FAA releases US Airways flight 1549 ATC transcripts

Sorry if our constant coverage of the US Air flight 1549 crash is beginning to bore you – but it isn’t often that a plane ditches in a river, and everyone is able to walk away.

The news today comes courtesy of the FAA, who just released the air traffic control transcripts of the actual event.

The audio is pretty boring, so I cut out the most interesting part where the controller is told by the pilot that he’s going to ditch in the Hudson river (as you can see in the image above).

If you really want to hear the conversation, you’ll find the MP3 file here, or a written transcript here.

Separation of the airline classes made clear in a photo

This is the kind of photo I could probably post without wasting too many words on. If you ever wondered what kind of perks a first class ticket will get you, then think about the coach class passengers up to their knees in freezing cold water, watching the first class passengers take a comfortable seat in the raft.

I wonder whether any of the first class passengers demanded some hot nuts and a drink?

(Photo from Calacanis.com)

“Hero on the Hudson”: Play it on Gadling!

Maybe it’s too soon for this, but there’s already a popular online game inspired by the recent emergency landing on the Hudson River. “Hero on the Hudson” isn’t terribly sophisticated, but it gets the point across. You are in the left seat, acting as US Airways Flight 1549 pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. Your plane is headed toward the Hudson River, and you need to take action.

This free game was put together by Orb Games Ltd. The company, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine, has been around since 2006 and is responsible for such popular (and viral) titles as “Duke Nukem Endangered Species,” “Star Wars Galaxies” and “Vivisector: Beast Inside.” Orb also developed games for Nintendo DS and Sony’s Playstation and PSP consoles.

According to company CEO Andriy Sharanevych, the “Hero on the Hudson” was created around a week and a half ago, only days after Sully brought his bird down west of Manhattan. Sharanevych claims that the miracle of the event is what prompted the game’s development: “We just wanted people to understand and not to forget that this is not for granted, so we tried to make a game that would remind everyone about this miraculous event.”

I know I’m a cynic, and I do wonder if this is just convenient admiration to mask just a bit of opportunism (which I really don’t fault anyway). Apparently, I’m not alone.

Find out what users think after the jump, and take your own shot at the landing!Sharanevych has received mixed feedback from users, many of whom have considered the game “heartless.” But, the CEO defends himself with the scripted monologue, “[W]e deliberately made it very simple to make a successful landing in the game, as this is the game about the miracle and not a tragedy. You can play a role of a pilot, who will save hundreds of lives behind him and bring joy, happiness and hope to millions of people.”

Stunt or salute, it’s definitely brought home results. “Hero on the Hudson was played more than 1.5 million times in the first week it was available. And, more traffic is expected.

Read the entire interview with Sharanevych here.

View our ongoing coverage of Flight 1549.

Ready to play? Click and hold with your mouse, then move it around to try to swing the plane into a safer landing position.

Play Games at AddictingGames

US Airways check already in the mail

Notoriety is now worth $5,000. US Airways sent checks for $5,000 to each passenger on Flight 1549 last week, better known as the plane that touched down on the Hudson River. The payment came with a letter, in which the airline claimed to be “truly sorry.” Passengers were also reimbursed for ticket costs.

This is a pretty refreshing move, especially following JetBlue’s refusal to recognize its shortcomings outside a courtroom.

According to US Airways, luggage from Flight 1549 may remain in the hands of investigators for several months, and some may be “unrecoverable.” Compensation for this inconvenience, the checks began to arrive yesterday. US Airways has stated that the checks are not intended to sidestep any claims or litigation that passengers may file.

The reason for the delay in returning recovered luggage, according to reporting by the NY Times, is that the items have to be weighed wet, dried for eight weeks and then weighed again. The purpose is to verify the weight and balance of the plane.

[Via NY Times]

Undiscovered New York: Up the Hudson River Valley

Welcome to this week’s installment of Undiscovered New York. This week we’re going to be heading north, following the path of the Hudson River, one of the great waterways of the Northeastern United States. Many New Yorkers will tell your our city is “the center of the world,” and in some ways, they have a good case. But the land bordering the Hudson River up to the capital in Albany has been just as important in shaping New York as the city itself in matters historical, political and cultural.

Along the shores of this picturesque valley lie all sorts of fascinating destinations which have shaped New York City, the United States and arguably the world. The Hudson River Valley is home to the mansions of former Presidents and wealthy industrialists, famous enclaves of artists and culinary experts and birthplace of one of our nation’s great military schools.

Are you ready to leave the confines of New York City? Come along with Undiscovered New York as we “head up the Hudson.”Stop One: West Point Military Academy
Just fifty miles up the Hudson from New York is West Point, site of the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States and home to around 4,000 cadets. Though the academy was first established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802, the site was founded as a military installation in 1778, when it helped deter British troop movements along the river during the Revolutionary War. Visitors who are interested in checking out the grounds can stop by the Visitor’s Center where they can arrange guided tours. There’s also one of the world’s biggest military museums on site, providing a interesting look at the history of U.S. military.

Stop Two: Storm King Art Center
Next on our tour of the Hudson, is Storm King, an outdoor sculpture gallery set against the backdrop of scenic Mountainville, NY. Nestled among over 500 acres of gorgeous rolling hills are enormous sculptures crafted from famous artists like Alexander Calder and Richard Serra. It’s a peaceful place to spend the day strolling the grounds or to bring along a picnic and enjoy the outdoors (OK, yes winter is coming, but you never know with global warming these days).

Stop Three: Hyde Park
As we move further up the Hudson, we arrive at Hyde Park, a historic New York town that dates back to the 18th Century. It’s famous for several great attractions, all within close proximity. Perhaps most renowned is the former home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was born in Hyde Park and spent many years living there during his time as President. In addition to tours inside Roosevelt’s home, visitors can also take a look at FDR’s Presidential Library with many artifacts from the momentous years of the Great Depression and World War II. Also nearby is the Vanderbilt Mansion, one of the family’s many opulent retreats and a monument to Gilded Age excess. Foodies should also make a stop at the Culinary Institute of America, where they can sample world class cuisine from the school’s chefs in training.

Stop Four: Woodstock and the Catskills
What trip up the Hudson would be complete without a stop in Woodstock, notorious home of the world’s best known music festival and long time hippie enclave? If schlocky tie-dyed t-shirts are not your thing, don’t despair – there are plenty of awesome attractions nearby that will make the trip more than worth it. Nature lovers will be pleased to find the Catskills are just minutes away. It’s a gorgeous unspoiled wilderness where you can take in the scenery and perhaps check out the Buddhist Monastery that sits at the top of one of the area’s many hills. Make sure to finish your day at The Bear Cafe – the food is absolutely outstanding.