1. Archive


Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger famously landed his US Airways jet on the Hudson River on Jan. 15 after it was disabled by birds flying into the engines. Whatever happened to the plane? Was it repaired and is it now flying again?

After the emergency splashdown, the Airbus A320 slowly drifted south in the frigid Hudson. Only about half of the tail fin and rudder were above water when a Fire Department boat tugged the plane to the southern tip of Manhattan and docked it there. Both engines broke off, settling into muck and thick sediment 30 to 50 feet down.

After a recovery mission, the National Transportation Safety Board directed a teardown of the plane's engines and found bird remains. The aircraft was moved to a Kearny, N.J., salvage yard. It is expected to remain there while the NTSB completes its investigation, which could take 12 to 18 months.

Once the NTSB concludes its investigation, the disassembled plane will be sold for salvage. It will not be repaired and will not fly again, according to Chartis, the company that insured the aircraft.

On Oct. 1, the 58-year-old Sullenberger piloted a flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, N.C. - the same planned route as the ill-fated January flight. He goes on a tour this month for his book, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, and will then teach other pilots at a US Airways flight training school.

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Issuing tsunami alerts

Recent news reports of earthquakes at sea have been a mixed bag in terms of whether a tsunami alert was sounded. As I understand it, tsunamis result only from earthquakes that cause the sea floor to drop, not from quakes involving lateral plate movement. Is there something in seismic readings that indicates an earthquake's origin, and thus whether a tsunami alert is needed?

Seismologist Paul Richard of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University says the main reasons for issuing an alert are the size and location of an earthquake. The question is whether the quake is located in an area that has been associated with tsunamis in the past, and whether it is powerful enough to cause another one.

A tsunami can be caused by movement of the sea floor up or down, and it is also possible for a lateral quake to generate one if it results in an underwater landslide. Thus a calculation that seismic movement was lateral would not be sufficient to deny a warning, he said.

"Just the size of the earthquake is usually enough to set the ball rolling," Richard said.

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No relation

Josh Duhamel and Timothy Olyphant look strikingly similar. Are they related?

They are not.