Accident analysis: US Airways Flight 1549


An Airbus A320-214 experienced an almost complete loss of thrust in both engines. The aircraft was subsequently ditched on the Hudson River approximately 8.5 miles from the site of its departure. Of the 150 passengers and 5 crew members on board the flight, the majority of people on board successfully evacuated the cabin sustaining only minor injuries. An extensive investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that the accident was caused by the ingestion of large birds into both engines mounted on the aircraft which resulted in an almost total loss of thrust in both engines and the subsequent ditching in the Hudson River. This paper analyzes the events, failures and faults that led to the accident as well as systematic methods that could be implemented to avoid such incidents in the future.


Link to pdf

Creative Commons License

  1. W. Langewiesche, “Us airways flight 1549: Anatomy of a miracle,” 2009. [Online]. Available: us airways200906

  2., “14 cfr part 33 - airworthiness standards: Aircraft engines — us law — lii / legal information institute,” 2015. [Online]. Available:

  3., “Federal aviation regulation sec. 33.76 - bird ingestion.” 2015. [Online]. Available: info/part33- 76- FAR.shtml

  4., “Radar basics,” 2015. [Online]. Available:

  5., “Root cause analysis :: Miracle on the hudson,” 2015. [Online]. Available: CM- Flight1549.aspx

  6. N. Transportation and S. Board, Aircraft Accident Report: Loss of Thrust in Both Engines After Encountering a Flock of Birds and Subsequent Ditching on the Hudson River., 2015. [Online]. Available:

  7. V. Leite, “Fly by wire,” Engineering Research: technical reports, vol. 5, no. 6, 2015. [Online]. Available: index.php/engres/article/view/104

  8. A. Zolghadri, D. Henry, J. Cieslak, D. Efimov, and P. Goupil, “Robust detection of abnormal aircraft control surface position for early system reconfiguration,” Advances in Industrial Control, pp. 73–89, 2013.

  9. C. R. Spitzer, The avionics handbook. CRC Press, 2001.

  10. D. M. Johnson, “Increasing software integrity using functionally dis- similar monitoring,” Safer Systems, pp. 216–230, 1997.

  11. J. Lala and R. Harper, “Architectural principles for safety-critical real- time applications,” Proc. IEEE, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 25–40, 1994.

  12., “Transportation safety board of canada - aviation investigation report a98h0003,” 2013. [Online]. Available:

  13., “ditching an aircraft,” 2015. [Online]. Available:

  14., “What is do-178b? — do-178b/do-178c avionics — gnat pro safety-critical — adacore,” 2015. [Online]. Available: safety- critical/avionics/do178b/

  15., “Airborne software certification explained,” 2015. [Online]. Available: software- certification- 101/

  16. JAA Administrative and guidance material, section four: operations, part three temporary guidance leaflets, 1st ed. JAA, 2015. [Online]. Available:

  17., “Far part 25.1301: [general] - function and installation – faa fars, 14 cfr,” 2015. [Online]. Available:

  18. ——, “Far part 25.1309: Equipment, systems, and installations – faa fars, 14 cfr,” 2015. [Online]. Available:

  19., “Do-178b, ”software considerations in airborne systems and equipment certification” - oct 98,” 2015. [Online]. Available:∼johnson/teaching/safety/reports/schad.html

  20. cognizant, “The impact of rtca do-178c on software development,” 2015. [Online]. Avail- able: