In the suburbs of Lisbon today two people were killed because a pilot of a light aircraft (I imagine without retractable landing gear) landed on one beach full of people (it's Summer and the beaches are crowded).

The question immediately arose on the public opinion: can those light aircrafts, with wheels, land safely on water? This aircraft seems to be a Cessna 152.

The other post "What are the risks in landing on a beach vs. shallow waters?" does not solve this question.

Can light aircrafts with no retractable landing gear make an emergency water landing?

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  • $\begingroup$ This answer to the duplicate question clearly answers this one; the first answer also contains plenty of relevant information. Voting not to re-open. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Aug 3 '17 at 20:32
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby - AFAIK we don't close a question because another answer mentioned a solution, the questions are different, and as my answers shows, low-wing retractable is no better than high-wing fixed-gear. Just my 2 cents. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Aug 3 '17 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby the questions are clearly different. $\endgroup$ – João Pimentel Ferreira Aug 6 '17 at 11:23

Can they land on water? Yes.

Most pilots contend that the ideal airplane for ditching is a low-wing aircraft with landing gear retracted. Statistics, however, do not substantiate this. Aircraft geometry and landing gear configuration do not appear to affect survivability appreciably. (Source.)

If you try this Google search, you'll find plenty of high-wing fixed-landing-gear water/sea/ocean landings. The outcomes for the occupants vary.

In Oct 2015:

The [Cessna 152] was ditched in the [waters off Grand Bahama] after experiencing a technical failure. Both trainer pilot and trainee remained unhurt.

In Dec 2013:

The Makani Kai Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan impacted ocean waters shortly after takeoff from Kalaupapa Airport (PHLU), on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot and two passengers were seriously injured, one passenger was fatally injured, and five passengers received minor injuries.

Related: What are the risks in landing on a beach vs. shallow waters?


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