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747 Ditching At Sea - How Long Would It Float?  
User currently offlineDrinkstrolley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19737 times:

If a fully laden 747 has to ditch at sea, how long would it float?

[Edited 2005-11-08 17:25:36]

79 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4636 posts, RR: 23
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19700 times:

Boeing would probably have figures on that, as all aircraft need to have their ditching characteristics tested before production using models.

I am presuming you mean a controlled ditching... because the aircraft could conceivably break up into a thousand pieces on impact.

Trent.



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineDrinkstrolley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19680 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 1):
I am presuming you mean a controlled ditching

Yes, assuming (a long shot!!!) all four engines packed up and he was half way over the Pacific....


User currently offlineF27XXX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19597 times:

Quoting Drinkstrolley (Thread starter):
If a fully laden 747 has to ditch at sea, how long would it float?

About 15 minutes

My Source: "Airport 77".

(Sorry- couldn't resist)   

Tony

[Edited 2005-11-08 17:33:15]

User currently offlinePawsleykat From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1978 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19579 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 1):
I am presuming you mean a controlled ditching... because the aircraft could conceivably break up into a thousand pieces on impact.

As ClassicLover says, yes. It probably would break up on impact.

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As it says, this plane broke up on impact and I dont think there was any survivors (please correct me if I am wrong). This is only a 767, much lighter that a fully laden 747, so if a 762 breaks up on impact even if it was slightly controlled (as this one was), i don't want to think about a 747!



First Class passengers are my favourites. They can't get any further forward without an ATPL.
User currently offlineKLMCedric From Belgium, joined Dec 2003, 812 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19571 times:

If the fuselage is intact and the sea's aren't to rough it might float for more
then 30 minutes


User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8568 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19550 times:
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Quoting Pawsleykat (Reply 6):
and I dont think there was any survivors

there were some survivors - but having said that it was in shallow water , with people nearby to attempt rescue

http://www.airdisaster.com/special/ethiopian961.shtml

The plane crashed 500 yards from the resort and 16 miles from Moroni Airport; 123 of the 175 passengers and crew died. The majority of the survivors were hanging on to the fuselage section, which was floating; the rear section of the plane was submerged. Many victims were killed as a direct result of the impact, or they drowned because their inflated life jackets prevented them from swimming out of the water-filled fuselage. The pilot and copilot survived but the hijackers did not. Two suspects were initially detained but were not identified by the survivors as the hijackers and were released.



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineFokker70NG From Netherlands, joined Nov 2005, 234 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19539 times:

If I recall correctly, I once heard in a documentary on plane crashes that there has never been a modern jetliner that managed to ditch in the water without breaking up in a lot of pieces. Even if it's a somewhat controlled ditch, it's almost impossible.


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -Albert Einstein
User currently offlineVunz From Netherlands, joined Jun 2001, 360 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19517 times:

Quoting Pawsleykat (Reply 6):
As it says, this plane broke up on impact and I dont think there was any survivors (please correct me if I am wrong). This is only a 767, much lighter that a fully laden 747, so if a 762 breaks up on impact even if it was slightly controlled (as this one was), i don't want to think about a 747!

50 out of 175 on board survived the crash. Accident report


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 19507 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 1):
I am presuming you mean a controlled ditching... because the aircraft could conceivably break up into a thousand pieces on impact.

The most likely result.

Quoting Fokker70NG (Reply 9):
If I recall correctly, I once heard in a documentary on plane crashes that there has never been a modern jetliner that managed to ditch in the water without breaking up in a lot of pieces. Even if it's a somewhat controlled ditch, it's almost impossible.

Back in the 50's and early 60's there were several instances of propeller-driven airliners that successfully ditched at sea. The reason? Probably because the engines were integrated into the wing structure, instead of hanging below the wing acting as a huge scoop when hitting the water.


User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19483 times:

Quoting Fokker70NG (Reply 9):
If I recall correctly, I once heard in a documentary on plane crashes that there has never been a modern jetliner that managed to ditch in the water without breaking up in a lot of pieces. Even if it's a somewhat controlled ditch, it's almost impossible.

A B787 would have a much, much better chance of remaining intact in a ditching.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 11):
Back in the 50's and early 60's there were several instances of propeller-driven airliners that successfully ditched at sea. The reason? Probably because the engines were integrated into the wing structure, instead of hanging below the wing acting as a huge scoop when hitting the water.

Another (probably more significant) reason is the ditching speed of a prop plane is much lower than for a jet.


User currently offlineF27XXX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19447 times:

Quoting Fokker70NG (Reply 9):
If I recall correctly, I once heard in a documentary on plane crashes that there has never been a modern jetliner that managed to ditch in the water without breaking up in a lot of pieces. Even if it's a somewhat controlled ditch, it's almost impossible.

Back in the early 70s, an ONA DC-9-33 was enroute from JFK-SXM and suffered fuel exhaustion due to having to route further to avoid storms and ditched somewhere (Ithink) near the Virgin Islands - - it remained intact and all pax got out, i thought. The book went on to say it sunk in extremely deep water.

Sorry i dont have a link to it, but its listed in one of my Aviation Disaster books.

Tony


User currently offlineHiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 870 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19412 times:

Wasn't there a JAL DC-8 which landed in San Francisco bay?

User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8568 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19385 times:
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Quoting HiJazzey (Reply 14):
Wasn't there a JAL DC-8 which landed in San Francisco bay?

yes , initially I thought you were mixing it up with the one in Tokyo Bay with the mentally unstable pilot - but then I found this - amazing story - especially that they salvaged it and got it flying again

http://www.airliners.net/articles/read.main?id=1


link for the Tokyo Bay crash as well

http://www.airsafe.com/events/airlines/jal.htm



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineAirbusA346 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 7437 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19325 times:

If recall a China Airlines 744 over shot the runway at Kai Tak and was floating in the Bay for a few days.

They had to blow the tail of the 744.

http://www.airliners.net/discussions...general_aviation/read.main/2283824

Tom.



Tom Walker '086' First Officer of a A318/A319 for Air Lambert - Hours Flown: 17 hour 05 minutes (last updated 24/12/05).
User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8568 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19287 times:
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Quoting AirbusA346 (Reply 16):
was floating in the Bay for a few days.

sitting in the bay is probably more accurate - it was resting on the bottom of the harbour .



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineAirbusA346 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 7437 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19252 times:

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 17):
sitting in the bay is probably more accurate - it was resting on the bottom of the harbour .

So the bay at Kai Tak is sallow enough for 744 to sit on the bottom, but why is the nose floating high than the tail.

And was the tail submerged that much when it over shot. And if so how would the people at the back get out.

Tom.



Tom Walker '086' First Officer of a A318/A319 for Air Lambert - Hours Flown: 17 hour 05 minutes (last updated 24/12/05).
User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19226 times:

I saw a video and interview on the 767 crash. It seemed that a lot of the people survived the impact but then drowned after they inflated their life vest while still within the sinking cabin thereby trapping themselves inside the aircraft.

User currently offlineAirbusA346 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 7437 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19187 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 19):
I saw a video and interview on the 767 crash. It seemed that a lot of the people survived the impact but then drowned after they inflated their life vest while still within the sinking cabin thereby trapping themselves inside the aircraft.

Don't people know they are to watch safety demos.

Tom.



Tom Walker '086' First Officer of a A318/A319 for Air Lambert - Hours Flown: 17 hour 05 minutes (last updated 24/12/05).
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 19159 times:

Quoting Pawsleykat (Reply 6):
As it says, this plane broke up on impact and I dont think there was any survivors (please correct me if I am wrong). This is only a 767, much lighter that a fully laden 747, so if a 762 breaks up on impact even if it was slightly controlled (as this one was), i don't want to think about a 747!



Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 8):
there were some survivors - but having said that it was in shallow water , with people nearby to attempt rescue



Quoting Fokker70NG (Reply 9):
If I recall correctly, I once heard in a documentary on plane crashes that there has never been a modern jetliner that managed to ditch in the water without breaking up in a lot of pieces. Even if it's a somewhat controlled ditch, it's almost impossible.



Quoting Halls120 (Reply 11):
I am presuming you mean a controlled ditching... because the aircraft could conceivably break up into a thousand pieces on impact.

The most likely result

Hey folks you need to point out these accidents where the plane broke up into a thousand pieces. You'll have a hard time because there aren't any. Lets run down the list: JAL DC-8 lands short in San Francisco bay, is raised, repaired and resumed flying. National B727 lands shorts in the Gulf Of Mexico, stays intact with survivors. Aforementioned DC-9 runs out of fuel and ditches. B707 lands short in a lake in Africa with a load of fish, stays intact and has to be towed to shore. And a couple of months ago a ATR ran out of gas in Italy, ditched and the tail broke off, remaining fuselage and wings were towed to shore.

The B767 ditching everybody points to was the result of hijacking with a fight in the cockpit as the pilot tried to ditch, hardly ideal circumstances.


User currently offlineAIRCANL1011 From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 262 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 19007 times:

Quoting Pawsleykat (Reply 6):
As it says, this plane broke up on impact

The aircraft had been highjacked and the landing was not controlled. The AC came in steep. I believe one of the highjackers were at the controls after they let it run out of fuel.



CYMRU AM BYTH / WALES FOREVER
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 21, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 18955 times:

Quoting Pawsleykat (Reply 6):
This is only a 767, much lighter that a fully laden 747, so if a 762 breaks up on impact even if it was slightly controlled (as this one was), i don't want to think about a 747!



Quoting SATL382G (Reply 21):
The B767 ditching everybody points to was the result of hijacking with a fight in the cockpit as the pilot tried to ditch, hardly ideal circumstances.

Yes, it was not a controlled ditching. A wingtip went into the water first and the airplane cartwheeled.

The B-747 would float for a long time, in it was a controlled ditching, and it dumped most of the fuel. The pod monted engines on jet aircraft, from the B-367-80 onward are designed to rotate downward and break away from the strut and wing. Both Airbus and Boeing still use this type of system today in designing and building airplanes.


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8453 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 18921 times:
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Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 1):
Boeing would probably have figures on that, as all aircraft need to have their ditching characteristics tested before production using models.

Really? I'd be interested to see how a model can represent the characteristics of the real thing. A wind tunnel is one thing but...



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineFtrguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 18910 times:

There is a video of that 767 ditching. (I have no idea how to find it so don't ask) It touched the water in about a 30 to 40 degree angle of bank turn. The wingtip dragged in the water for a second before the plane started tumbling and breaking up.

I think any aircraft with wing mounted engines would not fair well in a controlled ditch. However, if done right, I think aircraft with rear mounted engines would fair pretty well.


User currently offlineAC787 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 337 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 18868 times:

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 12):
A B787 would have a much, much better chance of remaining intact in a ditching.

I know composites are much stronger but will the odds rlly be any good of actually having it get into the water and stay in one piece? Are we talking about a difference of like a 744 having a 0.01% of pulling off a succesful ditching whereas the 787 will have a 0.1% chance of doing the same thing


25 Post contains images Aloha73g : Even if thats the correct percentages, that's 1000% better -Aloha!
26 KhenleyDIA : Another thing to point out, if I recall correctly, the pilots were fighting with the high-jackers and they had run out of fuel. They were able to dod
27 Post contains links BuyantUkhaa : A list of ditch events: http://www.airsafe.com/events/ditch.htm
28 MarshalN : Well, running off a runway isn't quite nearly the same as ditching. It ran into the water head first, and the tail was sticking out of the water. The
29 Post contains links Prebennorholm : In all but the most lucky circumstances, less than 30 seconds. Lucky circumstances includes a totally calm water surface. Add to that the fact that i
30 Prebennorholm : No, not so, the other way around. The 787 will be built to the same strength standards as other planes. But because carbon fibre reinforced epoxy com
31 DH106 : Yes - it was hardly a controlled, ideal ditching. There was no real attempt to flair the aircraft onto the water, and whoever was flying came in left
32 2H4 : With all due respect, Preben, how have you come to the conclusion that A) all carbon fiber materials exhibit the same failure characteristics, and B)
33 MD80fanatic : Once the wings rip away (like the previously mentioned 767) it won't be floating for very long.
34 SATL382G : Please site some facts to back up this claim. Even the ATR accident didn't have this level of fatality. Name some incidents please.
35 BAtriple7 : What about that 737 ditching in a river in Indonesia or Philippines (sorry can't remember which country, was on aviation safety network)? Everyone sur
36 Post contains images SpinalTap : Would a 747 be bouyant enough to float if undamaged? (It does have a large volume of air in it - and if the fuel was dumped too) Perhaps this is somet
37 Post contains links Litz : Not only flying again, but a long, long healthy career with Airborne Express. N808AX (the plane in question) was deregistered on 3/12/2004. According
38 Post contains links DeC : Also http://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?Event=REED
39 Sxmna : Not quite correct. It was an ALM DC 9-33 on May 2nd, 1970. This is what Airdisaster.com has about it in its Dbase: "The flight was scheduled to fly f
40 Prebennorholm : Because I have built a lot of carbon fibre structures during the last 15 years, large model aeroplanes. And unfortunately also crashed some. So it is
41 Prebennorholm : This accident was "extremely lucky" for various reasons: 1. The ATR ditching speed was much lower than a 747, or any jet plane. 2. It happened in the
42 PDXtriple7 : For my International Baccalourete extended essay, I am researching the shoot down of KAL 007, a 747 that was shot down by the Soviets when it strayed
43 Prebennorholm : Ditching of KAL 007 can be ruled out. A successful ditching takes a fully controlable plane. It is unthinkable that a missile attack should take out
44 Post contains images Citation X : Also, while we're at it, how long can a B747 stay underwater before being completely flooded?? (airport 77)
45 MD80fanatic : I don't know how you managed this feat.....but I did not say any of those things. I for one know virtually nothing about carbon fibres.
46 MattMSP767 : If a large plane is going down into the water wouldn't you want it to break up? If it didn't break up you'd probably drown in the cabin but if it didn
47 Post contains links ChiGB1973 : I think, in training, they told us this was the crash that changed some FAA regulations about inflating the life vest outside of the aircraft (or at
48 Post contains links DeC : Date: 23 NOV 1996 Time: 12:15 UTC Type: Boeing 767-260ER Operator: Ethiopian Airlines info : http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=1996112
49 Jumpseatflyer : Not only did the hijackers of that 767 lack the skill to perform an even "mediocre" water ditching, but I remember reading somewhere that alcohol was
50 Nrcnyc : There is a lot of claims with out any data to back them. Where would someone be able to find any real studies about this? P.S. someone said a 747 coul
51 Jumpseatflyer : Oh and that above water ditching guess implies a wings-still-on condition. The original post is not about whether you can survive or not in the middle
52 MD80fanatic : It really depends on how much water the remaining structure can displace....as to how long it will float. With the 747s large engines.....chances are
53 Jeb94 : Keep in mind, an aircraft fuselage is not a completely air tight structure. There are numerous 'calibrated' leaks throughout the fuselage. These same
54 SATL382G : None of this supports your claim of a 99 percent fatality rate for ditching.
55 WDBRR : You beat me to that....I don't remember how they got out. Did they raise the plane?
56 GeorgiaAME : Despite what the manufacturer may tell you, metal aircraft do only marginally better landing on water than they do landing in trees. That's a fact.
57 Spacecadet : The fact of the matter is all airliners certified for ditching have to also be certified to float long enough to evacuate 100% of the passenger capac
58 Jeb94 : So give the aircraft 10 minutes or less on average. It really doesn't take very long to evacuate an aircraft, even on water.
59 RAMPRAT980 : It will stay afloat for as long as God allows it to do so.
60 Lp0815 : I was duty travelling on one of my company's M1F recently and was chatting with the cockpit crew about ditching into the water and the chances of gett
61 Jasond : Correction ALM DC-9-33 as mentioned. Don't recall the 'float' time though. Might have been 15-30 minutes but no more and was intact on impact. Only a
62 Sllevin : I think it depends on the actual dynamics of the landing. Not long ago (maybe 10 years?) a Nimrod ditched due to fire and floated for quite a long tim
63 Post contains links Airforum : http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9611/26/comoros.crash/index1.html
64 Hawker : If you are considering the case of a big twin, then no matter how carefully you flare, the very large engine cowlings are going to hit the water first
65 Post contains images Airforum : No sharks? Great whites are being spotted there regulary. Actually the area is considered to be a breeding place for great whites! It's not likely th
66 Post contains links Skywatch : Here is a video of the 767 ditching: http://www.alexisparkinn.com/aviation_videos.htm The wing was clearly catching the water before the fuselage made
67 Hantsflyer27 : I wonder if the question refered to the floating time of a 744 if were gently place on calm water by crane etc if were possible. This would perhaps el
68 Skywatch : I forgot to tell y'all to scroll down to the one entitled "Ditching at Sea". Sorry 'bout that. ---Skywatch
69 Post contains images YYZYYT : Indeed, it should take no more than 90 seconds, according to the certification tests carried out. (At lease that is the case for a 747, and all other
70 Post contains links StuckinMAF : Of course, this is a much smaller plane, but here's an NTSB report on a PC-12/45 that had to ditch and apparently stayed afloat for at least several H
71 Post contains images F27XXX : Um ... i hope you're not serious .... if you are, that's the most stupid thing ever said on A.net
72 57AZ : Even many of the old propliners usually broke up on impact with the water. The Pan Am 377 that ditched on the HNL-West Coast run due to a runaway prop
73 NA : Hawker got it right, I also would think that on a calm sea a 777 or in general any mainly twinjet-configurated airliner with its monster-engines hangi
74 Post contains images RAMPRAT980 : Ok Patrick Starfish calm down. If what I said, according to you, is stupid then its the 2nd most stupid thing ever said on A-net. Being that you don'
75 Post contains images MD80fanatic : I thought RAMPRAT980's response was the most intuitive, and absolutely the only irrefutable comment on this thread. In fact I wish I had said it firs
76 RAMPRAT980 : Thanks MD80. I appreciate your comment.
77 ARCJET : Until the Lead Actor and Actress are rescued and removed from the aircraft.
78 RAMPRAT980 : hey Leather Boy what do you have to say about that quote.
79 Glacote : Source? Explanation?
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