How did the controls work in the Hudson River "landing"

Once the plane lost power in the engines, would the controls; alierons, rudder, etc, be harder to work? Sort of like power steering in a car that stalls?

If so, that just makes the work of the pilot and copilot more impressive.

Great job, Captain Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeff Skiles.

The control surfaces of modern airliners are all powered by the hydraulic system of the aircraft. I’m sure not about the A320 specifically, but I think many twin-engined airliners have what is called a “ram air turbine” just for this scenario. When it is deployed, it windmills in the slipstream to help power the hydraulic and electrical systems. I don’t know how effective it is, though…

The Waffle is correct. IANA Airbus pilot but I believe the control surfaces are hydraulically powered and electrically activated. There is no direct mechanical input from the flight deck controls to the rudder, ailerons, elevator etc, rather the pilot uses the sidestick to tell the aeroplane what he wants to do and the aeroplane then commands the appropriate response from the control surfaces. This is the essence of “fly by wire”.

Airliners have to have several levels of redundancy such that there is no single failure that would render any major system inoperative. The most important systems such as hydraulics and electrics are designed to cope with multiple failures. Off the top of my head, a generic hydraulic system on an airliner may be primarily powered by mechanical engine driven pumps and backed up by electrical pumps, there may be further back up in the form of the RAT mentioned by Waffle Decider, and/or from the auxiliary power unit (APU). The APU is a small turbine engine fitted inside the tail of the aeroplane and in some aircraft is able to provide electrical power in flight.

To answer your specific question, as the sidestick controls on the Airbus are not mechanically linked to the control surfaces, there should be no difference in “feel” for control failures unless it has been specifically designed in or whatever provides the artificial feel has failed.

The APU is primarily used to provide the ‘cranking power’ to start the engines. While at the terminal, it also provides HVAC and other anciliiary power until the engines start. On a 320, the APU is shut down prior to take off.

I believe that the 320 some kind of hydralic accumulators that pressurize and keep the systems working for a while.

If one wants an account of the use of a ram air turbine read an account of the Gimli Glider incident. What controls they had were because of the power supplied by the ram air turbine. From my reading it seems that the RAT had some real problems with providing power to the craft through landing, because it couldn’t deliver enough power as airspeed dropped.