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Imagine: Emergency Landing On The North Atlantic  
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10297 times:

Hello together,

three weeks ago I flew IAD-FRA and I followed our flight route on the monitor, suddenly when we where in the middle of the North Atlantic I thought about an emergency landing in the middle of the ocean (very cold water) and in the middle of the night (zero visibility).

Do you think anyone would survive such an emergency landing? Even if you survive the landing you must out of the plane and swim in the ice cold water maybe also with huge waves. How long would it last until help (search and rescue teams) arrives there?

I don't want to make panic but I think that you are 100% death when such an emergency would happen, either you would die during the landing or finally in the water. Anyone agrees with me or any optimistically members here who think that you can survive?

Patrick

47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAirbus_A340 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 19
Reply 1, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10218 times:

A bit of a morbid post, but aircraft are supposed to be able to fly to an airport if such an emergency arises.

But anyway, say if you did have to land on water, passengers usually escape on the life rafts rather than have a swim in the sea.

Airbus_A340



People. They make an airline. www.cathaypacific.com
User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 33
Reply 2, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10207 times:

If the cold water doesn't get you (think 'Titanic'), then the sharks might (think 'Jaws'). I'm not sure what the human endurance limits are in cold/freezing water, or when hypothermia would set in, but I know it's not long. The survival odds can't be very good.

Tom at MSY

.....or perhaps there's always the 'Airport 77' scenario. Big grin



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10191 times:

A bit of a morbid post

I know but a plane crash can happen everytime and everywhere so why we should not discuss about it?

passengers usually escape on the life rafts rather than have a swim in the sea.

Do you think all passengers will find a place on these life rafts during all the panic?

Patrick


User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10172 times:

The odds would obviously be better with the life rafts, but I still wouldn't bet money on survival unless rescue was close at hand.

I'm also not sure many would survive the ditching, especially in a area with normally hostile waters.

Tom at MSY



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineZrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3182 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10164 times:

Emergency "landing" on the water is a sugar coated expression. THe truth is that it is not really a landing.

Airbus 340: Do passengers really "usually escape on the life rafts"? How often has it happened? I don't know that answer. I can only hope that it works.



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10124 times:

Actually, I'm much more optimistic. Provided the pilots could contact the ground and make them aware of the location prior to ditching, I think 100% fatality rates should not happen.

If the plane managed a clean ditching without breaking apart (admittedly a big if), passengers should be able to evacuate into life rafts and survive for a few hours. Assuming good weather, no storm, etc.

Not sure how densely travelled those waters in the North Atlantic are, but I would expect ships to reach the site within a survivable time frame.


User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10114 times:

I'm sorry but I think the whole thing is a huge illusion and that these "life rafts" and "life jackets" are there merely for pyschological purposes.

I can't see how an aircraft fuselage would stay intact in such circumstances. If I knew we were about to "ditch" I would be seriously worried.


User currently offlineAirbus_A340 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10081 times:

@ Zrs70. If you read my post again, what I meant is that if there is a ditching, passengers would usually evacuate onto the life rafts, than say jump into the sea, unless none of the rafts deploy that is.

@Sabena332. "Do you think all passengers will find a place on these life rafts during all the panic?" Considering aircraft are certified to have all passengers evacuated on only one side of the aircraft. I'd say it would depend on how badly damaged the aircraft is to see how many usable exits there are. If passenger have to jump into the water, I'm sure they may be picked up by the other rafts, but maybe that's being optimistic. Realistically speaking, it is likely people will get hurt and/or suffer from hypothermia in the water if they aren't rescued in time.

Hope that helps guys...

Airbus_A340



People. They make an airline. www.cathaypacific.com
User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8145 posts, RR: 54
Reply 9, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10063 times:

I don't think anyone would survive unless it was daylight, near a ship, on a millpond. Big waves and darkness? No way.


fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10048 times:

How many people survived on that hijacked Ethopian 767 that ditched in calm seas just off-shore? I'm not sure if the pilots were in full control of the plane at that point -- I seem to recall that they were -- but less than a majority of the passengers survived a ditching in just about perfect conditions (I think, anyway).


New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 10000 times:

From what I can remember, those ET pilots were not in full control as the drunken hijackers were struggling in the cockpit at the time....it wasn't a "textbook" ditch as the left wing hit the water first, and the resultant forces produced a cart wheel sort of impact....at least that is what it looked like on the video.

Needless to say, I don't think the rafts were much use, although some pax had apparently already put on their life-jackets.

Very messy accident....


User currently offlineAirbus_A340 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9977 times:

@ N844AA. The pilots were not in control- Hijacker on board I think was intervening with the controls at the time. This caused the aircraft to ditch abnormally. I've seen a programme on this particular accident. The ditching itself was in no way done like it says to do in the manuals.
Passengers also inflated their life jackets before they got out of the aircraft, this restricted movement, a lot of people drowned in that incident.

Airbus_A340



People. They make an airline. www.cathaypacific.com
User currently offlineAirbus_A340 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 19
Reply 13, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9969 times:

DoorsToManual beat me to it  Smile


People. They make an airline. www.cathaypacific.com
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9959 times:

Yes, I remember the ET crash too but the crew and the passengers of this flight had "luck" because it was near the coast, the water was very warm, and a lot of people jumped immediately after the crash into the water to help.

Patrick


User currently offlinePlanesarecool From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 4124 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9941 times:

I hate to think about such incidents, as for me drowning is the worst way of die-ing and if you weren't killed by the impact then you'd probably be trapped and die a slow death.

I would love it if aircraft had a kind of float (like a sea plane i guess, but could hold up the biggest aircraft) that it could use to land on the water if that kind of situation arose.

-Stephen


User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9930 times:

I guess my recollection of the accident was distorted by that video and the fact that anyone survived at all. It was a disturbing thing to watch.

Are there any incidents of textbook ocean ditchings? Surely there must be. It would be interesting to see how external factors affect survivability. Quite a lot, I would imagine.



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9869 times:

For all those who think you could get up and swim away from a ditching at sea, ya might want to check out this video of the actual ET ditching. Viewer discretion advised:

http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9611/26/comoros.crash/crash.large.14sec.mov


User currently offlineDoorsToManual From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9838 times:

Perhaps our British military enthusiasts (if they venture into this realm) might help me out here, but I do remember being shown a photo of a Nimrod (basically the military version of the Comet, used (I believe) for maritime reconaissance & based at RAF Lossiemouth (sp?)), that had ditched off the coast of Scotland into the North Sea after a fire.

Perhaps this isn't in the public domain (or maybe it is) as we were briefed about this at my local university air squadron. Anyhow, it did float - for a short period of time - and the few crewmembers aboard managed to scramble out. The fuselage still looked in pretty good condition. Far cry from an airliner though....

Sorry about the sketchy details, can't remember any other ditching incident at the moment....


User currently offlineDC-10 Levo From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 3432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9805 times:

It would be a terrifying experience, but the thing I would be most scared about is getting bitten by a shark  Smile/happy/getting dizzy.

DC-10


User currently offlineAirbus_A340 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 19
Reply 20, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9783 times:

@ ConcordeBoy: The ET crash case would not be a good example of a ditching carried out properly.

Airbus_A340



People. They make an airline. www.cathaypacific.com
User currently offlineFanofjets From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1995 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9764 times:

A Pan American World Airways Stratocruiser made a successful ditching in the Pacific in the 1950s. There were no fatalities, thanks to:

The skill of the Captain
The seas were calm
It was daylight
The aircraft set down near a Coast Guard Cutter

In other words, conditions were perfect (except for the problems with the aircraft that led to the ditching).



The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
User currently offlineObithomas From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9724 times:

Isn't it true that there has been only one *controlled* ditching of a jet passenger aircraft? An Overseas National Airways DC-9 on a flight from JFK to Princess Juliana on St Maarten (site of so many dramatic airliners.net photos!). The incident is documented in "Air Disaster Vol I" by Macarthur Job, an Aerospace Publications book.

The book is rather old, so there may have been more incidents since this one, which occurred on May 2, 1970.

Edit Followup: 22 perished out of a passenger list of 57 and a crew of 6. The PA system was inoperative during the flight. The plane ran out of fuel due to fuel management issues caused by repeated diversions and go-arounds.

[Edited 2003-09-18 20:03:18]

[Edited 2003-09-18 20:04:10]

User currently offlineIkarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9699 times:

Concordeboy: What does a ditching where hijackers grabbed the control column and jerked it to the left as the plane was about to touch down on the water have to do with the concept?

The video illustrates nothing.


The other factor we are all forgetting: An aircraft at cruise altitude can glide for 70 km or more if it runs out of fuel, for example. So even in that case, the pilot has a pretty large area where he can set down the plane. He may well have enough time to try and find a location close to a ship (Don't they use the same emergency frequencies in their radios?). Any other problem is likely to allow the pilot even more control of the location where he performs his emergency ditching. Assume a situation where significant amounts of thrust are lost - an engine failure. That would not lead to a ditching on its own. Now assume an uncontained engine failure that forces the pilot to lose altitude rapidly because of a depressurization event. It would still allow for at least one engine of thrust, and therefore would not force a ditching at sea, I believe. Now assume the entire thing at the furthes point from land that a plane can legally reach, and also assume the uncontained engine failure damaged the plane's capability to pump fuel around, so that the working engine has only the fuel in one wing to work on, consumes much more fuel than during cruise, and cannot reach a suitable airfield. Even that scenario would still allow the pilot to control the location of any ditching very carefully (there's bound to be some inhabited islands around that he can ditch close to, or a busy shipping route). My point is: The number of scenarios where a plane needs to ditch at sea is rather limited. Most of these scenarios still leave a margin of control over the location, and therefore rescue remains a possibility.

Ditching at sea at night would in all likelihood lead to fatalities. But 100%? That's pessimistic.

Either way, I just read an article in the Economist, suggesting passengers might be willing to fly on airlines that are absolutely no frills (no life vests under the seat etc) if the price was a bit lower, and that safety measures forced by legislation are usually very poor in the cost-benefit analysis. The example cited was that the tube refurbishments after the escalator fire that killed a few people cost enough money to install a smoke detector in every house in Britain, and that every year 500 people die in fires in their houses, mostly in those houses without smoke detectors. Therefore, the death of 30 people was responded to with more money than the death of 500 people, just because the 30 happened to die simultaneously in a highly visible disaster.

Regards

Ikarus


User currently offlineB2707SST From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 1369 posts, RR: 59
Reply 24, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9657 times:

As others have said, I think the ET pilot was shot or clubbed over the head by the hijackers before the plane impacted. I recall reading that the approach was going relatively well, but when the pilot was incapacitated, the plane banked left and pitched down, causing the left engine to dig into the water and pulling the aircraft sideways. Aerodynamic forces flipped the right wing up and over, causing the fuselage to roll over and break up.

The ideal situation would be to hit the water wings-level, putting both engines into the water at the same time so that they shear off simultaneously. Aircraft with rear-mounted engines would be much more controllable. Hopefully the wings and fuselage can skim over the suface like a skipping rock, the fin maintaining some directional control, and stay relatively intact until the aircraft comes to a stop. Going in without wings level would cause spinning or cartwheeling, making the accident much less survivable (the Comoros 767, UAL 232, etc.). A ditching in rough seas would be nearly impossible, although I have heard pilots say there are specific procedures to line the aircraft up with swell patterns.

People in rafts should be able to survive for at least several hours in normal seas. Titanic survivors who made it to the boats, although many were soaked and exposed to below-freezing air, hung on for about five hours without substantial loss of life after the sinking. The crash itself would probably determine the magnitude of fatalities.

--B2707SST



Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.
25 Kilavoud : History has shown that some people have survived in the worst conditions. I would still believe I can survive. Anyway I would do everything to survive
26 Arsenal@LHR : There is no way you can 'land' a plane in water, you can crash land or ditch the plane. The pilot would have to come in at the slowest speed possible
27 KQ777 : There were some survivors of the Kenya Airways A310 accident in the ocean off of Ghana (i think), weren't there?
28 Ikarus : Well, I've seen photos of a 747 that landed on a runway with retracted landing gear. The engines were torn off, the wings were damaged, but the thing
29 Sojourn : >>>those ET pilots were not in full control as the drunken hijackers were struggling in the cockpit at the time....it wasn't a "textbook" ditch as the
30 DoorsToManual : That's interesting sojourn, but how do we know the speed of that ET jet at that time? rgds
31 Ikarus : So how does the RAT (ram air turbine) minimum speed relate to the stall speed of the aircraft? How big is the difference, and is it really below the m
32 Airfrancejfk : Dateline NBC ran a report on the BA 747 that lost all 4 engines off Indonesia back in the 80's. The crew was seriously considering ditching. I remembe
33 Sojourn : >>>So how does the RAT (ram air turbine) minimum speed relate to the stall speed of the aircraft? How big is the difference, and is it really below th
34 Post contains images SLCPilot : I flew on Alaska Airlines this spring. I think they are exempt from the most strict overwater requirements as they're likely always within gliding dis
35 Ikarus : Sojourn: As mentioned multiple times, that was a case of hijackers yanking the controls to the left at the last moment. The pilot had no control over
36 Post contains links Bosugadl : I saw this a few weeks ago....looks like a water landing can be done safely when the pilots are in control http://www.airsafe.com/events/ditch.htm
37 Post contains links and images Radarbeam : Just to prove that some aircraft can withstand the forces of a ditching For more photos and to find out what went wrong with this bird (or the captain
38 STT757 : The best you can hope for in an Ocean ditching "if" you survive is to come down somewhere close to shipping channels, I assume that airlines that fly
39 Superfly : Would a rear engine jet (IL-62, MD80, TU154, 727) be safter in a controlled ditching in water? Wing mounted engines would hit the water first thus tea
40 Yyz717 : When did the 707 ditching happen? Great photos.
41 Post contains links Radarbeam : This accident happened Feb 03, 2000 in Tanzania. There was no fatalities on board. Here's the accident synopsis: The aircraft was departed Khartoum fo
42 Positive rate : Would a rear engine jet (IL-62, MD80, TU154, 727) be safter in a controlled ditching in water? Wing mounted engines would hit the water first thus tea
43 N754pr : A modern airliner landing is seas with waves of 10 feet plus, NO WAY.
44 Bwc1976 : I remember reading somewhere a while ago (maybe here?) that the engines were designed to immediately break off the wings when hitting water, so they w
45 T prop : Ditching an airliner in freezing heavy seas at night with zero visibility? 100% fatal. If you somehow survive the aircraft breaking up, you then have
46 Post contains links DoorsToManual : A link given in the Tech/Ops forum: http://www.boeing-727.com/Data/checklist/Abnormal/Ditching.html N.B. the last check on that list.
47 Airbus_A340 : @ Bwc1976- I also read that, some engine pylons are designed to come off as soon as it impacts with water. If I remember correctly, a Garuda Indonesia
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