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"Miracle on the Hudson" plane heads to museum

HARRISON, N.J. - This time the river crossing was a lot slower, and a lot drier.

The US Airways plane whose safe landing on the Hudson River captivated the world two years ago rolled out of a warehouse and across the Passaic River on Saturday morning to begin the trek to a North Carolina museum where it will become a piece of American history.

Accompanied by a phalanx of police cars and film crews, the damaged Airbus A320 eased out of the J. Supor and Sons warehouse lot where it has sat since the splashdown in January 2009 made its pilot, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, a national hero.

With traffic stopped and people rolling down their windows to take pictures with their cell phones, the flatbed truck crossed the river into Newark, took a left onto Route 21 South and then a right toward the heart of downtown. The caravan passed the Prudential Center Arena before turning onto Broad Street, the city's main drag, for a few blocks before heading southwest.

US Airways Flight 1549 was bound for Charlotte from New York on Jan. 15, 2009, when it struck a flock of geese after takeoff and lost power in both engines. Sullenberger considered trying to land at nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey but quickly recognized that would be too risky and elected to touch the plane down in the frigid Hudson.

Within minutes, rescue boats and commuter ferries arrived and eventually rescued all 155 passengers and crew. The riveting scene was captured in photographs showing passengers lined up along the wings of the slowly sinking plane.

Photos: Plane down in Hudson
Photos: Submerged jet pulled from river

The plane's trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Carolinas Aviation Museum is expected to take about a week, according to museum president Shawn Dorsch, since the 120-foot-long plane must take back roads to avoid obstacles such as tollbooths and overpasses. The wings were shipped separately.

Four hours after it left Harrison the plane had gone about 25 miles to Piscataway, just north of the Rutgers University campus, according to a tracker on Supor and Sons' website.

AP Photo/Steven Day

Airline passengers wait to be rescued on the wings of a US Airways Airbus 320 jetliner that safely ditched in the frigid waters of the Hudson River in New York, Jan. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Steven Day)

Sullenberger is scheduled to speak at a reception at the museum on June 11 after the plane has arrived, according to Dorsch. Other flight crew members also are expected to attend, and Dorsch said he expects many passengers to visit the plane over the next several months.

In a tour of the plane's cabin in March, food trays could still be seen in their slots in the plane's rear galley; those have since been removed, but the cabin has been preserved largely as it was on the day of its final flight.

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