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Afraid of flying? Maybe skip this one.

Published November 14, 2022

Our latest Video Rewind is a round we came up with called “Outer Hanks.” We got inspired because one of our writers said, “You know, Tom Hanks is on a boat in like every movie, ever.” After a vigorous fact check, that writer was pretty much correct. We found sixteen of ‘em. Yeah, you read that right: Sixteen movies where we found Hanks on some sort of water conveyance. One of those conveyances was actually a plane in the Hudson River from his turn as the title character in “Sully.” Obviously, that got us thinking about plane crashes because we’re totally normal and went down a rabbit hole about plane crashes and museums. Again, all totally normal behavior. Journey with us, won’t you?

Perhaps for obvious reasons, there aren’t many museums dedicated to plane crashes. The Museo Andes 1972 in Montevideo, Uruguay, tells the harrowing story of the plane that went down in the Andes in October of that year, and of the 16 people who somehow endured 72 days of “horror, pain, hunger [and] desperation” before being rescued. 

Japan Airlines (JAL) has a Safety Promotion Center near Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and, in addition to detailing the history of airline safety, it also displays the mangled fuselage, cockpit voice recorder, and other debris from the crash of JAL Flight 123. The Boeing 747 went down in August 1985, killing 520 passengers and crew members onboard. It remains the deadliest single-aircraft incident of all time. All Nippon Airways (ANA) also operates a similar Safety Education Center, which was established in 2006 “to ensure past accidents were never forgotten.”

“In [the] face of the pain and grief of the bereaved families and public distrust in airline safety, we pledged that we would never again allow such a tragic accident to occur,” JAL wrote on the Center’s website. “We opened the Safety Promotion Center on April 24, 2006 to reconfirm the importance of flight safety and to embed in our minds the lessons learned from this accident.” 

A visit to JAL’s Safety Promotion Center is what led Shawn Dorsch, the President of the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, to acquire the Airbus A320 that Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger unforgettably landed on the Hudson River in 2009. 

“When I saw [the Safety Center], I realized that [US Airways Flight] 1549 was an international aviation icon,” Dorsch said. “For me, having it in the museum would give the opportunity to tell something much bigger than the event itself.”

The Museum — which is temporarily closed — did obtain and display the entire A320 plane, and around 74,000 visitors came to see the aircraft every year. In January, the Museum announced that it would be renamed in honor of Sullenberger. It plans to reopen in 2023. 

Check the Video Rewind here:

Featured image courtesy of: Greg L., Creative Commons Attribution 2.0