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Thread: Emergency Water Landing.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Emergency Water Landing.

    I'm making a trip to the outer banks soon and will have to cross over a few miles of water so the thought entered my mind as to how to accomplish an emergency water landing. Any suggestions, tips or general advice on the actual techniques envoled with an "engine out" approach and final touch down on the water would be very much appreciated. The aircraft is a PA28-181. Thanks again.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Wachapreague Va.
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    Depending on your selected route your time over water will be very short, climb higher and stay in gliding range of land the whole time. It limits your risk. Otherwise door propped open call mayday, full flaps and full stall into the wind. Wear a life jacket and inflate after leaving the aircraft. Beautiful place to fly.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    You can get flight following out at the Outer Banks. I have run up and down that part of the coast and if you have been taking care of your engine, you get used to being 20 miles from dry land. Its not like being half way to Hawaii surrounded by 1,000 miles of ocean. And the airplane does not care what is underneath it. If you want, take a coast guard approved personal floatation device for each occupant.

    Beautiful area.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  4. #4

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    I'm a child of that area. A late friend liked to put a 5 gal gas can in the front seat of his J-3, then take off from his farm strip south of Augusta, Maine. He low leveled direct to Nova Scotia and landed on a beach to refuel. Then came home the same way. We all talked to him, but...

    I have been well trained in ditching, loved the dunker,and got trained up with lots of chopped throttle water landings in float equiped birds. The only thing that I can offer is that your low wing Piper has a remote chance of comming to a stop upside down. That would mean leaving the cockpit while under water. Just follow your bubbles up and when you're clear, inflate your PFD. (an inflated PFD in the cockpit could trap you) I picked up an AOPA folding knife last year. It has a razor blade in the hilt for cutting seat belts and a little knub for breaking windows. You might wait to switch tanks until you are over dirt. Check AIM for the section on ditching. Lots of aircraft have something in the "Emergency" section of the AFM for ditching. Everybody has made excellent comments.

    After all that is said, the plane doesn't know its over water and the odds are all in your favor. Don't worry and have a good flight.

    Bob
    Last edited by Bob Dingley; 07-15-2013 at 08:40 PM. Reason: missing letter

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by vaflier View Post
    Depending on your selected route your time over water will be very short, climb higher and stay in gliding range of land the whole time. It limits your risk. Otherwise door propped open call mayday, full flaps and full stall into the wind. Wear a life jacket and inflate after leaving the aircraft. Beautiful place to fly.
    Not to be contrary, but I wouldn't attempt to stall. I'd land normally, going for a three pointer (I fly fixed gear tail dragger). And I'd land along the swells, not against them, which would be a crosswind. Landing against the swell (upwind) is hitting the speed bumps of waves the wrong way; IIRC, if the xwind is too much, land downwind on the backs of swells is the way to go.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  6. #6
    Flyfalcons's Avatar
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    Look for a boat and splash down right in front of it.
    Ryan Winslow
    EAA 525529
    Stinson 108-1 "Big Red", RV-7 under construction

  7. #7
    Joe Delene's Avatar
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    I've looked into ditching a bit, from my Navy days to lighter a/c over Lake MI & the like. Yes, I'd fly as high as feasible, taking winds/wx into account, that may be 11,500 or so. I'd have a life preserver, may wear it, at least have it right there. Flight following has an added safety benefit.

    The stats say up towards 80%+ of ditchings are initially survivable, even in fixed gear planes, it's the cold water & drowning that kills. As suggested if land or near a beach wasn't an option I'd aim for a mile or less in front of a boat, if one is in sight. In good weather beaches can be filled with people, so you may end up out some anyway.

    With a violent landing getting unstrapped quickly could be a problem. I'd pop the door ahead of time then reference where the buckle is. A cutting tool as mentioned is a good option, readily available.

    Then one has to back up to the reasons why plane engines quit. Those easy reasons need to be eliminated, fuel, maintenance etc .

  8. #8

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    Lots of good advise here, I'll add, Buy a Crash Axe and keep it handy. Even with the door open, it may get closed or worse on impact, you've only got one door on that airplane and that axe can bust out a window or windshield quickly. Don't over think this flight you'll miss a beautiful view worrying about a low possibility!

    Joe

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    I would add to the good advise provided so far that as you are in a low wing aircraft: On very close final to the water in a slightly nose high attittude just above stall speed, keep the wings absolutely level. This is the main reason that the airliner landing on the Hudson turned out as well as it did.

  10. #10

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    You can fly the Outer Banks without flying over much more water than crossing a river. Come in over Beaufort, out over Manteo (or vice versa). I don't bother with a life vest flying this way, I'm always within gliding distance to land.

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