Ethiopian ditch

Date:         01 Dec 96 04:08:54 
From: (Hedley Rainnie)
Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest)
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I am quite interested in light of the recent ditch of a 767 in the
survivability of aircraft ditching into the sea. Plenty of rafts in
the big airliners and a lifejacket for every passenger, yet, even
near a beach in what has to be fairly calm seas, the plane seems to
have had a hard time staying in one piece. Supposedly from a survivor
it skipped 4 times like a "pebble". If this was not just an unfortunate
landing then ocean crossing pilots may think twice about ditching when
problems such as engine vibration seem to be catastrophic, since the
likelyhood of the large airliner staying intact (especially in 30 foot waves)
may be lower than that of airframe failure from the defective motor.

Fortunately (in my memory) we have had few ditches at sea. Although
just last weekend a C130 went down off the CA coast with only 1
survivor. The plane also seems have disintigrated.

The diagram on the safety card in the seat pocket shows the evacuation of
the airplane portrayed in one piece. I do hope that in the majority of
cases this holds true.

On another note, I assume the flight data recorders may be interesting to
the simulator people if any parameters in ditching are valid.


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