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Ditching Simon Stuart Squadron 80 San Jose, CA. Ditching Presentation Overview  Types of Incidents & Survivability  Decisions: Water vs. Trees  Ditching.

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Presentation on theme: "Ditching Simon Stuart Squadron 80 San Jose, CA. Ditching Presentation Overview  Types of Incidents & Survivability  Decisions: Water vs. Trees  Ditching."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ditching Simon Stuart Squadron 80 San Jose, CA

2 Ditching Presentation Overview  Types of Incidents & Survivability  Decisions: Water vs. Trees  Ditching Examples  Aircraft Configuration & Airmanship  Managing Passengers  Egress & Survival  Equipment  FAA & CAP Requirements

3 Ditching A Ditch or a Crash? 3 Water Crash  “…usually involves a spiraling aircraft, extremely high speeds and thus, little to no control on behalf of the pilot.”  Negligible survival rate  Generally catastrophic event  Example: JFK Jr. Ditching  “The intentional and controlled water landing of an aircraft”  High survival rate  Aircraft may remain intact / afloat  Example: US Airways 1549

4 Ditching Ditching vs. Water Crash 4  Successful Ditchings: US Airways USAirwaysFlight1549.jpg, Pan Am jpg & most in small aircraft. USAirwaysFlight1549.jpg 04.jpg  Semi-Successful: Bellanca Viking (Wood - they float)  Unsuccessful Ditching: Ethiopian 961 – Hijacking  Water Crash: Three Rivers Regatta – Structural Failure

5 Ditching Statistics 5  Incidents Per Year (Down from 30 in the 80’s)  88 Percent are not out in the ‘Blue Water’ ocean  9 out of 10 are NOT fatal  AOPA: NTSB events. 20 fatal (14% - Most in open water)  Equipped.com: NTSB , 1994 & events. 22 fatal (12%) Equipped.com  Egress rate 92%. Excluding long ferry flights - 95%.  You can make your chances of survival close to 100%.

6 Ditching Reality: Occupants Often “Walk Away” 6

7 Ditching Myths 7 “Low wing is better” “Airplanes nose over and sink” “Gear up will save you” “High wings flip over” “You won’t get out before the plane sinks” “A successful ditching requires great skill”  The numbers do not support many of these theories. Proper technique is more important.  Generally aircraft come to rest nose low. Eventually they will sink. But there are few examples of “Submarines”.  Gear position may affect deceleration, but not egress.  Ditching accidents cover pilots of widely ranging abilities.

8 Ditching Choices 8 Open Water? Easy. You’re swimming. (Lake Michigan)

9 Ditching Choices 9 How about now? Can you make an landing point? (Lake Tahoe)

10 Ditching Range: Know Thy Airplane 10  Example: Cessna 182 G1000. Best glide 2600lb. Adjust for weight.  Ditching procedures* (POH section 3-9)  Power on: 20 ° to full flaps, 300fpm 65kts  Dead stick: 70kts flaps up / 65kts flaps down  Touchdown: Level attitude at established rate of descent  Glide range. 1.4nm for every 1000’ AGL *Procedures will vary from plane to plane

11 Ditching Water or Trees? 11  Fatality rate with trees in the touchdown area is similar to ditching.  Landing with trees in the touchdown area: Fatal 6%, Serious injury 35%, minor injury 65%.  Injuries with a forced landing and trees more likely.  Ditching is more likely to require survival equipment.  Without it, a successful ditch may turn fatal.  Where you ditch, i.e. close to shore, is important.  Better chance of emergency personnel in forced landings.  Forget the plane – It will be a write off in either case.

12 Ditching Offshore Flights 12  Bigger risks than onshore ditchings  Swells, wind, waves  Colder water  Being found is the biggest concern.

13 Ditching Where is the person? 13

14 Ditching Offshore Ditching Events 14  Pacific Ocean. Ferry flight. New Piper Archer  Fully prepared. Survival suits. Third career ditching by pilot. Survived even after losing life raft (Second time)  July 23, N82531, Cessna 206 crossing Lake Michigan MN/KRST MN/KRST  Medical flight. Engine failure. Ditched 5 miles from Ludington  Pilot and 2 others able to don PFDs. Pilot picked up by boaters 2 hours later in light conditions. All four others drowned  It is not the ditching itself, but the post ditching situation where the dangers are the greatest.

15 Ditching Offshore Flights: Risk Assessment 15 Crossing Lake Michigan as night falls

16 Ditching Ditching Preparation: Checklist? 16  Ditching is not a normal emergency  Most aircraft POH’s do not have a ditching checklist  If you plan to fly over water, make your own

17 Ditching Ditching Preparation: Steps 17  Call ATC immediately  Avoid landing downwind  Seat belts as tight as you can stand. Stow loose objects  Headsets & cables out of the way (Tangling / egress)  Full flaps (High wing), None or partial (Low wing)  Gear up / down decision, Fuel off etc.  Doors / windows open  Pillows / jackets for face. Brace position  Airspeed and sink rate critical to avoid trauma

18 Ditching Managing Passengers 18  Do this before, on the ground (Better than in the water)  Exits, seatbelts etc. Demonstrate opening the door  Have them VISUALLY look at their seatbelt mechanism  Decide on an exit strategy. Who goes first? Which door?  Children? You may wish to change your route of flight  Emphasize that the plane will not sink and passengers will have time to exit  Special considerations: High wing – Watch out for flaps on egress. Cessna 206. Flaps block rear door  Important for sightseeing trips like the SF Bay Tour

19 Ditching Brace Positions 19 4 & 5 Point Harnesses3 Point Harness

20 Ditching Brace Positions 20 2 Point Harness

21 Ditching Pilots: Energy Management 21  Minimize the energy the aircraft has to dissipate.  Choose best glide for distance  Choose minimum sink to buy time  Full nose up trim – Don’t fight the airplane  The objective is minimum groundspeed AND vertical rate of descent. This is challenging.  Generally land nose raised but do not stall. Can lead to dumping and nosing in heavily.

22 Ditching Wind & Waves 22  Calm: Into the wind  Swells & low wind: Parallel to the swells, on top if possible  High wind: Into wind, down the back of swells if possible  Avoid the face of a swell  Again, fly to minimize the energy to dissipate

23 Ditching Approach 23

24 Ditching Impact 24

25 Ditching Coming to Rest 25

26 Ditching At Rest 26

27 Ditching Egress 27  Don’t panic  Everyone will get out  Typically a matter of seconds for all to exit  Open the door. Allow the cockpit to fill  Cold water: Breath normally (In as much as you can)  High wings: Watch your head

28 Ditching Unexpected Events 28 Be Prepared

29 Ditching Injuries: Ditching vs. Forced Landing 29  Forced Landing (On Land): Trauma, Post-Impact Fire  Ditching: Trauma, Drowning & Hypothermia  Post Ditching Risks:  No PFD (Life jacket): Drowning through incapacitation due to cold water. “Functional disability”.  With PFD: Hypothermia. Death directly as a result of hypothermia takes a lot longer than through functional disability.

30 Ditching Survival Factors: PFD & Water Temperature 30  How long can a person who ditches off Santa Cruz, CA, survive in the water with a life jacket and light clothing in GOOD conditions:  In September?  In April? 5 Hours (59 degrees) 3.5 Hours (54 degrees)  No PFD, treading water?  In September?  In April? < 4 Hours 2.5 Hours Incapacitation begins MUCH sooner, minutes

31 Ditching Survival Factors: PFD & Water Temperature 31 Santa Cruz, 59 vs. 54 degrees, PFD vs. treading water

32 Ditching Survival Factors: Body Fat 32

33 Ditching Survival Factors: Heat Loss 33  Heat loss is EVERYTHING  Staying still decreases heat loss by 30%  Huddle / human chain / carpet doubles survival time  Requires PFD  A PFD can double survival time  Do NOT swim. In 50 degree water, the average person with a PFD and light clothing can only cover 0.85 miles before becoming incapacitated by hypothermia.

34 Ditching Human Chain / Human Carpet 34

35 Ditching Survival Factors: Clothing – USCG Test 35  10 CG Members. Same age, weight, height, skinfold thickness, body fat and VO2 (Max)  Different test garments, ranging from flight suit, to coveralls, wet suits, immersion suits and dry suit  50 degree water, calm (dockside) vs. rough seas  Body cooling rate per hour in a flight suit:  Calm water: 3.2 degrees  Rough: 3.7 degrees  Rough water, 43 degress: 5.8 degrees  Flight suits are poor insulators

36 Ditching Regulations: Required Equipment  FAA Part & :  No more than 50 miles offshore without a life preserver for everyone.  No more than 30 minutes over water (Interesting - Consider flying down the coast…) or 100 miles without:  Life preservers  Life raft & survival kit  Pyrotechnic signaling device  Waterproof emergence signaling device  Lifeline  Two radios  CAP  Limited to less than 50 miles offshore  If not within power off gliding distance of land:  All occupants must wear floatation device  The aircraft equipped with a life raft & pyrotechnic signaling device  All occupants must wear anti-exposure suits for below 60 degree water (May be waived by wing commanded on a mission by mission basis)  If at night over water, both front seat occupants must be MP rated & instrument current 36

37 Ditching Additional Insight 37  “Equipped To Survive”: (Material in this presentation reproduced with permission from Doug Ritter)http://www.equipped.org/  Abandon Ship Bag:  FAA Lake / Island Reporting Service. Excellent ATC resource  USCG Water Survival PDF (Available online)  AIM Section 6-3-3

38 Ditching End of Presentation 38


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