What Went Right: Revisiting Captain “Sully” Sullenberger and Flight 1549 Ditch Into the Hudson

Miraculous. That’s the descriptor that popped up in the days after the successful landing of US Air Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. But then, as now, aviation experts saw the events of “The Miracle on the Hudson” a little differently.

What happened to captain Chesley Sullenberger III and his crew was a piece of tremendously bad luck, mitigated by a few turns of equally stunning good fortune and a sequence of smart decisions by the captain and his crew. Here’s a pilot’s-eye view of what went right during the emergency, the landing and the rescue that saw all 150 passengers rescued safely from the plane. (This piece was originally published the week of the landing and has been updated.)