"We're gonna be in the Hudson" are the last words heard from US Airways 1549 Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger in chilling air traffic control recordings released by the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday. Flight US 1549, referred to on the tapes as "Cactus 1549," struck a flock of birds on takeoff from LaGuardia airport on the afteroon of January 15, 2009. The plane ditched in the Hudson River just west of Manhattan and all 155 passengers and crew on board survived in an incident that has been dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson."


Following the bird strike, Capt. Sullenberger can be heard on the recording in a calm voice saying "This is, uh, Cactus 1539. Hit birds, we lost thrust in both engines. We're turning back towards LaGuardia." Seconds later, when given a heading and a clear runway for LaGuardia, he replies simply, "Unable."

The option of landing at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey is discussed as a second option. Capt. Sullenberger responds, "We can't do it. We're gonna be in the Hudson." and then radar contact is lost with the plane. The controller then offers Newark Airport as a third option but there is no further response from Cactus 1549.

The interactions on the recording are calm and measured, with the only real hint of tension being confusion over the flight number. US 1549 is referred to on the tape at various times as Cactus 1549, 1539, and 1529, with both the controller and Capt. Sullenberger using the wrong flight number at times.

New York Tracon Audio (MP3, 18.77 MB)
New York Tracon Transcript (PDF, 309 KB)
Teterboro Tower Audio (MP3, 40.85 MB)
Teterboro Tower Transcripts Local Control (PDF, 533 KB)
Teterboro Tower Transcripts Area Supervisor (PDF, 116 KB)

LaGuardia Tower Audio and Transcripts
Clearance Delivery Position Audio (MP3, 19.46 MB)
Clearance Delivery Position Transcript (PDF, 74 KB)
Ground Control Position Audio (MP3, 25.85 MB)
Ground Control Position Transcript (PDF, 1.04 MB)
Local Control Position Audio (MP3, 24.14 MB)
Local Control Position Transcript (PDF, 1.17 MB)
Class Bravo Airspace Position Audio (MP3, 42.33 MB)
Class Bravo Airspace Position Transcript (PDF, 100 KB)
Cab Coordinator Position Audio (MP3, 37.73 MB)
Cab Coordinator Position Transcript (PDF, 1.03 MB)
Air Traffic Information System (ATIS) Audio (MP3, 2.71 MB)