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Old 25th Aug 2017, 14:30
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 441
It's a sad fact, but all the PPLs in our Group seem to think wearing a life jacket (of the less than 100 kind) and carrying a dinghy (in the 'back') somehow provides 'magical' protection in the event of a ditching around the UK.

Comments such as 'the engine doesn't know it's over water' lead these naive individuals into a false sense of security without ever considering many of the salient points raised in this article such as: panic, injury, hypothermia, ability to swim and chance of rescue (in time).

I promised my wife years ago I would never fly over the sea in a single.

What are the chances of an engine failure over the sea? Well I've never had an engine failure of any kind in over 40 years of flying.

However, the outcome if you do is likely to be death. You don't expect to die when you go out in your car if the engine fails. If the engine fails over land during daytime VFR you are trained to react and carry out a forced landing.

I've never had any training in ditching, either as a PPL or as a commercial pilot, other than swimming and getting into a dinghy in a warm, calm swimming pool. Not really the preparation you would need to survive a ditching in a choppy, cold sea just after the trauma of surviving a crash and possible injury and shock.

Trouble is no matter how hard you try as an instructor and examiner, the same 'it'll never happen to me' attitude prevails.

There probably is no evidence to suggest that there have been any more incidents over the sea than over the land.

Trouble is if your engine does quit the survival rate over land is probably well above 50%, whereas that over the sea is not much above 0%.

Placing your destiny in a 40 year old engine is not something I'm willing to do.
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