Plane from 'Miracle' Hudson River Landing to Become Tourist Attraction
"The aircraft is an international aviation icon," museum president Shawn Dorch tells the Charlotte Observer. "It's recognized around the world."
An agreement that would make Airbus A320 a permanent display is almost complete, museum officials say.
Just after taking off from LaGuardia on Jan. 15, 2009, en route to Charlotte, US Airways Flight 1549 collided with a flock of Canada geese and lost both its engines. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger managed to glide the plane to a landing on the Hudson, where all 155 passengers and crew were rescued.
The plane has been stored in pieces in a New Jersey warehouse since then, including the engines, one of which was pulled from 65 feet below the surface on the bottom of the river.
Dorch says the inside of the plane's fuselage "is like a time capsule. The Coke cans are in the food carts," he said. "Except for the passenger belongings, virtually everything else is still in the airplane just like it was."
Why the Charlotte museum got the plane over other museums vying for it, Dorch explains this way. "The big reason we have prevailed is that first of all we wanted to display the entire plane," he says. "This is a Charlotte story. The airplane was destined for Charlotte. There are so many survivors in Charlotte."
Dorch says he hopes to have the plane on exhibit by May, after it's trucked down from New Jersey, though he added that it might take a year to fully assemble the plane.
"It's a wonderful thing, because it certainly is a daily reminder of how fortunate we all were that day," says Clay Presley, president of Carolina Pad, who sat in seat 15D. "It gives me an opportunity to show my family, my kids and grandkids where I was sitting that day."
Mayor Anthony Foxx says the plane would "commemorate the brave men and women, particularly the pilot and crew, who saved so many lives."
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Photo, Chris Gardner, USACE, Flickr