hudson4<US Airways Captain CHESLEY SULLENBERGER & TOM HANKS, who portrays him in ‘Sully’The new movie – “Sully” celebrates the flying career of Captain Sullenberger (played by Tom Hanks) and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles. Directed by the indomitable CLINT EASTWOOD, 86, the film – with its superb special effects – recreates the landing of US Airways Flight #1549 within sight of Manhattan’s towers, in the frigid waters of the Hudson River.

hudson3<FLIGHT 1549 about to hit the Hudson – movie still>  The incident came to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson”.  Captain Sullenberger and crew were celebrated as national heroes. There’s much more to the story of course, and the film goes into some detail on the followup controversy. 155 passengers and crew survived.

hudson2<AP photo by Steven Day – Thursday Jan. 15, 2009 photo, passengers wait on the jet’s wings to be rescued>


Less well-known in the US, but part of Canadian folklore and equally traumatic, was the landing of an Air Canada 767 at GIMLI, Manitoba – without engines.

gimli1On July 23, 1983 Captain ROBERT PEARSON and his co-pilot MAURICE QUINTAL made a powerless descent of a 100-ton jet from 26,000 feet to a decommissioned Royal Canadian Air Force base. The plane was on its way to Edmonton having left Montreal and Ottawa a few hours earlier.

gimli3Put simply – Flight #AC143 ran out of fuel and both engines quit. Ground crew had made an unfortunate mistake by loading fuel measured in pounds instead of kilograms. As the 767 reached the ground, its front landing gear collapsed and some tires blew out, but Pearson kept it on the runway by adjusting brake pressure on the left and right main landing gear.  69 passengers and crew survived. The Wall Street Journal, July 23/2013   <PHOTO – Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press>