A Honeywell APU played arguably the most important role beyond Captain Sullenberger in helping US Airways Flight 1549, which had lost power to both engines, land on the Hudson River. Hundreds of lives were saved that day, and a movie about the captain’s life opens in U.S. theaters today. Here’s an open letter to the movie’s director and co-producer, as written by our “APU.”
I just wanted to thank you for using your talents to direct the movie “Sully,” which just opened in theaters in the United States. However, I wanted to highlight that although I am not co-starring alongside Tom Hanks and my “face” is not in any advertisements, I played a key part in helping Capt. Chesley Sullenberger save the day on that cold New York city Thursday back in January 2009.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is 131-9A Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), U9A for short, and I live in an obscure area in the tail section of the A320 airplane, and many other models. My family, Honeywell, is known for being the market leader when it comes to APUs, so they’re very proud of the role I played in that scary, but miraculous event.
After the plane flew into that flock of geese, both engines were badly damaged, so the generators couldn’t provide sufficient power. That’s when I stepped in and provided the power needed to keep the flight controls, displays and envelope protections temporarily in place. If it wasn’t for me and the captain’s smart instinct to turn me on, “Sully” wouldn’t have been able to land that Airbus A320 in the Hudson River at the lowest possible airspeed and save all those lives.
Just talk to my friend, Flight Recorder, she recorded the whole thing, or take a look at page 88 of the NTSB report. It clearly gives me credit:
“Starting the APU early in the accident sequence proved to be critical because it improved the outcome of the ditching by ensuring that electrical power was available to the airplane. Further, if the captain had not started the APU, the airplane would not have remained in normal law mode.”
Now I’m not saying I deserve all the credit, because “Sully” is a very talented pilot, Tom Hanks is a heck of an actor, and it is very obvious that I could not have done this without a pilot. However, I do think the world needs to hear more about my part in the story. So, I’d appreciate it if you could make a sequel. Perhaps, we could call it “131-9A” and I could be voiced by Anthony Daniels? I just love him as C-3PO in the Star Wars series! (And if you don’t mind I’d really like Tom Hanks’ autograph).