The same day that the government approved huge increases in flights over London, an Airbus crashed into the Hudson River near New York City. There was a lucky escape for 150 passengers and the pilot is being widely praised for his deft flying abilities.
This got me thinking.... What might have happened if this plane had taken off from Heathrow (or more specifically, the 3rd runway)? Where in the South East would the plane have come down?
Let's have a look shall we?
For starters I checked the flightpath of US Airways 1549. From this map, I measured 2 distances:
- Distance 1 - This is the total distance flown from LaGuardia Airport to the plane's eventual crash site in the Hudson River. Using some simple maths and a ruler I estimate this to be approximately 16.4 miles
- Distance 2 - This is the straight-line distance from takeoff to crash site. I estimate this to be approximately 6.5 miles
Using "Distance 1" from our example...
- If the plane were taking off in a Westerly direction, then the crash site could be somewhere near Farnborough, Wokingham or even High Wycombe.
- If the plane were taking off in an Easterly direction, then we'd be looking at a direct hit on an area such as Shoreditch, Whitechapel, Highbury or Bermondsey
And the consequences of a plane coming down in central London don't bear thinking about...