US Airways Flight 1549, which miraculously landed in the Hudson River in 2009, traveled slowly through South Jersey on Sunday, surprising bystanders along the way.
"It's the strangest thing that's ever happened here," Don Bigley, owner of Ott's Tavern in Delran, said as the Airbus 320 went slowly down Bridgeboro Road.
It soon got stuck in Moorestown, delaying it for an hour, before going through Haddonfield and Westfield. It's expected to cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge on Monday en route to a North Carolina museum, where it will be housed as a piece of American history.
Accompanied by a phalanx of police cars and film crews, the damaged plane on Saturday was eased out of the J. Supor & Sons warehouse lot in Harrison, 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 cellphone pictures, the flatbed truck crossed the Passaic 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.
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 realized 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 on the wings of the slowly sinking plane.
The trip to the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte is expected to take about a week, according to museum president Shawn Dorsch, because 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 & Sons' website.
Sullenberger is scheduled to speak at a reception at the museum June 11 after the plane has arrived, according to Dorsch. Other flight crew members also are expected to attend, and Dorsch said he expected many of the passengers who were on the aborted flight to visit the plane over the next several months.
In a tour of the plane cabin in March, food trays could still be seen in their slots in the rear galley; those have since been removed, but the cabin has been preserved largely as it was on the day of its final flight.