111

Because ditching is extremely, extremely rare, so the costs of redesigning aircraft along with the extra drag and weight (increased fuel burn) it would no doubt add to the airframe far outweighs the potential benefits. That argument might sound weird to someone, but think about it this way: would it seem reasonable to redesign every single car on the planet ...


58

Bailing out the cockpit during that era was neither an easy nor always a successful task. The pilot had to either roll the plane, open the canopy, and release themselves to the void, or if rolling wasn't possible, walk on the wing and jump. That's inherently unsafe. Don't forget that you are not exiting a healthy plane. There might be smoke, debris, fire, ...


45

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 was the flight that resulted in this addition to the safety briefing. After being hijacked, the plane eventually crash-landed in the ocean. Many passengers died because they inflated their life jackets in the cabin, causing them to be trapped inside by the rising water. Mayday/Air Crash Investigation S03E13 (Ocean Landing) ...


43

The writer was dramatizing things a bit maybe, it's possible to ditch a jet fighter and survive, however your chances are much better ejecting. Ditching is an option for any aircraft, with some airplanes ditching is the only option if there's a loss of power over water, for example commercial jets have no mode of egress other than the doors. I fly light ...


34

In case of Spitfire, ditching in sea is not safer than bailing out. Spitfire XIV & XIX pilot's notes specifically states: 71 Ditching (i) Whenever possible, the aircraft should be abandoned by parachute rather than ditched, since the ditching qualities are known to be very poor. I don't think the advice would be any different in case of earlier ...


33

Once your engine fails the airplane is the property of the insurance company, your only goal at that point should be to survive. Using a whole-airframe chute increases your chances of survival whether over land or sea. The things that kill people in forced landings of any kind are high-g deceleration and post crash fire. A parachute decreases the chances ...


32

The NTSB report is a great resource when looking for information about an incident like this. There is an Engine Dual Failure Checklist discussed starting in section 1.17.1.2 of the report. This includes steps to attempt restarting the engines, and further steps depending on whether or not the engines can be started, and finally steps to help prepare for a ...


32

First, according to one operating handbook for the Cirrus SR-22 (there are several versions out there), pulling the chute is the correct ditching procedure (CAPS is the parachute system): Ditching Radio ............................................ Transmit (121.5 MHz) MAYDAY giving location and intentions Transponder.................................


32

The answer is no, not totally, but it would really slow things down. I don't think anybody knows the precise answer because only flat water ditchings seem to result in the airplane stopping in the water in one piece (such as 1549 and a similar one in Malaysia) and flat water incidents (like Malaysia and some airport overruns) are usually in shallows where ...


31

On top of the previous good answers, I would like to add that the aerospace industry does take ditching seriously. 14CFR Part 25 and regulations from other agencies require that transport category aircraft be designed such that the occupants have a reasonable chance of surviving a water landing. This means that, in addition to providing life rafts and life ...


30

Having done my primary training essentially over beaches I'm pretty well-versed in the theory (but thankfully not the practice) of landing on beaches. Given the possible choices offered at your typical beach, the order of preference for landing areas is generally: Pavement People like to drive their cars to the beach. There's probably a road or parking lot ...


28

In addition to the risk of being trapped mentioned by Danny Beckett, the overwing exits are small. If you inflate your vest before exiting, you'll have a harder time getting out, and you're more likely to tear the vest.


28

Airplanes tend to float after ditching due to the air trapped in fuel tanks, wings and fuselage spaces, acting as a life raft which is very valuable. A ditched plane is also much more visible than a single pilot floating in the water, making rescue more likely. The English Channel is also very cold throughout the year, being able to stay out of it by ...


27

The shuttle lands at 220 mph and would break up. This is 40% faster than airliners with twice the energy to dissipate and the shuttle structure is a great deal lighter. The orbiters were designed to go to space, ending each mission of their 100 mission lives by landing on a smooth runway. Airliners are designed for forty to a hundred thousand landings or ...


27

Because they were told to evacuate there, if you take a look at the official audio transcript from the accident: place both arms through the straps and hug it to your chest. flight attendants are pointing out there are a total of eight exits on this aircraft, two door exits in front of the aircraft, four window exits over the wings, and two door ...


26

Yes, commercial airplanes have landed or crash landed in water many times. If I am not mistaken, you are asking about scenarios when the on-board life jackets and life raft are used. Here is a list of water landings. Examples when a life raft was used are (in addition to ratchet freak's mentions): On 22 October 1962, a Northwest Airlines DC-7C with 7 ...


25

While there probably is an "ideal" attitude to impact water, and it would be nice to crash-land with exactly the correct attitude... it's very much a secondary consideration. By far the most important thing, when landing on water, is to land slowly. As such, your aim should be to land (/crash) with whatever attitude gives the lowest possible ground speed/...


20

First, I'm taking this to be about fighter jet aircraft and similar. Airliners, general aviation jet aircraft, and others, are different, and there have been plenty of examples of jet aircraft ditching in water and everyone surviving. US Airways flight 1549 is a relatively recent (January 2009) example where an Airbus A320 jet aircraft landed on water. It's ...


20

The wiki line provides no citation nor any elaboration but is largely correct. It was found that the orbiter actually had a favorable shape to ditch, The Langley report does state that the Orbiter shape and mass [182] properties are good for ditching, but given the structural problems and deceleration loads, that is little consolation. This was ...


20

In general, it's a bad decision to ditch if there's an alternative, even a gear-up landing (Sully ditched in the Hudson because the alternatives were much worse: virtually certain total loss on board, plus significant ground casualties due to dense population). The safety of the crew, passengers (if present), and people on the ground is the first concern of ...


19

For baling out, height is the main criteria. If at a low height above the water there is a chance you will strike the water without the parachute being fully open, depending on the trajectory of the aircraft and the time it takes to get out of the cockpit. Assuming there is enough height, I would have thought that ditching is more dangerous, because the ...


18

Can a large modern jet airliner plunge intact underwater from flight? No. Large airliners are not desgned for this and are not even strong enough to make a landing on water in less than perfect conditions. E.g. 961 striking the surface at a larger angle would certainly lead to widespread disintegration. Is it possible for a large modern jet airliner to ...


17

As a hang-glider pilot, I can say that's exactly how a good hang-glider landing goes. We don't land with speed and run it off (at least if we've done it properly anyway). Instead we fly our approach to landing height, burn off speed as necessary to near-stall, then rapidly rotate the wing. The wing effectively turns into an instant air-brake, and we land ...


17

In theory, yes. In practice, no. FAA regulations (specifically, 14 CFR 25.801(d)) require that, under reasonable water-landing conditions, an airplane must remain afloat long enough for the occupants to evacuate. Most airplane manufacturers don't actually test the ditching performance of their aircraft, but instead rely on the clause of paragraph (c) to ...


16

Yes - it happened in 2009 in the Hudson (well it's a river), and it happened in 1996 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 as far as I know.


16

Per the accident report from the NTSB, only the four exit slides (two at the forward doors and two at the aft doors) could be used as rafts, as the aircraft was configured for extended overwater operations (EOW). Regulations required there to be enough capacity for all passengers if the largest raft was not usable. Each slide/raft was rated for 44 passengers,...


15

The bottom of the door opening sits too close to, or below, the water line when the airplane is floating.


14

Multiple reasons: Ditchings are extremely rare as it is, so if the goal is to improve safety there are plenty of other areas that can be worked on first, like Crew Resource Management. It is much easier to improve the reliability of the engines than it is to ditch-proof a high-subsonic airframe. The structural weight penalty for a seaplane hull is quite ...


13

What should a pilot do? Follow the checklist? Is there any checklist? There are many such checklists in the intertubes and whole books have been written on the subject Here's the start of one for 737s For comparison, here's one for a Cessna light aircraft Are commercial jets buoyant? Yes, initially, if substantially in once piece. We know that ...


13

I think that 14 CFR 25.801 might sum this one up. Aircraft that are approved for ditching under 25.801 have to meet several requirements: (b) Each practicable design measure, compatible with the general characteristics of the airplane, must be taken to minimize the probability that in an emergency landing on water, the behavior of the airplane would cause ...


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