Barrett “Sully” Sullenberger III intentionally ditched in the Hudson River because he knew he couldn’t get back to the airport and he didn’t want to jeopardize the urban population:

“Co-pilot Jeff Skiles, who was flying the plane at takeoff, saw the birds coming in perfect formation, and made note of it. Sullenberger looked up, and in an instant his windscreen was filled with big, dark-brown birds.

“His instinct was to duck,” said NTSB board member Kitty Higgins, recounting their interview. Then there was a thump, the smell of burning birds, and silence as both aircraft engines cut out.

The account illustrated how quickly things deteriorated after the bump at 3,000 feet, and the pilots’ swift realization that returning to LaGuardia or getting to another airport was impossible.

With both engines out, Higgins said, flight attendants described complete silence in the cabin, “like being in a library.” A smoky haze and the odor of burning metal or electronics filled the plane.

The blow had come out of nowhere. The NTSB said radar data confirmed that the aircraft intersected a group of “primary targets,” almost certainly birds, as the jet climbed over the Bronx. Those targets had not been on the radar screen of the air traffic controller who approved the departure, Higgins said.

After the bird impact, Sullenberger told investigators he immediately took over flying from his co-poilot and made a series of command decisions.

Returning to LaGuardia, he quickly realized, was out. So was nearby Teterboro Airport, where he had never flown before, and which would require him to take the jet over densely populated northern New Jersey.

“We can’t do it,” he told air traffic controllers. “We’re gonna be in the Hudson.”

While the first officer tried to restart the engines, Sullenberger glided over the George Washington Bridge and elected to land near the ferry terminal, so the passengers would have a better chance at rescue. It happened so fast that they never flipped the Airbus’ “ditch switch” that sealed the bottom openings on the aircraft to make it more seaworthy.


Organizing for America

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 6:01 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Obama announced the formation of “Organizing for America:”

“The new group will be the flagship of “Obama 2.0” as many people have taken to calling the transformation of the political organization created during the 2008 campaign.
It’s clear that Obama recognizes the power that his email list, which boasts more than 13 million names, represents in American politics and is working to ensure it stays within the control of a small group who are charged with protecting the Obama brand.”

I think this is Obama’s version of Nixon’s CREEP, the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

Obama also plans to use his and his family’s celebrity status to boost his ratings with the American public, an act that will further blur the line between pop culture and politics. The Politico has coined a term for it: the “Paparazzi Presidency” and even the Secret Service is helping out:

“Gary Morgan, a British journalist who runs Los Angeles-based Splash News, one of the largest paparazzi agencies in the world, says Mr Obama’s Secret Service men assisted his photographers in getting pictures of the President-Elect on the beach.

He said: “Obama is the paparazzi president. The Secret Service was very cool with us. They knew what we wanted to do. They told us if we stuck to certain areas, we would be fine. They got to know who we were and it was very pleasurable working with them.”

Mr Morgan said Mr Obama has a “canny media team” who are “going to take full advantage of using people like us as well to get the message out.”



Israel Declares Ceasefire in Gaza

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 5:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

After 22 days, Israel has declared a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza. However, it does not plan to pull out its troops until there are no further rockets fired from Gaza:

“Our goals as they were set at the beginning of the operation were fully realized, and even more than that,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said after the 12-member Security Cabinet voted to halt the assault.

“Hamas was hit hard, in its military arms and in its government institutions,” Olmert said. “If the fire stops entirely, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will weigh pulling out of Gaza at a time that befits us. If not, the IDF will continue to act to defend our residents.”

A recent report indicates the Israelis destroyed the Iranian wing of Hamas in Gaza City. That may be the best they could hope to accomplish before Obama takes office. Now it’s time to wait and see what strategy the Obama Administration will take toward Israel.


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