Clare Rizer, Luquire
“Miracle on the Hudson” on the Move: Famed Plane Lands at Final Home, Sullenberger Aviation Museum’s Brand-New, State-of-the-Art Gallery
Installation marks crucial step in museum’s journey as five-year re-imagining project continues
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Nov. 9, 2023) – Sullenberger Aviation Museum, the premier aviation museum of the Southeast, announced today it has begun the process of moving its collection of 40 authentic commercial, civil and military aircraft – including the crown jewel of its collection, the Airbus A320 from US Airways Flight 1549, better known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” – into its 35,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art main exhibit gallery and innovation hub adjacent to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The move marks a key next step in the museum’s transformation and comes on the heels of another recent milestone for the Smithsonian affiliate, whose name honors the pilot of that heroic flight, Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger. Last month, the museum unveiled its new logo and visual identity honoring its reimagined mission to inspire, educate and elevate the next generation of innovators.
The famed “Miracle on the Hudson” plane was transported and reassembled to its exhibit-ready state by the museum’s team of Collections staff and volunteers and New Jersey-based J Supor & Son, the original team that provided specialized recovery efforts to remove the plane from New York’s Hudson River and later transported it to Charlotte from New Jersey in 2011 – a substantial feat, considering the size of the airframe and the importance of preserving its historical condition.
Once the museum opens, the fully immersive “Miracle on the Hudson” exhibit will include salvaged passenger and crew items like beverage carts, life preservers and luggage, alongside a theatrical experience featuring a large multimedia screen where visitors will be taken through the journey of Flight 1549, beginning with the plane taking off from LaGuardia Airport and ending with the extensive news coverage of the day and subsequent investigation into its engine failure.
“The Sullenberger Aviation Museum has for more than a decade played a crucial role in preserving the history of one of our country’s most iconic aviation events representing the indomitable human spirit and an unyielding dedication to passenger safety,” said Sullenberger Aviation Museum President Stephen Saucier. “But our reimagined ’Miracle on the Hudson’ exhibit isn’t just recounting the past; it’s a catalyst for the future. The Sullenberger Aviation Museum aims to ignite the dreams of aspiring aviators, engineers and innovators who will inherit and perpetuate Capt. Sullenberger’s legacy of excellence, heroism and courage.”
Other notable aircraft that have also moved into the museum’s Main Gallery include a replica of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s original Wright Flyer plane; a Vietnam-era F-4S Phantom II; one of only two existing Skystreak planes used to test breaking the sound barrier; and a TV-1, America’s first operational jet fighter. Each aircraft’s exhibit will feature a tablet installed with immersive augmented reality (AR) technology where guests can piece together each aircraft’s unique journey.
For video footage of the “Miracle on the Hudson” plane being cleaned and moved into the museum’s gallery, click here. For more information on the Sullenberger Aviation Museum and to be informed of other key milestones leading up to the museum’s opening in summer 2024, visit www.sullenbergeraviation.org.
About Sullenberger Aviation Museum
Sullenberger Aviation Museum, renamed in honor of Capt. C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, aims to Inspire, Educate and Elevate by re-imagining the greater Charlotte region as a hub for aviation and STEM innovation and creating more diversity and economic mobility by inspiring and empowering the next generation to pursue careers in STEM, aerospace and aviation. A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum receives support from the Infusion Fund, a partnership between the City of Charlotte, Foundation For The Carolinas and generous donors to support the arts and cultural sector. For more information, visit www.sullenbergeraviation.org.