After Flight 1549 and the Miracle on the Hudson, New York will now kill and cook the geese responsible

June 18, 2011

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger did an incredible thing. A majestic, fabulous, brave, mesmerising and some might say, insane thing. He made a decision on January 15th 2009 that most probably saved the lives of 155 people. Along with the other crew members of US Airways Flight 1549, he landed a plane on the Hudson River. Quite a feat considering the plane had no engines and no air-breaks, weighed 1000 tonnes, didn’t float, wasn’t a boat and was full of screaming passengers. If ever an example was needed of  the right man being in the right place at the right time, then this is it. No wonder it became known as the Miracle on The Hudson. Take a bow Mr. Sullenberger.

5655 tonnes but no match for the mighty Canadian Goose.

Six minutes after takeoff from New York LaGuardia Airport, en route to Charlotte Airport, North Carolina, Flight 1549 hit a flock of  Canadian Geese. Geese are big and they make a real mess when they get sucked into the engines of commercial jet liners. So much of a mess that they clog the engines and on this day, resulted in an immediate loss of thrust in both engines. Shit. There must have been a lot of geese. According to reports the windscreen turned brown and loud thuds were heard to echo around the plane; smoke billowed from the now disabled engines and the acrid smell of burning fuel and bird feathers filled the aisles of Flight 1549. There was probably some other odours circulating at the time too.

The bird strike hit the engines at such an altitude to make emergency landings at nearby Teterboro Airport or a return to LaGuardia impossible; there simply wasn’t enough altitude to get there. As cool as a Russian winter, pilot Chesley Sullenberger ditched commands and headed for the River Hudson, downtown Manhattan. You want to know just how calm and cool and professional this man was? Have a listen to the actual flight recording below.

Luckily for the passengers of NY Flight 1549, pilot Sullenberger was very experienced, very calm and was a practised glider pilot to boot, which may explain how he managed to land a plane with no engines and no air-breaks on a river. Not only did he manage to land the plane but he also managed to land it in a place where there were no boats in the middle of the river but boats were close enough to aid rescue after the emergency landing. After successfully ditching the plane, he then remained on board, swept the aisles twice to make sure no passengers were left lingering in the near freezing water rapidly filling the plane, corrected his tie, combed his moustache and coolly walked out onto the wings to join the rest of the waiting plane refugees. Doves took flight in his honour.

Every man wants to be him; every woman wants to be with him.

Suffice to say, he is a hero. But not for geese. His heroics that day brought the very real danger of this menace of the skies to light. At any moment, is any plane taking off from New York LaGuardia Airport in danger of having its engines destroyed by flying geese? Perhaps so. Which is why New York is going to do something about it. Last summer saw attempts to gas the birds. Obviously this brought about some indignation from animal rights groups and people with common sense. Just why gassing is necessary is open to debate. So the gassing didn’t work, time for plan B. They are going to cook them. Why of course.

Your goose is well and truly cooked

Mass cull has been granted and any geese in the area will be captured and transported to facilities in Pennsylvania where they will be cooked, prepared for consumption and distributed to Pennsylvanian food banks. If they are being captured and transported, then why not just transport and release them, without the cooking part? We would like to take the blame™ for such unnecessary animal cooking and apologise to the geese whose only crime is flying.

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