Hey, guys! My husband and I are in the middle of a move from Washington D.C. to Florida. We made a stop in Charlotte, NC last night because we wanted to visit the Carolinas Aviation Museum.
The Carolinas Aviation Museum is home of the “Miracle on the Hudson” US Airways plane that landed in the Hudson River.
If you don’t know the story, the plane was piloted by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who safely landed the plane into the Hudson River after striking a flock of Canada Geese that caused both engines to fail less than two minutes after taking off from LaGuardia Airport. All 155 people on board survived. Captain Sullenberger became a national hero after remaining calm and skillfully landing the aircraft in the water. He also checked the plane twice to make sure no one was left behind. Not many people know that Captain Sullenberger graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and spent his military carrier flying F-4’s before retiring and becoming a commercial airline pilot. I too attended the Air Force Academy as an undergraduate student and was there at the time the landing on the Hudson River occurred. Shortly after the incident, Captain Sullenberger visited the Academy as a Distinguished Visitor and I had the opportunity to listen to him speak that night. I was taken back by how humble and soft spoken he is. He didn’t discuss too much about the events of that day, most likely because it was still under investigation, but he said multiple times that he is not a hero and that he was just doing his job. He is the true definition of a leader and a national hero. I have always admired him after having the opportunity to listen to him speak and knew I wanted to visit the museum on our way to Florida. The museum itself is very small. All of the airplanes on display fit inside of one hanger. The museum opened at 10 AM and tickets were $8 each for active military and students. Regular adult tickets are $12. The entrance of the museum contained a replica of the airplane flown by the Wright Brothers. Of course the main attraction in the museum is the US Airways plane which is in the center of the hanger.
There are several displays and exhibits that contain pieces recovered from the crash to include pieces of luggage. The uniforms worn by the pilot and co-pilot are also on display.
The damage to the plane is evident. One of the employees at the museum told us the ice in the river caused most of the damage. However, some of the damage was not caused from landing in the river. Some pieces had been removed during the investigation process. The museum even had a life raft next to the plane that you could sit on. Since the museum was small, it took us less than two hours to walk through.
The gift shop is also small, but had plenty of trinkets you could buy to commemorate your visit. If you’re in the Charlotte area, I would highly recommend making a stop at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. The “Miracle on the Hudson” is a unique part of history and is worth the visit if you get the chance!