As an ex-air traffic controller (aviation professional and enthusiast for more than 30 years), I think the media were very slow this afternoon to acknowledge the crew of US Airways 1549. It was at least an hour before I heard any mention of the miraculous feat pulled off by the pilots.
Airplanes weren’t designed to swim. Crash landings on water, especially in jet airliners, rarely turn out well.
Surely, no one can forget the image of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 that crash-landed in the Indian Ocean near Comoros after running out of fuel. When the wing-tip and engine caught the water, the aircraft cartwheeled and broke apart, killing 125 of the 175 passengers and crew on board.
The fact that the pilots of US Airways 1549 ditched an Airbus 320 on the Hudson River and all 148 passengers and 5 crew were rescued prior to the aircraft sinking was an incredible show of airmanship.
Captain Chesley Sullenberger (Sully) and his co-pilot are HEROES.