wilco
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:34 am

A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 2:47 am

Sorry for the crash question but I am really curious if A/C life rafts have ever been succesfully used. (i.e. a plane was ditched, life rafts deployed with passengers in them, survivor(s) rescued).

I just can't stop thinking of how perfect of a ditching must be made in order for the life rafts to be accessible/undamaged AND there be survivors....

Regards,
Wilco
"Ever seen a grown man naked?"
 
AirframeAS
Posts: 9811
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:56 pm

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:05 am

When flight 261 happened, the life rafts on the MD-83 never deployed over the pacific ocean. This is probably because the fuselage was so severly crushed that there was basically nothing left of the aircraft but the wings and tail section.

EDITED: There were no surviors, all 88 lost their lives. This was on AS on Jan 31, 2000.

[Edited 2004-03-08 19:06:38]
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
Sammyhostie
Posts: 467
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2004 4:53 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:09 am

When training as cabin crew, we had to deploy a life raft into a pool and consequently "save" all the other trainees.

Even in a relatively relaxed scenario as this it was still a very hard task, and I doubt in such a real situation occuring that a landing on water would be very hard to succesfully complete, although perhaps natural instincts and the will to live and the adrenalin would come into play.

[Edited 2004-03-08 19:11:21]
 
wilco
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:34 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:09 am

Airframe.... you're right. But AS261 wasn't a ditching... that was impact. I am wondering if there has ever been a succesful ditching where liferafts saved lives.

regards,
wilco

"Ever seen a grown man naked?"
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:39 am

There was an ALM DC-9 that ditched in the Carribean back in the 1970s, so you might want to do a search for specific details. My memory is fuzzy, but I seem to recall it being off St. Croix, and that most folks survived the ditching (after the aircraft ran out of fuel).
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
UAL Bagsmasher
Posts: 1839
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 1999 12:52 pm

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 3:40 am

Wasn't there an ONA DC-9 years back that ditched sucessfully in the Carribean somewhere? I know there were survivors in that case.
 
Guest

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 4:30 am

The ALM DC9 ditching in the 1970s was an ONA DC9-30 on ACMI to ALM...
Flight from USA to St Maarten. Destination weather was bad...
They ditched indeed, ran out of fuel and ideas...
xxx
Happy contrails -
(s) Skipper
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 6:36 am

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
wilco
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:34 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 7:49 am

THanks OPNL... that was helpful. I am still unclear if the aircraft's liferafts were used in that incident. (I have read other places that the liferafts that were used in this incident were airdropped by other aircraft.)

Let me be a bit more blunt with my question. Do you think the liferafts carried aboard aircraft are worth their weight?

Edited: To include pic of various aircraft life rafts.



[Edited 2004-03-08 23:57:51]
"Ever seen a grown man naked?"
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 8:32 am

>>>Let me be a bit more blunt with my question. Do you think the liferafts carried aboard aircraft are worth their weight?

Along with fire extinguishers, one takes it upon faith that they are, since the only certain way to know if they are worthwile is when you actually need them, and they're either there, or they're not.

The NTSB report on the ONA (operating as ALM) flight is at:
http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR71-08.pdf and it would discuss whether rafts were actually used (as I suspect they were).
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
coa764
Posts: 309
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 1:32 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 2:41 pm

>>>Let me be a bit more blunt with my question. Do you think the liferafts carried aboard aircraft are worth their weight?
Realistically, probably not but they are one of those necessary evils. That meaning the first time you do have a ditch that made it and then everyone drowned because of the lack of rafts will be the one time to many. Survival gear on an airplane is put there in the chance that if you do get survivors, as many as one, they have a chance to do just that.
Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
 
wilco
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:34 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Tue Mar 09, 2004 4:38 pm

OPNLGUY and all interested: the aircraft's life rafts were NOT used. Thanks for that NTSB report... it was fascinating.

NTSB exerpt: "Although none of the five 25-man rafts on board the aircraft was deployed, several rafts were air-dropped at the ditching site."

It does appear that the life preservers/seat cushions were used by succesfully by many.
"Ever seen a grown man naked?"
 
chdmcmanus
Posts: 372
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2001 12:53 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:30 am

Wilco,

In the paragraph prior it talks about the usage of a slide raft,

"The navigator found an emergency escape slide floating in the water and, with the help of a female passenger, inflated it. The first officer, who had no lifevest, climbed on top of the slide and assumed command of the main group of survivors who gathered around the slide. Belts and ties were used to provide additional hand-holds for the people."

Although none of the dedicated rafts were deployed, at least one of the slide rafts still worked.

ChD
"Never trust a clean Crew Chief"
 
wilco
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:34 am

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:46 am

Thanks ChD.... I skimmed right past that part. Its good to know something was of use for those folks. That story is really interesting as most of the passengers apparently thought they were landing! (not ditching) The were warned of a possible ditching but never that it was definetly going to happen.
"Ever seen a grown man naked?"
 
Guest

RE: A/C Life Rafts

Wed Mar 10, 2004 2:31 am

The major source of problem was the coordination between ONA cockpit crew and the ALM cabin staff. In this day and age, on ACMI contracts, there was very little interaction between different teams of different companies.
xxx
I have flown many such contracts. Not much communications, no CRM...
"Oh, you did ding the cabin chime 3 times, what does it mean...?"
Briefings and communications were kept to a minimum. You guys do your things, we do ours...!
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper

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