CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – It was 2009 when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 ditched in the Hudson River. Nearly 15 years later, it has landed its final home in Charlotte.
Chief Transportation Correspondent and Pilot Maycay Beeler provided the latest update on the plane from the Sullenberger Aviation Museum.
What a journey it has been.
From taking off at LaGuardia Airport to hitting a flock of birds, losing engine power, a perfect ditching in the Hudson River, to being transported from the icy waters to Charlotte, to the Carolinas Aviation Museum, and then into storage, and finally now to the Miracle on the Hudson’s final home. It was moving day Thursday for the famed miracle on the Hudson.
“When it came out of storage, there was a ton of cleaning that had to be done, getting ready for exhibition,” Katie Swaringer with the Sullenberger Aviation Museum said.
Captain Sully’s famed Airbus A320, U.S. Airways Flight 1549, is settling into its new 35,000-square-foot state-of-the-art main exhibit gallery. It’s all part of the premiere aviation museum of the Southeast’s Sullenberger Aviation Museum.
The plane is the crown jewel of its collection which includes 40 authentic commercial, civil, and military aircraft.
After years of storage in Charlotte, the Miracle on the Hudson has been transported and reassembled in preparation to restore it to an exhibit-like state. The move has been a substantial feat considering the size of the airframe and the importance of preserving its historical condition. Swaringer leads the collections team charged with overseeing the project.
U.S. Airways Flight 1549 will forever be celebrated as the most successful ditching in aviation history. All 155 people onboard were rescued by nearby boats. The time from the bird strike rendering the airliner powerless, to the ditching in the Hudson, was less than four minutes.
It has taken 15 years since that fateful day for the famed Airbus A320 to land here in her final resting place in Charlotte.
“We are charged with preserving this historic plane, the stories, and the lives of those saved,” Stephen Saucier said, president of the Sullenberger Aviation Museum.
Moving the iconic aircraft into the new space marks a key step in the museum’s transformation from the former Carolinas Aviation Museum to an impressive state-of-the-art Smithsonian affiliate.
Museum officials aim to ignite the dreams of aspiring aviators and innovators who will perpetuate Captain Sullenberger’s legacy of excellence, heroism, and courage.
The main gallery at the museum, located at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, is currently a work in progress, with the museum slated to open in the summer of 2024.