Comparing crash landings!

In this post we take a look at some nice language comparing two crash landings in which all passengers and crew survived! (full news story here).


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How does the Russian crash differ from the Hudson River landing?

The New York drama was turned into a movie, ‘Sully – Miracle on the Hudson’, and the Moscow flight could well be similarly immortalised.

Russian pilots interviewed by BBC Russian spoke of some significant differences, although both flights were almost doomed by bird strikes, and in both cases there was total engine failure.

All 155 people aboard the US plane were rescued by nearby boats and there were few serious injuries. The Moscow flight had a similar happy ending.

The Russian A321 pilots had less flying experience, whereas the US Airways pilot was aged 57, with 30 years’ experience, and had also flown fighter jets.

The two Russians, however, had both graduated with top marks from a top civil aviation college. Capt Yusupov joined Ural Airlines in 2013, aged 33, after college. Before then he had worked as a lawyer.

The Russians had less time to react. The US Airways jet had climbed to 975m before the bird strike – three times higher than the A321.

In both cases, there were safe landing sites – a corn field and a fairly shallow stretch of the Hudson River.


differ (v)

  • differ - If you ask how things differ, you ask how they are NOT the same.


  • similarly immortalised - to be + similarly (adv) + V3 (Things are more the same than they are different!)

difference (n)

  • significant differences - If differences are ‘significant’, then things are ‘very’ different!


  • both - both + plural countable noun (Things are the same!)
  • in both cases - Strong collocation – in + both + cases. Things are the same.
  • In both cases - Strong collocation – in + both + cases. Things are the same.

similar (adj)

  • similar - If things are ‘similar’, they are more thesame than they are different.


  • whereas - Things are different! Notice the structure here – “Independent clause, ‘whereas’ independent clause.” Actually it is also possible to write “‘Whereas’ independent clause, independent clause.” (Remember that with ‘whereas’, both of the things being contrasted need to be in the same sentence!)


  • however - A powerful contrasting word used to show that things are NOT the same.

comparative adjective

  • less - By implication, the Russians were not the same as the Americans because they had less time to react.
  • higher - By implication, the Americans were not the same as the Russians because they were at a higher position when the birds struck.

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