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Home > Ditching > A320 ditching onto the Hudson River - what powers the hydraulics?
A320 ditching onto the Hudson River - what powers the hydraulics?
Flying - Ditching
Written by Capt Lim   
Friday, 16 January 2009 19:28
Hi Captain Lim,

In yesterday's ditching of the US Airways A320 into the Hudson River, what allowed the hydraulic system to operate if both engines were off?

Rick Dell

Hi Rick,

When both the engines were off, a ram air turbine (RAT) would automatically drop out from the belly of the Airbus A320 to power the hydraulic pumps.

The RAT consists of a propeller that is spun by the high-speed air flowing past the aircraft. The spinning propeller powers a turbine that provides the emergency electricity needed to keep critical systems running, such as hydraulics.

In normal flight, the entire assembly is folded up and stored in the aircraft fuselage or wing.

You can see two videos of the incident below:


US Airways Airbus A320 Flight 1549 Crash Landing-- Part 1



US Airways Airbus A320 Flight 1549 Crash Landing-- Part 2


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