Animation of Hudson flight - the right stuff

Not sure if  you have seen this.  <klikni da pogledas film>

 This is the real recording from pilot-controller communication, however the
animation is lacking dozens of other communications and is limited to the

Simply impeccable work on both sides.

About the pilot is already enough said - on controller's side the reaction
was very professional and one may notice only occasionally a "say" popping
out here and there trying to compensate for the pressure and stress. No
mumbling, no hesitation. You may notice that he was just issuing a normal
"turn left heading 270 instruction" when hell started to develop. This is
what both controllers and pilots are been trained for, however the moment of
truth is never coming when wished , or expected.

Pilot had several heavy decisions to make in no time. On the other side the
controller had dozen of other aircraft on a frequency, plus about to loose
one from his screen due to both engines lost. What was going up in his mind
one may only speculate, however this part is not hard to imagine - he had an
aircraft with both engines down over the New York city not knowing where and
how it is going to end while he continues to vector other traffic.

It may appear that he asked too many questions, but what is important is
that he asked exactly the right questions (by the book he should have asked
the number of souls aboard etc - but he omitted these due to shortage of
time and took decision and filtered out questions to be asked) and acted
accordingly in the best possible manner. He did confuse few times 1549 with
1529 and overheard when pilot initially said "we may end up in Hudson" (or
similar) which is more, more than normal. By the time the guy was already
swimming in the Hudson he was giving him last radar position - which is by
the book 100%. Very , very good job. Pilot also communicated as a robot, few
dilemmas are visible and change of mind in regard to a decision made.

Error is considered to be a normal human behavior (it is adopted practice
for safety assessments to use one in a thousand as reference for the human
error), but in the emergency situations the probability to commit it is yet
another thousand times bigger - meaning very , very probable. This two guys
did make few "glitches" but this would be normal under normal circumstances
let alone the shit they were swimming in. They did an "abnormal job" for

Back to controller who immediately stopped all departures from LaGuardia
enabling the pilot to get back if he wishes so, than after receiving the
info from the cockpit of initial decision to try and go to the adjacent
airport he contacted this one also providing the information in most precise
and clear manner.

Controller's actions, as a consequence (if not been taken promptly and
clearly depicting the situation) could have led (if aircraft was to land on
any of these two airports) in collision with other aircraft, rescue services
not being ready , or not adequately calibrated to cope with the situation
developing which again might have had hundreds of lives lost. We know of
dozens of situations where this happened (one of them at Krk in Croatia - at
the time Yugoslavia some thirty years ago).

On the other side if the controller was not concise and precise he would
have lost precious seconds which would have additionally complicate handling
of the emergency that was developing and on the other hand endanger his
ability to manage all the other traffic he had in his area of

I have been reading and listening hundreds of accidents and incidents
related pilot-controller communications - and this one stands out.

One more situation (after 9/11 when they landed more than 4000 flights
within 3 hours without accident - even incident) where American ATC (Air
Traffic Control) proved to be at an excellent level.


Isa Alkalay
"Safety & quality is everybody's concern."
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skyguide -  swiss air navigation services ltd
Alkalay Isa, OOTP / Head ATM Procedures