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  #11  
Old 03-07-2009, 09:28 PM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
 
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Location: Chesterfield, Missouri
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Water landing an RV will probably have the same outcome as landing a Cessna or Piper - not good. The fuselage will break open and the machine will sink quickly if it does not flip over or cart wheel and lose its wings. Fly over miles of water if you must, but don't plan on a ditching to be a piece of cake.

Several composit airplanes have ditched and floated but I don't know of any SEL metal airplanes that have floated for long.
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2009, 10:15 PM
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llavalle llavalle is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ashby View Post
From my research, it is my belief that it would be advantageous to jettison the canopy before actually striking the water, so as to prevent entrapment after the inevitable flip.
That would make sense... I remember the C172 I used to rent, in the checklist, in the "Ditch" section there was a "open doors before toutching down".

Probably to make sure you can get out.
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2009, 11:12 PM
Pallet Pallet is offline
 
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Location: OH
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If you hit water at 60 mph with no canopy and flipped, It seems like it would be quite an impact on your body. The article said it shattered the canopy on impact. But it would suck to be pinned inside also.

Any volunteers to try this out? I'll pass for now
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2009, 07:01 AM
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pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
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Location: Louisville, Ga
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Default It can be opened, Steve...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ashby View Post
........ I have read that is is virtually impossible to slide the 8 canopy back in flight because of aerodynamic forces. Any thoughts?
.....since one unfortunate guy did it to bail out of his on-fire -8 several years ago. Adrenaline, methinks, would help you get it open if/when the chips are down.

Jimmy Buffet once tumbled an amphib and remembered his underwater scenario training..."Bubbles up", meaning to follow the bubbles, since they always go up and you'd more than likely be very disoriented, as he was, following a tumbling airplane. He lived to talk about that one and I dare say you could too. I like the idea of your pins, Steve and also a small O2 bottle like the Top fuel boat dragsters use during a 200 MPH + run.

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  #15  
Old 03-08-2009, 08:17 AM
PJSeipel PJSeipel is offline
 
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Location: Albany, GA for the moment
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llavalle View Post
That would make sense... I remember the C172 I used to rent, in the checklist, in the "Ditch" section there was a "open doors before toutching down".

Probably to make sure you can get out.
The doors in a Cessna should be opened before you crash land on any surface because if the door frames deform with the doors still in them and latched, there's a good possibility you won't be able to get them to open. I think an RV would be a different situation, and I'm not sure I'd want to ditch any aircraft where you've jettisoned the piece that's going to protect you from taking water in the face at 60mph.

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  #16  
Old 03-08-2009, 02:06 PM
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6S4 Hugo 6S4 Hugo is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-aviator View Post
Several composit airplanes have ditched and floated but I don't know of any SEL metal airplanes that have floated for long.
I have always wondered if a kayak flotation bag would give a little additional buoyancy. I used them in my kayak when I traveled the Maine coast in heavy seas. It seems they would be the perfect size to fit into the tailcone.

I also remember what my instructor taught me: "There is nothing more useless than the amount of altitude that you have above you." The article about the Hawaii ditching said the pilot called his mayday from 2,000' and many miles from shore. With additional altitude, he may have been able to glide closer to shore.

My 2?, FWIW
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  #17  
Old 03-08-2009, 05:00 PM
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CFI1513840 CFI1513840 is offline
 
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Location: Evans, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6S4 Hugo View Post
I have always wondered if a kayak flotation bag would give a little additional buoyancy. I used them in my kayak when I traveled the Maine coast in heavy seas. It seems they would be the perfect size to fit into the tailcone.

I also remember what my instructor taught me: "There is nothing more useless than the amount of altitude that you have above you." The article about the Hawaii ditching said the pilot called his mayday from 2,000' and many miles from shore. With additional altitude, he may have been able to glide closer to shore.

My 2?, FWIW
A floatation device is not a bad idea, especially if you are planning to fly extended overwater operations. Water displaces about 62 pounds per cubic foot, so you would need about 19 cubic feet of floatation for a typical 2-place RV, probably more than the kayak floatation bags quoted above. However, it shouldn't be too hard to come up with a custom floatation bag big enough to do the job that would fit in the aft fuselage http://www.subsalve.com/custom.htm. It wouldn't necessarily help egress, because the cockpit would still most likely be underwater, but it would allow something to hang on to after you got out, make you more visible, and perhaps allow the aircraft to be salvaged.

In Hawaii, light aircraft routinely cross between the islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai at altitudes as low as 1500 feet. In fact, local procedures dictate east bound altitudes of 500', 1500' and 2500', west bound 1000', 2000' and 3000'. Oahu to Kauai is a bit further stretch and higher might be appropriate. The lower altitudes are better for sight seeing, whale watching, etc. Despite the relatively high volume of inter-island single-engine GA traffic, there are very few ditching incidents.

The chance of a ditching is very remote, but being prepared would definitely promote more peace of mind on any extended overwater flight. My first priority would be an emergency air supply for egress, then floatation to assist survival. If you can float the whole airplane, all the better.
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  #18  
Old 03-09-2009, 02:04 PM
Steve Brown Steve Brown is offline
 
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Default I was thinking the same thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6S4 Hugo View Post
I have always wondered if a kayak flotation bag would give a little additional buoyancy. I used them in my kayak when I traveled the Maine coast in heavy seas. It seems they would be the perfect size to fit into the tailcone.
...........

My 2?, FWIW
Particularly the very large ones like is use in my Mariner Kayaks. The airplane would float nose down, but I'd rather be 5 feet under water than 50 feet.
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  #19  
Old 03-09-2009, 02:52 PM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David-aviator View Post
Water landing an RV will probably have the same outcome as landing a Cessna or Piper - not good. The fuselage will break open and the machine will sink quickly if it does not flip over or cart wheel and lose its wings. Fly over miles of water if you must, but don't plan on a ditching to be a piece of cake.

Several composit airplanes have ditched and floated but I don't know of any SEL metal airplanes that have floated for long.
A friend, who does post on this forum from time to time, ditched a PA-28 Piper with his wife aboard. He exited the plane and didn't see wife. It turns out he swam right by her on the way out. She did get out before the plane went down. He said the Piper floated, tail up for a while but not long. His mayday broadcast brought the rescuers fairly quickly.

He went on to say he put all his rescue stuff on his lap, which went into the foot well on impact and he never saw it again, including his life vest.

If you take a look at my POH, posted with the others, there is a section on Ditching. My friend went over it for me and it includes the key stuff that helped him.

As for ditching my -9. I figure it is best to open the tip-up canopy and let it float in trail. When the plane hits the water, that thing will flip forward and may rip off, give us easy exit. I would not try to jettison it as I don't want to have to worry about wind in the face or a different handling airplane while I'm trying to gently place it into the water.
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  #20  
Old 03-09-2009, 04:47 PM
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flyboy1963 flyboy1963 is offline
 
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Default ditching

Great to read about an actual ditching, kudos to Bob for sharing that.
I like the 02 bottle for another thing.....in-flight fire. Lets you breathe while you disharge your extinguisher! Like anything, if you don't practice it, you are not going to be able to find and use it in an emergency.

I wear a CO2 life vest at all times. At first I'm sure most people think I'm a dork, then think I'm a test pilot, especially when I sign my gas receipt, "Chuck.......( Yeager Jr.?)"
Mostly flying over the okanagan valley, the landing sites are 90% treed or steep rocky hills, or nice flat open water near beaches and highways. Rescue time is critical of course.
Jettison the canopy? true....I'd like to know it's going to open post-impact, but I might need the extra 2 gulps of air before it fills up??????

check out 'ditching' videos on Youtube, and they seem to bear out the 'wing-low' technique which avoids the flipover.
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