Friday, January 16, 2009

US Airways Considered Teterboro Airport as Possible Emergency Landing Site

Apparently the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus A320 headed from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina considered the possibility of making an emergency landing at Teterboro Airport (TEB) located a few short air miles from the site where the craft made a successful water landing in the Hudson River off of the Westside of Midtown Manhattan.

Considering the size of the airbus A320 I am uncertain if it would be able to land safely within the perimeter of Teterboro Airport even under ideal conditions. But to consider such a landing under the conditions of a double flameout is, in my view, unthinkable. Clearly without full reverse thrust there would be little room for error.

The facility which is owned and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is a small diverter airport which handles a considerable amount of charter and corporate air traffic. It is a cross runway field within a heavily congested area.

The runways of Teterboro Airport are numbered 1/19 and 6/24. Runway 1 is approached from the Southwest ending at the termination of the field at the Arrestor Bed at Route 46. Sharing that landing strip is Runway 19; approach is from the Northeast ending at the arrestor bed at Moonachie Avenue. The strip length is 7000 feet by 150 feet.

The cross runway is 6/24. Runway 6 is approached from the South ending at the open field and the intersection of Route 46 and Industrial Avenue. Runway 24 is approached from the North directly over Hackensack University Medical Center ending at the steel barricade at the intersection of Moonachie Avenue and Redneck Avenue. The strip is 6013 feet by 150 feet.

The pilot and crew did an outstanding job in bringing this craft down in the Hudson River while avoiding serious injury or death. This incident could have been a major disaster in view of the density of the population below.

If anything it shows just how delicate a balance exists between the airline industry, the needs of the flying public and the communities which live under this airspace. More needs to be written by the investigative journalists in South Bergen and North Hudson Counties on what part Teterboro plays, and is capable of playing, in such emergencies.

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