Cover Story: Just plane neat

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The slow road to Charlotte.

From New Jersey, en route to North Carolina people are lining the streets to see the biggest part of Flight 1549 as it rolls through town on a flat-bed truck.

The miracle plane is on its final approach to Charlotte, finally.

Two and a half years after it splash-landed in the Hudson River, the U-S Airways jet is almost here.

It's taking the long way because it's not exactly easy to move a plane on a truck.

Monday, rolling through Maryland.  There have been bumps in the road. It got stuck in New Jersey, Sunday.

And just about every town Flight 1549 rolls into there's a great, big street party.

Why are people so excited to catch a glimpse of this plane?

Right now, you can go out to any airport anywhere in the country and literally find dozens of Airbus 320s, which is what this plane is.

Why does this one, this A320, capture our attention so?

Shawn Dorsch, the Carolinas Aviation Museum President, believes it captures the human spirit.

"I got to tell ya the British did not have this many people waiting for George Washington when he crossed the Delaware. It's truly impressive," Dorsch told us by phone just as the so-called Miracle on the Hudson plane was crossing the Delaware River into Maryland.

The trek is being documented every which way but loose by tens of thousands of people lining the route - wanting to see what many consider the most famous plane in aviation crash history.

The fuselage, 120-feet long, is being hauled by a specially-built 140-foot long trailer that takes two drivers to operate.  It pulled out Saturday morning from the Newark, New Jersey warehouse where it's been kept for the last two and a half years.

There's no shortage of stares.

"I didn't think I was going to see an airplane on 21," said Brian Bromborsky, a driver in New Jersey on Saturday/

They've been able to go only about 7 miles an hour through towns - sometimes even slower.

Sunday, in Moorestown, New Jersey they got stuck.  It took them an hour and a half to round a corner.

It so happened the delay coincided with a street festival the city was having.

"We had a cameraman taking pictures and people started putting their hands up in the air doing the wave around the airplane. It was absolutely amazing. It became like a giant party on a Sunday afternoon," Dorsch said.

J. Super and Sons (which specializes in these types of big hauls) has on its website a map that tells where the Flight 1549 plane is at any given moment.

Monday they were in Maryland, north of Baltimore.

Once they reach Baltimore, they're going to go west on Interstate 70.  Then hook up with I-68.  Take I-79 south through West Virginia.  Finally onto I-77 which brings them right into Charlotte.

They're planning to meet thousands more people along the way.

There's an attraction to this airplane that may be hard to explain.  Maybe it's because it's a plane that any one of us could have been on.

"It's something that people can kind of understand I think and connect with. I think the entire story of 1549 is something that really represents the very heights of human heroism and technological achievements," said Dorsch.

And for many people it represents one of the most uplifting moments.  Do you remember when it happened?

It was on a cold January day in 2009 - during the height of The Great Recession.

The Miracle on the Hudson uplifted a lot of peoples' spirits that day and was one bright spot in a bleak time in our recent history.

It can change, but the entourage (there are 40 vehicles in the convoy) is expected to arrive here in Charlotte by Friday morning - in time for a big dedication Saturday at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.

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