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Cessna 150A Noseover on Santa Monica Beach

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Cessna 150A Noseover on Santa Monica Beach

Old 27th Dec 2022, 05:43
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Cessna 150A Noseover on Santa Monica Beach

A Cessna 150A with two occupants nosed over during a forced landing to the beach at Santa Monica, California on 22 Dec 2022. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot requested a return to Santa Monica Airport citing power loss from a rough running engine. Subsequently, the pilot told the tower he could not make the airport and was landing on the beach. The aircraft landed in shallow breakers avoiding any ground casualties. The pilot was injured and the passenger died of injuries sustained in the accident.






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Old 27th Dec 2022, 21:13
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No flaps? Would prefer to touch down with min speed. However, a beach full of people is a nightmare for a dead stick landing, maybe he had no option to flare without hitting somebody.
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Old 28th Dec 2022, 09:20
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Looking at the video, I think he planned for the hard sand a bit more to the left but as you can see some people incl a child prevented that , he touch down in water instead and went over, No flaps , well, to get best glide you keep flaps up as long as you can only when sure of the touch down spot you put them down , why ? stress, distracted, by people on the ground, paniqued pax, so many possibilities.. .. We were not in that cokcpit. Sad the pax did not make it , This accident was really survivable with a 4 points seatbelt....
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Old 28th Dec 2022, 13:38
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This accident was really survivable with a 4 points seatbelt....
'Sure looks like it, assuming that the shoulder harnesses were being worn...

to get best glide you keep flaps up as long as you can only when sure of the touch down spot you put them down
Yes, though that older model of the 150 probably has manual flaps, giving the advantage that you can extend full flaps very quickly at the last moment.

It was a compromise forced landing situation at best, and good on the pilot preventing any risk to the public!
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Old 28th Dec 2022, 16:15
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Regarding the passenger, the fact he was 90 years old may have been a factor in his not surviving. That's quite a deceleration when impacting the water.
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Old 28th Dec 2022, 19:30
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Question: Would it be safer to ditch in water just off the beach??
(This is an accident scenario that could happen to me.)
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Old 28th Dec 2022, 19:31
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'Sure looks like it, assuming that the shoulder harnesses were being worn...
if there was some , i have rented old 150s and 172s in the US that only had 2 points seatbelts . They came like this at the time it seems and the current owners did not want to pay for the modification.
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Old 29th Dec 2022, 11:55
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N7032X, a Cessna 150A
According to some first hand rumors, the plane did have shoulder harnesses installed, and they were used. The pax passed due to a cardiac arrest or event; the pilot only suffered minor injuries or bruises.
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Old 29th Dec 2022, 12:28
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Originally Posted by Maoraigh1
Question: Would it be safer to ditch in water just off the beach??
(This is an accident scenario that could happen to me.)
Beach .my former aeroclub was located besides the sea and we all got good ditching briefings .
2 main reasons : help will come faster and if tidal , the hard sand ahead of the seawater line may ( emphasis on may ) prevent a nose over which is almost a certainty in water , even in very shallow water as we see here . Soft sand might work especially if you have a retractable gear and can store the prop horizontal. the gear will probably rip off but you are likely to survive and even if you flip over you will not drown .


Last edited by Pilot DAR; 29th Dec 2022 at 14:48. Reason: Fixed typo
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Old 29th Dec 2022, 12:31
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Originally Posted by avionimc
N7032X, a Cessna 150A
According to some first hand rumors, the plane did have shoulder harnesses installed, and they were used. The pax passed due to a cardiac arrest or event; the pilot only suffered minor injuries or bruises.
did not know thanks . So he did not die because if injuries caused by the crash itself but basically of old age
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Old 29th Dec 2022, 15:02
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I do like the beach idea as I don’t like being upside down in the water.

But as a floatplane pilot, I have taken what is known as the ‘Dunk Course’. Something that is now mandatory in Canada for commercial floatplane pilots. It has a setup in a pool designed to simulate an aircraft cockpit which flips you upside down and then you do your escape procedure.

One thing about flipping over on a beach rather than water that I wonder about is the possibility of the harder impact on the beach making fuselage deformation more likely with a more likely chance of a jammed door. Definitely a good idea to open the doors for the touchdown.

Another advantage of being upside down in a water-filled cabin is that undoing your seatbelt may mean that you won’t be as likely to fall onto your head when the seatbelt is released.

One note on seatbelts in upside down aircraft. If by chance the buckle has somehow been done up with it facing the wrong way(release toward the body) as can happen with a passenger who is not familiar with its operation, it can be impossible to release when one’s body weight is against it while upside down. This situation did occur and can make a timely rescue extremely difficult in a situation where full or partial submerging in water increases risk.
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Old 29th Dec 2022, 16:08
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Fully agree . I did not go further into our ditching briefings but if you must land in the sea , it is always parallel to the waves ( meaning generally full cross wind ) take off your shoes ,open the door(s) ( or the canopy ) and stick one shoe in between to prevent jamming and to let water in . Wings absolutely level, if 2 blades prop , prop horizontal ( using bursts of starter ) fly 1-2.m above water , full flaps and slowly let speed drop by itself until just before stall . Do not force stall, let it sink . If you can , hand on release seat belts knob and release asap after the first shock.
Now that said it is pure theory which you likely will forget parts of it in an emergency .

There was a very good long article published ( unfortunately only in French afaik) a couple of years ago by the pilot of a C 182 ditching after an engine failure in the Mediterranean a few minutes after departure from Ajaccio where he almost drown because he forgot the seat belt release , He was saved by his wife , who was a stewardess and remembered the drill .the guy was an experienced B 777 pilot .
His whole story is very , very educative,

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Old 29th Dec 2022, 16:24
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
.... take off your shoes......
Actually, maybe unless wearing heavy army boots or so, I seriously suggest keeping your shoes on. You need something sturdy on your feed, in case you need body-forces to enforce "something", let alone, protect your feet against all sharp metal in and around the foot well. Most shoes "float" nowadays, so won't impact your floating (significantly). Not to say, when you land in water where you simply can stand, no need for shoes removal for the non-float-issue.
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Old 29th Dec 2022, 17:22
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Genuine question. Are you better opening the door then latching the handle again whilst open.
My experience suggests if not the door will slam shut again if you just unlatch it.
Wedging it open with something sounds a good plan but depending where you are and for reasons given above, shoes?
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Old 29th Dec 2022, 18:53
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For my experience with Cessnas, if you have hit so hard to deform the fuselage to the point where the door cannot be opened, you probably did not survive. My friend crashed his 150 so hard, that it stopped in less than a foot. The coroner later told us that he had experienced a 200G stop. I opened the door, and another firefighter opened the other door with no difficulty during the rescue attempt. This is not an argument against popping the doors open before crash landing/ditching (as some POH's say to do), but rather a suggestion not to fixate on it. Some of the Cessna doors will re latch if pushed closed. If the Cessna you're flying has an "open/close/latch" position, and you want to keep it opened for the crash, after it is opened a little, move the lever back to "latch" and if will not latch closed again when pushed.

Know your seat belts. A very few [now] Cessna still have the shoulder harness which clips over a pin on the lap belt tang, which is left to right reversed. Thus, undoing the lap belt leaves the shoulder harness to remaining lap belt still connected diagonally across your torso. In this case, undoing the lap belt which hanging will not release the shoulder harness, and you're not getting out, unless you wriggle out, or cut the belt. I have found a few errant Cessnas like this over the decades, and referred them to maintenance before flight to have the belts corrected. The very oldest Cessnas had metal to fabric lap belts, which would not release under load, or when wet. These have been AD'd out, and I haven't seen one in decades. But if you see one of these, refuse the plane until it's corrected.

If you're ditching, do so parallel to the swells, regardless of the wave and wind direction. If you're flying such that ditching is a possibility, you should be noting the swell direction as you would note forced landing areas. You want to know that before you need it! And, note the compass heading to be flying to be parallel to the swells, as you may not have any other [shore] visual reference to do it. If the waves are the height of swells, you should not be flying single engine there. The land equivalent is hitting a bump on the runway (which, yes, could be damagingly large), compared to flying into a shallow hill. The plane may push through the wave, but it will come to a sudden stop in the swell.

Always be actually wearing your lifejacket, and if temperatures dictate, an immersion suit. "Having it aboard" is totally useless if you're not wearing it. If you doubt this, take the dunker course, and you won't doubt it after that! Wearing my lifejacket literally saved my life.

Take the dunker course, it's way fun, and confidence building. My experience having taken the dunker course, and teaching water rescue for years was a major factor in my own survival after a water crash.
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Old 30th Dec 2022, 04:51
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Originally Posted by WideScreen
Actually, maybe unless wearing heavy army boots or so, I seriously suggest keeping your shoes on. You need something sturdy on your feed, in case you need body-forces to enforce "something", let alone, protect your feet against all sharp metal in and around the foot well. Most shoes "float" nowadays, so won't impact your floating (significantly). Not to say, when you land in water where you simply can stand, no need for shoes removal for the non-float-issue.
I would opt for shoes off in a water landing. Purpose is to maximize power of your swimming kick. Especially if you end up in water with arm/torso injuries etc your ability to kick can make the difference between getting regular breaths of air vs gulping water drowning in a matter of seconds. For similar reasons, I would prefer to shed overclothes.
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Old 30th Dec 2022, 10:21
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As I said before getting shoes off main benefits on a water ditching ,are keeping the door(s) unlocked preventing jamming and letting water in case inverted as water pressure prevents it to open . Extra benefit in case unconscious : it helps other people to get you out without having to figure out how to unlock the door or slide the canopy .
those 3,benefits alone ( besides faster swimming ) far outweighs anything else .such as eventual minor injuries on foots on metal bits

But seat belts releases is the one to watch for and train as they are the killer ones . As Pilot DAR said some do not open easily or even not at all under pressure .if you fly in one of those aircraft then carrying a seat belt cutter ( 10 eur or $) in any car accessory shop would be my advice .
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Old 30th Dec 2022, 11:47
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Especially if you end up in water with arm/torso injuries etc your ability to kick can make the difference between getting regular breaths of air vs gulping water drowning in a matter of seconds.
Well... speaking as someone who has been in exactly that situation, along with two broken legs, and a broken back, I can say that it was wearing a lifejacket which saved my life, and made rescuing me possible. Kicking to swim wasn't really going to happen, I was lucky to hold onto a sinking plane while I manually inflated my lifejacket. If you have the forethought to remove shoes before a ditching, much better to have the fore fore thought to wear the lifejacket. Then, leaving your shoes on until you can decide in the water what you'd like to do will be a practical possibility. I'd say that for most of us, it's pretty uncommon to be overflying water warm enough to "swim" in for any length of time nor distance, so planning to be found floating alive is your better plan. If you, or the person(s) in the plan with you were injured, it's a lot easier to help them by inflating the lifejacket they are already wearing for them, than trying to swim to keep both of you afloat.

I have recovered dozens of wrecks, and been in one. the circumstances of every one was different. I learned from all of them. Happily, the sum of what I learned prior to mine was just enough to keep me alive when my student splashed us. Every time I plan to overfly, or land on, water, I consider the possible circumstances and variations, and plan accordingly - there is no perfect rule - other than to wear your lifejacket.
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Old 30th Dec 2022, 13:47
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
As I said before getting shoes off main benefits on a water ditching ,are keeping the door(s) unlocked preventing jamming and letting water in case inverted as water pressure prevents it to open . Extra benefit in case unconscious : it helps other people to get you out without having to figure out how to unlock the door or slide the canopy .
those 3,benefits alone ( besides faster swimming ) far outweighs anything else .such as eventual minor injuries on foots on metal bits

But seat belts releases is the one to watch for and train as they are the killer ones . As Pilot DAR said some do not open easily or even not at all under pressure .if you fly in one of those aircraft then carrying a seat belt cutter ( 10 eur or $) in any car accessory shop would be my advice .
When worried to keep the door further open than just ajar, maybe use the headset at the front end of the door (thinking in low-end Cessna types), one cup inside, one cup outside and the headband above the upper door hinge. Can be done in 10 seconds, whereas taking off your shoes can easily be 2x 1 minute fiddling with a yoke in front of you, especially for those who aren't 18 years old any longer, when you only have 60 seconds before your crash, and you have more serious things to worry about.

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Old 30th Dec 2022, 15:14
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Originally Posted by WideScreen
When worried to keep the door further open than just ajar, maybe use the headset at the front end of the door (thinking in low-end Cessna types), one cup inside, one cup outside and the headband above the upper door hinge. Can be done in 10 seconds, whereas taking off your shoes can easily be 2x 1 minute fiddling with a yoke in front of you, especially for those who aren't 18 years old any longer, when you only have 60 seconds before your crash, and you have more serious things to worry about.
Yes, agree , anything to keep the door a few cm ajar will do . When we got those briefings we were all young so taking out a shoe was seconds and you can train and memorize the drill as everyone wears shoes. But indeed anything firm enough to sustain the impact shock will do, , you just have to know what it is and where it is located in a few seconds. I get the age factor though , do not think of that . The pax here was 90. But OK, we were not the PIC.
BTW this is why I hate flying PA28 over water with pax . Getting out on the right side side with only one door always causes me a problem...

@Pilot DAR :
speaking as someone who has been in exactly that situation,
Then we should listen to you with utmost respect . I never ditched, I only got the briefings and speak here from those briefings experience only . So I will stop here.

That said, I have however crashed a few times in my GA flying carreer , and one time with serious injuries. with 15 seconds or so to decide where to put the aircraft down in mountains. And despite my knowledge , I did not do everything according to the briefings . but if you had asked me before I would have assured you I would. .. Listening to safety presentations / sitting at home in front of a PC or being in a cockpit during an emergency are 2 very different things. Startle effect + stress is not easy to reproduce.

Last edited by Pilot DAR; 30th Dec 2022 at 16:50. Reason: typos
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