RUSH: The crash yesterday of that Airbus 320, US Airways, people who have watched the coverage of this, I’m sure that you have been told how unlikely such an event is, a ditching in the Hudson River, icy waters, 20 degree temperatures, wind chill about nine degrees, everybody survives. I don’t think people understand how miraculous, and I don’t even know if you’d call it a miracle. A lot of people want to, but this was human skill that made this happen, from the pilot, to the copilot, to the flight attendants. I’ve heard a number of passengers on that plane say that there was hardly any panic. There was some fright, there was some screaming, but there was an orderly procession out the exit doors, the emergency exit doors in the front and rear. The manufacturer of that airplane, I don’t know how many of you were wondering this. I myself was, and I was not getting in information from the Drive-Bys yesterday afternoon and last night while watching this. How did that airplane stay afloat for so long? I mean, that is unusual as well. Now, it came in, obviously, with the landing gear retracted so those doors were closed, but there is a switch, this airplane has a switch in the cockpit called a ditch switch. For those of you who voted for Obama, landing on water is called ditching.
The ditch switch closes all of the outflow valves, air outflow valves, just closes them all off. I am sure there were some pockets of air in the bulkheads, in the cargo hold, also probably in the insulation, maybe in the overheads, and of course the arrival of the first responders, many of them private citizens. I know Mayor Bloomberg held a ceremony congratulating everybody, New York agencies worked — and they did, I’m not taking anything away from anybody, because this is one of the first successful government involved rescues, quote, unquote, that I can remember being so successful. Our financial rescues, as you know, have not worked. Now, I got an e-mail from my good friend Mark Hasara, retired US Air Force, nickname Sluggo, he is the man who flew with his colleagues the American flag unbeknownst to me in my honor in the original bombing runs attacking Iraq in 2003, and here’s what he wrote me.
‘Sir Rush –‘ he calls me Sir ‘– my congratulations to all the passengers of Flight 1549. This incident shows how well the aircrews are trained, though. Incredible skill level of the flight crew, pilots and flight attendants, needs to be emphasized here. A lot of networks are talking about Chesley Sullenberger, and he does deserve all the accolades he’s getting, but his first officer and the flight attendants should also. There in the back of the jet they’re getting the passengers ready for what’s about to happen and getting them out of a tube filling with very cold water. It is all about training and what is ingrained in your head from mission planning to mission debrief.’
Now, Mr. Hasara, Colonel Hasara flew tankers, the military equivalent of the DC-10, and a number of other tankers, he was a refueling pilot. He’s flown countless types of aircraft. He said training is second nature. ‘Training is second nature. You are the most surprised when it actually does happen.’ And, by the way, the pilot is saying most airline pilots go through their entire careers without an incident, so Colonel Hasara here is correct, the training is second nature, and the training includes reaction. All this happens in simulators, by the way, for certification, recertification, initial training, but you’re the most surprised when it actually does happen to you. ‘We used to say you don’t want to get in a situation where you have to use your superior flying skills to get you out of a bad situation that your superior flying skills got you into in the first place. I do not know how many birds I have hit in my 24 1/2 years flying in the Air Force. A Canada goose is a big bird. Now, these engines on the Airbus 320 have to be able to withstand a four-pound bird being ingested in the engine, and they can, but a goose weighs a lot more than four pounds.’ A goose wrecked both these engines, or multiple geese did.
Colonel Hasara says the fact that everybody is alive is a miracle, and he praises the pilot for doing everything he could to avoid Manhattan or Queens or any of the boroughs and to ditch this thing in the Hudson River. ‘We track bird strikes in the US, by the way. The KC-135, which is the military equivalent of the 707, has CFM-56 engines like the A-320, so I’m very familiar with these engines. I have only had to shut down a CFM-56 engine on my KC-135 twice. They’re very reliable engines, but not with geese banging around in them.’ And then he began to describe some of his experiences and what the procedures are when you get a bird strike. But congratulations to everybody involved. It was an amazing thing to watch yesterday, particularly with that plane staying afloat, even with all the passengers, or a number of them, standing on the wings. Now, Snerdley here is getting sarcastic right off the bat on Open Line Friday, sends me a little note here. ‘So, Rush, this is just the beginning of the miracles?’ I had to go to a dinner party last night at eight o’clock, and it was one of these things where I got to stir things up. I always love those kind of dinner parties, and I threw it out to the table, ‘How long is it going to be before the successful, miraculous rescue is tied to the hope and change agenda of Barack Obama, that all the people involved were so inspired about the upcoming inauguration of Obama that they were doing above their normal level of excellence work?’
This infuriated people, by the way. I was doing this via e-mail with some friends. After about three hours of watching this, I sent some e-mail to my friends, and I said, ‘There’s an element here being left out and totally ignored. The geese. The geese.’ Well, you know, here’s what PETA would say, and I’ll bet you that half the state of California feels this way. I’ll bet you that there are a lot of animal rights wackos who are extremely conflicted about this. After all, God made the sky for birds, not us. Those birds yesterday and a lot of other birds would be alive today if not for us invading geese space. It’s just another example of man invading and altering a pristine environment. Damn us. I guarantee you there’s some animal rights wackos out there that are truly conflicted. And, lo and behold, it didn’t take long, TIME Magazine this morning. Headline: ‘The Growing Hazard of Bird Strikes.’ There’s not a growing hazard. We could go back from 1960 forward and calculate bird strikes and find that it’s cyclical. Some airports actually put scarecrows out there, they play noise, they do anything they can do. JFK has done it in the past, I don’t know if they still do, to try to get flocks of birds out of there. And the animal rights people have objected!
‘The Growing Hazard of Bird Strikes.’ Here’s the relevant paragraph: ‘While officials use radar and radio collars to track bird populations, habitat destruction and climate change have disrupted migratory patterns.’ In other words, were it not for climate change and global warming those geese yesterday may have been nowhere near where they were. It is our fault. It is the fault of man that this accident happened yesterday. Migratory patterns are changing because of climate change, and the poor geese, I mean they hear the plane coming and there’s nothing they can do about it. Honest to God, there it is. ‘Commercial airports like New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, meanwhile, have gotten just as creative: Hawks and falcons, which fly solo and are therefore less dangerous, are released near runways to scare flocks of sea gulls and geese. Other airports hunt and destroy bird nests and eggs.’ Now, you wait, you wait until PETA hears about this.
RUSH: This is Chuck Schumer last night on WNBC television news, Channel 4, New York. The anchor, Jonathan Dean, says, ‘The NTSB has a go team arriving at Reagan International. Senator, can you walk us through a bit of the procedure on how the NTSB will move forward to try to determine a cause for the US Air flight that crashed in the Hudson?’
SCHUMER: Automatically when there is a crash like this, the NTSB does a full-fledged investigation. We’ll have to wait and see what they have to say, but if not too soon, I’m going to be calling the Secretary. You know, she — I spoke to her in the middle of all this and I said I’d call here this evening and talk to her about the future, and I intend to do that, in terms of what can be done about these geese.
RUSH: Well, that’s wonderful news to hear the Senator from New York is going to see what he can do about the geese. Apparently, there’s nothing we can do about the geese except global warming because TIME Magazine has a story today: We caused this! Climate change, global warming. We have destroyed the migratory patterns of the geese. (interruption) Well, you can send Cheney up with a gun, but what do you fire at? I mean, I guarantee you if Dick Cheney goes up there and starts shooting at geese, it’s going to be a far different reaction than if a goose flies into a jet engine. No, we’re causing this, folks. We have created a problem for these geese. God created the sky for birds, not us. We have invaded a pristine environment not intended for us. We have altered that space known as ‘Geese Space,’ and until we reverse our evil ways, this is going to continue to happen. I mean, that’s what some animal rights wackos are thinking. Half of California thinks that. Half of California thinks that we are responsible! They feel sorry for the geese here.
RUSH: This is interesting, ladies and gentlemen. A website called Poynter Online has a little post today under Al’s Morning Meeting: ‘Why the Number of Aircraft Bird Strikes Is Increasing — The reason why the US Airways jet ditched in the Hudson River Thursday afternoon has not yet been confirmed, though it may have been because of a bird strike. As msnbc.com’s Bill Dedman reports, bird strikes are fairly common and often injurious to even very large aircraft: ‘… Dr. Richard A. Dolbeer told msnbc.com that such bird-aircraft collisions are on the rise.” Now, they may be, and I think they’ve got stats for this, but I don’t remember a bird collision in recent years bringing down an airplane, do you? I mean, it’s not like we’ve heard it. Anyway, here’s what the experts say.
”The key thing is that we’ve seen a remarkable increase in populations of many or most large birds — birds such as great blue heron, osprey, bald eagle, snow goose, Canada goose,’ said [Dr. Richard A.] Dolbeer, a retired ornithologist with the Department of Agriculture at the Wildlife Services in Sandusky, Ohio. ‘These populations are increasing because we’ve done a really good job of wildlife conservation in North America for many species, because we’ve cleaned up the environment,” the wackos aren’t going to like that. We’ve ”gotten rid of DDT,” yeah, and it spread malaria in Africa as a result. We have ”enacted the Clean Water Act. All good things, but because of these, we’ve had incredible surges of many species that are hazardous to aviation.”
See, this is what offends me. Who were the original aviators? Birds! How can the original aviators be responsible and hazardous to aviation? Man can’t fly without artificially doing it. Birds can. They’re the original aviators. This is a little minor sore spot. ‘At the same time, these species have adapted to being around people in all of our activities.’ Well, I guess they haven’t figured out they die when they get close to jets in the air, have they, Mr. Dolbeer? Bottom line here, ladies and gentlemen, is that the wackos, the environmentalists, are thus responsible for this; not new migration patterns or whatever. Too many birds. Too many birds. We’ve done too good a job of conservation. Now, the wackos would say, ‘There can’t be too many birds. Birds, animals, and nature are pristine. It’s humans that are too numerous, and airplanes that humans make in the sky are what’s too numerous. The birds own the skies. They were the original aviators — and they don’t use oil to fly, either!’ That’s what half of California is thinking, and half of a lot of other wacko leftist states.