It's not often that the words "airplane crash" and "miracle" get run together in the same sentence, but that's the way U.S. Airways Flight 1549 is being described. In case you haven't been around a TV, radio, newspaper or Internet device for the past few days, you should know that all one hundred and fifty passengers along with five crew members escaped from their Airbus A320 dropped into the Hudson River shortly after takeoff on Thursday morning. One of the passengers' legs were broken, but no other serious injuries were reported. The plane didn't drop into any populated areas. It didn't burst into flames. It didn't sink like a rock when it hit the water. For these reasons, the media and the powers that be have chosen to view it as a miracle.
Now, on the other hand, if you are a member of the goose population in the tri-state area, you might not be as comfortable with this assertion. For them, this is a tale of woe and tragedy in which two of their feathered friends made their final flight. The "double bird strike" reported by pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III wasn't just a mid-air mishap, but the end of Bert and Larry. Tonight, geese around the world will be toasting to their memory.
Along these same lines, I did a little checking on the safety record of U.S. Airways. Since 1970, there have been nine not-so miraculous events involving their aircraft. A total of three hundred and two passengers and crew did not survive these accidents. In aviation circles, it is often stated that "any landing you can walk away from is a good one." In my mind, that puts U.S. Airways down almost two-to-one on the "walking away from the crash" ratio. Or in the case of Larry and Bert, any landing they could waddle away from, God bless their little beaks.