Carolinas Aviation Museum – Part 2

The first part of our visit to the Carolinas Aviation Museum can be found here.

So, where were we? Oh yes! I was about to show you the main focal point of the museum. Would you like a few guesses first? This plane was part of an event that occurred a little over ten years ago. It was cold when this occurred. They made a movie about this event. This is the only exhibit of its kind. Do you have any guesses?

Bueller?… Bueller?

CAM UAW Exhibit 7-2-19

Can you believe that this happened over ten years ago?? It does not seem like it has been that long. January 15, 2009.

If you would like to refresh your memory, here is the Wikipedia article.

This display takes up a large portion of the indoor space. All of the displays that I showed you in my previous post were set up on the outskirts of the area where this display took center stage.

CAM UAW Plane 7-2-19

Yes. This is the actual plane that landed in the Hudson River. It was acquired by the museum in 2010. The destination for this flight had been Charlotte, so it’s only fitting that it finally arrived.

The museum does a very good job of explaining what happened and giving you more information so that you’re not just assuming things. In the picture you can see some tables to the right. They had placards with pictures that gave you more details. For instance, when you look at the airplane you see all kinds of marks and scratches.

CAM UAW Nose Not Bird Damage 7-2-19

If you didn’t know better you would think that this hole was created by one of the geese that struck the plane. The tables around the plane, however, point out which dents were created by the geese and the damage that was done while recovering the plane from the river and then transporting it on flatbeds across the country.

CAM UAW Left Engine Detached 7-2-19

This is where the left engine used to be mounted. It was detached during the ditching in the Hudson.

As soon as we saw the engine Jay’s eye went right to the telltale sign of damage. Can you spot it?

CAM UAW Left Engine 7-2-19

(No, not the sheet metal all curled up in front of the blades… that was caused by the ditching).

He was able to spot the bent fan blade.

CAM UAW Engine Blade Bent 7-2-19

Of course, he’s a former Navy pilot and Aviation enthusiast. I crochet and sew.

When the NTSB investigated the crash they found bird smear and had it tested. That’s how they knew that it had been Canada Geese that had struck the jet.

CAM UAW Bird Strike Fuselage 7-2-19

See the dent? That’s from a goose.

CAM UAW Bird Strikes to Wing 7-2-19

Some more dents.

The most fascinating part of this visit for Jay was being able to walk around and look with his own eyes to see what had happened to this jet. He loves to read the reports that the NTSB publishes after they finish an investigation, so to actually see it with his own eyes was a rare opportunity.

Yes, Jay reads the NTSB accident investigation reports. I watch videos on YouTube of people unboxing their yarn purchases. We all have our thing.

The great thing was being able to walk completely around the plane and see it at different angles.

CAM UAW Tail Damage 7-2-19

When Capt. “Sully” had crash-landed in the Hudson he had tried his best to set it down tail first, with the nose pointed up, so that he could minimize the chance that the plane would cartwheel and crash even worse. When he did that, it ripped apart the tail. In fact, you can’t see it in this picture, but standing there you could tell that there was not much left holding onto the horizontal stabilizer.

CAM UAW APU 7-2-19

One of the reasons why I enjoy visiting things like this with Jay is because I don’t have to read much of the signage. I have the authority on a lot of these matters standing next to me, ready to answer almost any weird question that I might have. This was sitting in the back, next to the tail. Jay peered really close and was amazed at what he saw. I had no idea what this mangle was that we were looking at, but Jay answered before I had a chance to ask. “That’s the APU,” he said while actually pointing it out to me.

Along one wall they had some wire racks that held various pieces of the airplane. I think we saw a potable water tank, pieces of a door, and other such miscellaneous parts. I didn’t take a picture because it was really dark in that area.

Near the back the museum had three different videos playing in a continuous loop. I can’t recall exactly what all of them were, but I know that one basically showed the flight, the crash and the rescue. Another one showed the recovery of the airplane. And I can’t recall what the third one was. We didn’t watch them because I think that Jay has probably already seen all of the footage in various locations.

I would just like to add that if you’ve seen the movie with Tom Hanks please keep in mind that the story was dramatized to make it really play out well on the silver screen. The movie makes it look like the NTSB was blaming Sully for crashing in the Hudson when he could have easily landed somewhere else. This was definitely not the case. The NTSB did a lot of extensive testing and came to the conclusion that without a doubt Sully made the right call and it was because of him that the crash wasn’t any worse.

CAM Charlotte Airport 7-2-19

After leaving the museum I asked Jay if it had been worth the trip. He said that it was. For him the highlight was being able to actually walk around the UAW jet.

This is a good museum if you already have some aviation interest or a background in aviation. It’s not a place that I would suggest you take the little kids. After climbing in and out of the displays a few times they will be bored. The gift shop is not going to keep them entertained, either. They had a few t-shirts, some posters, and books. If you’re looking for an inexpensive memento of your trip you won’t find it there. No magnets, no pens and no key chains.

I hope you enjoyed my little review on this museum and that it has spurred you to go learn more about one of the planes that I’ve mentioned.

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