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Aviation Expert Praises Pilot of Crashed Flight

Friday, January 16, 2009

Among those praising the actions of US Airways pilot Chesney Sullenberger is aviation expert, William Voss. He is a licensed pilot and President of the Flight Safety Foundation, a research and advocacy group.

He says Sullenberger likely had seconds to decide to land the plane in the water instead of a nearby airport. During water landings Voss says it's important to fly the plane against the wind:

VOSS: Because that dramatically reduces the speed at which you hit the water and a successful water landing or ditching is about reducing the amount of energy that the airplane has because once it hits the water things are going to dig in like the engine and such and you're going to stop very abruptly.

REPORTER: Voss says on descents, planes lose altitude at an average rate of 2,000 feet per minute. Since the U.S. Airways plane had just taken off, he speculates it was no higher than 3,000 feet from the ground.

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