Jet University Flight School Information

The Official Publication of the Jet University Student Alumni Association

National Transportation Safety Board Report

The National Transportation Safety Board completed their report on flight 1549.  The report contains over 200 pages of information regarding this flight.  For pilots, this report will help you understand what happened and hopefully make us all better pilots.  it will also give you some insight into how the NTSB conducts their investigations. As a professional pilot you should be aware of how this all works.  The link is below:



This is an incredible simulation of what happened on flight 1549.  ATC sounds and altimeter are included!





US Airways Flight 1549 House Subcommittee meeting video

February 24, 2009.  The House Subcommittee held a hearing to receive testimony from the USAirways crew as well as the air traffic controller involved in the incident.

It is interesting to not that the captain had a few interesting things to say about new pilots, current training and airline working conditions.  Here is the link to the hearing and video:




US Air Hudson River Flight 1549 ATC Audio here!


As you all know by now USAir flight 1549 made a water ditching in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009. 

There is no doubt that this incredible water landing will be studied in flight training centers for many years to come.

Here is a link to the ATC audio for US Air flight 1549:



We wondered how many other "flight 1549's" there have been?

A water landing (or water ditching) is not something you see every day.  We wondered how many other fully survivable water ditching there might have been.  It turns out there have been several. 

One of the more obscure water landings that all passengers and crew survived was Japan Airlines flight 2 on November 22, 1968.  A DC-8 from Tokyo to San Francisco landed in the water 2.5 miles south of the SFO airport.

Here is the Wikipeda information on that flight:

Japan Airlines Flight 2 was a flight that was piloted by Captain Kohei Asoh on November 22, 1968. The DC-8 plane was scheduled to land at San Francisco International Airport but due to heavy fog and other factors, Asoh mistakenly landed the plane in the waters of San Francisco Bay, two and a half miles short of the runway. None of the 96 passengers or 11 crew were killed or injured in the mishap, and the plane was eventually recovered and refurbished for service. Asoh had served as a flight instructor in the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War and was a 15-year veteran of JAL. He had almost 9,800 hours of flight experience at the time of the accident.

This lead to the famous "Asoh defense"

In his 1988 book The Abilene Paradox, author Jerry Harvey claimed that Asoh, when asked how he had managed to land the aircraft in the bay, replied "Asoh fuck up."

Harvey termed this frank acceptance of blame the "Asoh defense", and the story and term have been taken up by a number of other management theorists 

Then there is the rest of the story!

The DC8 plane had only been in service a few months.  Writer Richard Silagi picks up the "awe inspiring pilot bedtime story" of what happened to the downed plane: (from

The DC-8 that was too young to die!

By Richard Silagi
     March 9, 2001

Not too many airliners have survived crash landings at off airport locations and have lived to fly again. This is the story of one such crash survivor.




On November 22nd 1968, Japan Air flight #2 was nearing the end of a routine flight from Tokyo to San Francisco. Captain Kohhei Asoh, a 15 year JAL veteran, was in command of the flight which was being operated with a new DC-8-62. JA8032 (msn # 45954) had rolled off the Douglas assembly line in April of 1968 and had been in service with JAL for only four months.

As Captain Asoh was approaching SFO at approximately 9:30 am, the weather at SFO was reported to be "ceiling indefinite, 300 ft (90 m) overcast, sky partially obscured, 3/4 mile (1.2 km) visibility with fog". The airport's minimums at the time were, 200 ft (60 m) ceiling and 1/2 mile (0.8 km) visibility. Other aircraft had been landing ahead of JAL #2 without incident at the rate of about 8 to 10 an hour.

According to the NTSB, Capt. Asoh said that he was making a coupled approach, but because of problems with his pressure altimeter, he was relying on the more accurate radio altimeter for verification of altitude. Capt. Asoh set the radio altimeter to give a light at a decision height of 211 ft (63.3 m). When the light blinked on, Capt. Asoh looked up expecting to be at about 200 ft (60 m) and heading for 28L.

Instead, he was nearly in the waters of San Francisco Bay. He applied power, which raised the nose somewhat, and then the right main landing gear hit the water, followed by the left, and then the aircraft slewed to the left. Capt. Asoh cut power the aircraft settled into the shallow waters of San Francisco Bay.

The aircraft hit the water slightly nose-up, about 500 yards (450 m) from the Coyote Point Yacht Harbor and a couple miles short of the runway, in about 9 ft (3 m) of water. Once the plane came to a stop, it started to sink. The plane finally came to a stop when the landing gear settled into the mud at the bottom of the bay, and the rising water stopped just short of the bottom sills of the cabin doors. Luckily all of the passengers and crew members escaped the incident without injury. According local newspaper reports of the incident, most passengers did not even get their feet wet!

One interesting factor which may not have caused the crash, but did not help prevent it, was that the FAA had just recently decommissioned and removed the Precision Approach Radar (PAR) system at SFO. Had that equipment still been operational, the controllers in the tower could have alerted the crew to their low approach. Apparently the FAA had decided to remove the outdated system since very few airlines were still using it.

Two days after the crash, crews from Bigge Drayage Co. and Air International Recovery hoisted the plane out of the water with large floating cranes and placed the plane on a large barge. As soon as the plane was out of the salt water of San Francisco Bay, crews started washing down the plane with fresh water to help prevent corrosion. The plane was then taken by barge to United Airline's maintenance base at SFO.

When the plane arrived at UAL's overhaul dock, the cabin interior and lower fuselage compartments were stripped and flushed with additional gallons of fresh water and the aircraft was treated with chemicals and oils in an effort to prevent corrosion.

Once the anti-corrosions measures were completed, crews started to analyze the damage the aircraft. Maintenance crews discovered that the aircraft had surprisingly suffered little structural damage. Since the aircraft was new and had accumulated only 1,700 flight hours prior to the crash, airline officials determined that it would be cost effective to repair the aircraft instead of scrapping it.

United Airlines maintenance crews then spent the next four months repairing the aircraft. First, all 36 miles (57.6 km) of wiring was replaced at a cost of about $220,000. All of the flight and engine control cables were also replaced. Other major repair items to the aircraft included:

  • Replacement of two engine pylons at a cost of $125,000 each, plus repairs to a third.
  • Removal, reworking, and corrosion treatment of control surfaces. The left outboard flap was replaced at a cost of $52,500, as well as both inboard flaps, for $21,400.
  • Replacement of left landing gear cylinder and bogie for $53,000.
  • Replacement of aft galley units at a cost of $100,000.

In addition, all hydraulic units, as well as 90% of the pneumatic and air conditioning systems, were removed and repaired or replaced. All instrument panels were removed and instruments tested. Fuel valves and pumps were removed, fuel tanks were flushed and samples taken to make sure no salt was present.

Four months later, after 52,000 man hours, and a $4-million repair bill, JA8032 completed a 10 minute test flight on March 26th, 1969. On March 31st 1969, the plane was returned to JAL.

The plane continued to fly for Japan Airlines for 14 more years until it was sold in March 1983 to Air ABC and reregistered as TF-BBF. In May of 1983 the plane was leased to Hamzair until December 1983 when it was returned to Air ABC. In July of 1984 it was sold to Okada Air of Nigeria and reregistered as 5N-AON. A few years later, in April of 1987 the plane was purchased by Airbone Express and reregistered as N808AX. Currently this plane is still a member of the Airborne Express fleet, and is still flying 32 years after the crash!


I guess the airline officials made a wise decision to spend the money repairing it instead of sending it to the scrap heap. Obviously this plane was too young to die.

Written by
Richard Silagi