In a dimmed hangar on the side of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport lies N106US, the US Airways Airbus A320 that landed on the Hudson River one chilly January morning in 2009.
The famous "Miracle on the Hudson" aircraft is now an exhibit at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Flight 1549 was bound for Charlotte after departing New York's LaGuardia airport on the morning of 15 January 2009 before its fateful meeting with a flock of Canadian geese over New York.
While solemn in its presentation, the exhibit celebrates all of the factors that combined to allow for a successful ditching in the Hudson with no loss of life. Elements highlighted range from the experience of the crew and aircraft avionics to the fact that the A320 was one of only a handful in US Airways' fleet with extended overwater certification, which requires life vests and rafts for every passenger. One interesting fact that stood out - less than a third of the passengers on the aircraft had reviewed the safety card before the flight.
N106US ended up at the museum after its president Shawn Dorsch was inspired by a visit to a memorial to JAL Flight 123 at the Japan Airlines' Safety Promotion Centre near Haneda Airport in Japan, which had a flow chart of safety improvements since the 1985 accident and ending at US Airways 1549.
"When I saw this, I realised that 1549 was an international aviation icon," Dorsch told Flightglobal in 2011. "For me, having it in the museum would give the opportunity to tell something much bigger than the event itself."
Next time you're passing through Charlotte and have a few hours, the museum is a highly recommended diversion only a few minutes drive from the terminal.