Hudson Landing Still a Miracle a Decade Later

May 01, 2019 | Author: Kathryn Kearney

It’s been a decade now since Capt. Sully Sullenberger entered our collective consciousness as the flesh-and-blood hero of the “Miracle on the Hudson”. But few people remember the mechanical hero that literally gave Captain Sully the power to guide US Airways Flight 1549 to what the National Transportation Board called “…the most successful ditching in aviation history”.

After realizing that his propulsion engines had been fatally damaged by a bird strike, Sullenberger had the foresight and training to fire up the little jet engine that could – Honeywell’s 131-9A auxiliary power unit. The APU, which we pioneered about 70 years ago, is a small turbine engine that provides electricity to power the air conditioning, cockpit systems, communications systems and other equipment when the aircraft is on the ground.

During the January 2009 emergency landing on the Hudson, the APU provided power for the pilot’s flight controls, flight displays and other systems that enabled the Airbus A320 to touchdown safely, sparing the lives of 155 people onboard.

We wrote a tongue-in-cheek first-person blog about the miracle landing when the movie “Sully” premiered in 2016.

APU technology has come a long way over the last seven decades and even over the last 10 years. Today’s systems are more capable and reliable than ever. Thanks to advanced data analytics and the Industrial Internet of Things, modern APUs can even “tell” airline technicians when they’re experiencing a problem or need service. They’re thoughtful that way!

Honeywell is taking the lead in Connected APU maintenance solutions. Our breakthrough approach uses advanced predictive analytics to alert maintenance teams of problems three days in advance so they can address problems before they cause a disruption in service.

But that’s not all. The Connected APU service also uses prescriptive analytics to pinpoint potential problems down to the part number so that maintenance technicians know exactly which part to remove and replace. This saves enormous amounts of maintenance time and cost for the airlines.

Airlines around the world are already using our connected maintenance approach and are experiencing fewer disruptions, better efficiency, improved turn-around times and lower costs. Connected APU service users have seen a 35 percent reduction in APU-related flight delays.


Kathryn Kearney

Content Marketing Specialist

Katie Kearney is the global content marketing specialist for Honeywell Aerospace.

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  • Ashwin

    Great article Kathryn! Being a aero-engine performance engineer myself, I can appreciate how crucial performance and reliability aspects of the APU are. Now with IoT and predictive maintenance in the picture this product is an even more compelling buy! Cheers, Ashwin.