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Forced landing choice, water or timber?

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Forced landing choice, water or timber?

Old 16th May 2020, 22:27
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Forced landing choice, water or timber?

As the title says, if you have a choice, what are you going for? Those that have done Huet courses and have a better idea than the rest of us, what's your experience.
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Old 16th May 2020, 23:02
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Depends. Fixed or retractable gear? Pod mounted or tail mounted engines? Low or high wing?
Given a sheltered bay, river or lake, I would go into the water unless the beach was suitable.
Open, rough sea is very dangerous, but if you are Ďout thereí you probably donít have a choice anyway.
Smacking into two metre waves at even a relatively low speed will break up most airframes. Smacking into trees may be survivable if you donít burn or a branch does not impale you.
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Old 16th May 2020, 23:04
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Dang, beaten by Mach!

This needs a bit more clarification:
Open sea, or enclosed lake?
Deep or shallow?
Retractable gear or fixed?
Dense softwood like a pine plantation, or irregular tall hardwood, like Oz areas?
Tall or short trees?
Chopper or fixed wing?
Are you on fire?

Lay down a few criteria and we can give you some answers.
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Old 17th May 2020, 00:14
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Should have known better
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Old 17th May 2020, 00:32
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Let me ask an equally excellent question: "How long is a piece of string?"
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Old 17th May 2020, 00:36
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Water or Wood. People have survived and died doing either. But water seems to appear softer!

Some pilots canít land safely on a runway!
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Old 17th May 2020, 00:42
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Ixixly, Arsend Charlie and Mach, how did you go doing the Huet course, did it change your perceptions? Peoples reactions can go from sheer terror to controlled panic, did your reactions surprise you? Did it make you think about your options should you have choice of timber or water?
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Old 17th May 2020, 00:53
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I can thoroughly recommend looking for a banana plantation..........

Cheeerrrsss.....
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Old 17th May 2020, 01:41
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Mach and AC have both covered the gist of what I was going to say.

In essence, if the OP means this to be a general question, there is no correct answer (meaning no clear "best choice"). Even if there are two seemingly equal choices available at the time a forced landing is apparent, or decision made (picture water ahead at 11 o'clock and flat land at 1 o'clock, same distance away, within gliding range) then several factors will affect the likelihood of a successful outcome -- as well as the degree of "success". First: the aircraft type (as mentioned by both posters above). Second, what is the nature and condition of each surface? Is the water wind swept, with high waves? What type and size of trees in that (seemingly) flat forested area? Third, is the PIC aware of tendencies / history of this type, with respect to impact characteristics, egress issues, etc. (He / she certainly should be… )

On the other hand, if the OP is asking the question: You are going to force land and you have no choice of land or water, what would you prefer to have in front of you as the place you are going to end this flight?

Answer: Water – if it’s a fixed wing, low wing, retractable, and the water is flat calm and is not open ocean. Otherwise, forest (regardless of whether high-wing, low wing, or rotary wing). And yes, my answer re rotary-wing (and fixed wing, high wing) is based at least partly on HUET.

Most importantly, in either case the stats show it’s a coin flip.
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Old 17th May 2020, 03:15
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I did the HUET a very long time ago - before it was called that. Though I am confident in the water and at the time was an occasional SCUBA diver, it was scary enough.
But I thought more applicable to a helicopter going into the drink than what I would expect for a fixed wing ditching.
I did a couple of deliveries with a ferry pilot who had ditched several times. As I recall, one was a high wing Cessna which went nose down and stayed semi submerged supported by the wing for a while. The problem was, that as he exited from the door (which he had the good sense to have cracked open before impact), he got trapped by the fully extended flap and had to dive down and back to get clear. He was not too far offshore so the US Coastguard got to him in a helicopter.
Another was a Chieftain which (lucky for him) had the optional crew hatch on the left side of the cockpit. He went in under full control and said the touch down was gentle enough. He had time to open the hatch, grab the small liferaft stowed on the co-pilot seat and get clear. By the time he got in the raft the aircraft had disappeared. From memory he was rescued by a Russian ship and ended up in Vladivostok.
What nearly did for him was a BN Islander. The sea was calm enough and touchdown very slow. But because the fixed nosewheel dug in to the water, the nose section crumpled backwards and smashed his legs. When I last saw him he was still using walking sticks.
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Old 17th May 2020, 03:59
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I had the choice a long time back with an engine failure after take off from a strip in the gulf province in PNG. It was either until this very slow moving deep brown river with God knows what in it or take my luck with the canopy, I chose the canopy and survived to tell the story. Not an enjoyable experience. It all depends on the situation and all the other factors involved.

Last edited by splat72; 20th May 2020 at 00:25.
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Old 17th May 2020, 05:23
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Righto, for you fence sitters. You want a type of aircraft? Say a Kodiak and you just took of from Sentani. Your choice is very steep mostly denuded hills or the lake, there is a road that wraps around the edge at times but none of the straight sections are much more than a couple of hundred metres and usually has a lot of traffic.
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Old 17th May 2020, 07:37
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Night or Day?
I had Night...!
it is not a fun premise....
lucky to make it to a Aerodrome...
Could not even start the APU on arrival...
Low Fuel.!!!

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Old 17th May 2020, 08:37
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unconscious in water, you drown, on land if no fire? just a thought.
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Old 17th May 2020, 08:46
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Originally Posted by splat72 View Post
I had the choice a long time back with an engine failure after take off from a strip in the golf province in PNG. It was either until this very slow moving deep brown river with God knows what in it or take my luck with the canopy, I chose the canopy and survived to tell the story. Not an enjoyable experience. It all depends on the situation and all the other factors involved.
Surely in this case you should have landed on the nearest golf course? 😂
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Old 17th May 2020, 09:34
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I saw this AVweb video just recently.


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Old 17th May 2020, 10:07
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Originally Posted by Super Cecil View Post
Righto, for you fence sitters. You want a type of aircraft? Say a Kodiak and you just took of from Sentani. Your choice is very steep mostly denuded hills or the lake, there is a road that wraps around the edge at times but none of the straight sections are much more than a couple of hundred metres and usually has a lot of traffic.

That's the recent MAF one...
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Old 17th May 2020, 10:24
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Originally Posted by Ixixly View Post
Let me ask an equally excellent question: "How long is a piece of string?"
Let me give you an excellent answer. A piece of string is as long as the distance from one end to the other when the string is fully extended lengthways. You're welcome.
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Old 17th May 2020, 11:10
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Originally Posted by D'pirate View Post
unconscious in water, you drown.
Yep, but are you going to hit the water that hard? Sully did ok!

With a high wing, you just got to make sure all the exits are unlocked before the cabin goes under.
Biggest issue is getting your safety equipment out once you’re in the water.
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Old 17th May 2020, 11:21
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Ixixly,

Let me ask an equally excellent question: "How long is a piece of string?"

Let me give you an equally excellent answer......... Twice the length from the
centre to the end !!!

Rgds McHale.
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