While driving down the interstate this week, I noticed people standing on an overhead bridge. I assumed it was some event or tourist location and proceeded on my way without giving it another thought. When I drove under the next overhead bridge, I saw cars lining the bridge with people glued to the sides looking down onto the highway. Bridge after bridge I saw the same scene – crowds of people gazing down the highway as if they were waiting for something. They were – the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane.
Further down the highway, I spotted the aircraft fuselage being towed on the bed of a trailer with an entourage of vehicles. The aircraft was en route to the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte from Newark, NJ, a 600 mile journey. The US Airways Flight 1549 was taking off when bird strikes took out both engines of the Airbus A320 in January 2009. Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III famously landed the aircraft in the Hudson River, and all passengers and crew survived.
As I drove by the aircraft, I reminisced about where I was when this story broke. I remember just being in utter disbelief that someone was able to bring this wounded aircraft down to safety without any loss of life. I remembered the infamous photograph of the plane floating in the Hudson River with all of the passengers and crew standing on the wings. I remembered all of those ferry captains and first responders who rushed over to help the passengers and that sense of pride I felt in humanity that day.
I am so proud that so many people lined the bridges and streets to watch this plane be transported to its resting place in a museum. This aircraft has become a symbol to people, something that Capt. Sullenberger summarized by saying, “It gives them hope.” The aircraft will be arriving at the museum today.