DITCHING CHARACTERISTICS

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Downwind.Maddl-Land, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Downwind.Maddl-Land

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Sales and Marketing
    Location:
    York, England
    Anyone got any opinions - or better yet - information on which WWII aircraft had good, or bad, ditching characteristics?

    As a 'starter for 10', 2 of the worst had to be the B-24 and the Beaufighter. The latter even inspired poetry by one Gavin Ewart; viz:

    When a Beau goes in
    Into the drink
    It makes you think,
    Because, you see, they always sink;
    But nobody says "Poor lad!"
    Or goes about looking sad;
    Because, you see, it's war,
    It's the unalterable law.

    Although it's perfectly certain
    The pilot's gone for a Burton
    And the observer too,
    It's nothing to do with you;
    And if they both should go
    To a land where falls no rain nor hail nor driven snow--
    Here, there, or anywhere,
    Do you suppose THEY care?

    You shouldn't cry
    Or say a prayer or sigh.
    In the cold sea, in the dark
    It isn't a lark
    But it isn't Original Sin--
    It's just a Beau going in.

    Gavin Ewart

    (Apologies if this has been done before but I couldn't find anything specific)
     
  2. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    P51 would not be fun to ditch because of under fuselage air scoop. Spitfire same problem maybe to a lesser extent. All USN fighters pretty good.
     
  3. Crumpp

    Crumpp Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great topic!

    I think it is very easy to underestimate just how difficult and dangerous ditching at sea is for a pilot.

    A good friend of the family was killed along with his daughter’s best friend in the Bahamas ditching a 172 at night in the sea after engine failure. His daughter was the only survivor. Sad thing is he was over the beach at around 3am when it happened. He requested to set it down on the beach but ATC vectored him over the ocean to attempt a runway landing. I always think about that when ATC issues me instructions during stressful times. Good way to keep in mind that you as the pilot are responsible for the safety of the flight, not ATC.

    Interesting article on the subject of ditching. There is some controversy on the best techniques to use. The technique probably has more to do with the outcome than the aircraft I would think.

    EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Ditchings - a Case History and Review of the Record

    All the best,

    Crumpp
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    561
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Executive, Consulting
    Location:
    Scurry, Texas
    The SOP for the 51 was bail out better than ditch.

    B-24 broke its back frequently

    B-17 allegedly great..
     
  5. Downwind.Maddl-Land

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Sales and Marketing
    Location:
    York, England
    Hey Crumpp, I’m really, really sorry to hear that story; especially as I was an ATCO. Please accept my genuine condolences. Ditching a fixed gear aircraft has just got to be a less than 50/50 affair and only then if everything is going for you. I have an ATC experience to relate on the subject, but that probably isn’t appropriate now.

    Renrich, you have to be right there; the Mustang must have pitched forward something awful when it made contact and probably just went straight on down with the weight of that Merlin to help; not a good option!

    I believe that the Spitfire wasn’t toooo bad as it had a low stall speed and the wide wing cushioned impact slightly and added buoyancy; it might have been better than a Hurricane (with only fabric to keep the wet stuff out) that also had the large water-ingesting central radiator speed arrestor. I’ve read numerous stories about B-17s and Lancasters seeming to ditch reasonabley well but nothing about Halifaxes.

    The B-24 I know was a complete Dog; the fuselage always fractured in a the area of mid-chord, the bomb doors always collapsed and the mid-upper turret usually detached and visited the flight deck crew, with less than welcome results.

    I’ve seen the famous bit of film of the Hellcat ditching alongside the carrier and that seems to go OK; anyone any information on how the fabled Corsair fared?
     
  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    why would anyone accept vectors in an engine out scenario when you apparently can see the ground? I've worked similar situations as an ATC and it's the pilots call ,how are you supposed to control a powerless aircraft
    get the grease pencil out to mark it on the CRT and assist as much as possible without becoming a hindrance to the pilot while getting the emerg folks headed the right way
     
  7. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,766
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Hi Downwind,

    >Anyone got any opinions - or better yet - information on which WWII aircraft had good, or bad, ditching characteristics?

    There is a series of pictures shot with a long tele lens of a Messerschmitt Me 110 ditching off the French coast during the Battle of Britain. It was published in the Luftwaffe propaganda magazine "Der Adler", showing two crew members getting out, with a caption like "One of the survivors swims back to the sinking aircraft, but too late to save his comrade". This statement appears somewhat suspect since as far as I know, the Me 110 in daylight operations only carried a crew of two anyway.

    One particular aircraft that did extremely well on ditching was the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 recovered from the sea off Norway a couple of years ago. Though it ditched because the flaps extended asymmetrically, the pilot was able to put it down so softly that the crew managed to get into the dinghi without even getting wet. It probably helped that they had gone through the (dry) ditching drill only a few days before. Interestingly, the pilot (who is still alive) commented that the aircraft sunk quickly because the fuel tanks were almost empty as they were coming in from a long-range reconnaissance flight.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  8. Jank

    Jank Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Does anyone know how the P-38 fared either in belly landings on ground or in water ditches?
     
  9. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There was some vids on utube showing proper ditching techniques for some RAF planes.
     
  10. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Messages:
    12,669
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    R E T I R E D !!
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    I've seen films of a B-29 ditching... looked to me like a piece of cake.
    I've seen AD's go into the drink, and floated so long the DD had to sink
    it with gunfire !

    Charles
     
  11. Crumpp

    Crumpp Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    His engine was not out when ATC vectored him. It was running rough and failed when he was out over the water following ATC instructions.

    I can see my post did not make that key point clear. His engine started running rough and losing power. He requested to land on the beach and ATC denied the request. Either way, the pilot is responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft. Like I said I think about it every time I get such things as LAHSO's before I take them.

    My homebase is Class C so I am very comfortable with ATC, the majors, and the regionals. In fact ATC are my heroes when I am flying! I am also very cognizant of the fact it is my butt in the left seat.

    Thanks. It was a pretty sad time.

    All the Best,

    Crumpp
     
  12. Downwind.Maddl-Land

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Sales and Marketing
    Location:
    York, England
    I have to agree with Pbfoot (well we would, wouldn’t we? We’re both ATCOs!). I don’t know what the priorities are for the FAA but for UK military ATCOs the No 1 is always “Aircraft in Emergency” and (in general terms) your first action is get the distressed aircraft pointing towards the nearest airfield. (“N XYZ Mayday/Pan acknowledged, steer 123 for Little Hogsnorghton [or wherever], advise intentions when able.”). Pause while he Aviates, Navigates then Communicates.

    If those intentions are “Executing forced landing on beach at position ABC” you don’t tell him he can’t! You are in nice warm ATC facility – he’s not! Specifically, with a rough running engine you’d steer the aircraft to the overhead – you only need DF to do this – and, if the aircraft was above cloud, conduct a Spiral Controlled Descent Through Cloud. Again, you only need DF to do this too; you’d be able to get a C172 or the like into a position where it could conduct a forced landing on the airfield, if not onto a runway, in an 800’ cloudbase.

    What you wouldn’t do is turn the aircraft with a rough running engine away from the airfield. Seems bizarre to me, I have to say. However, some civilian ATC units can become so imbued with their routine, day-to-day, sausage machine operations that they forget that sometimes the sausage machine has to be switched off for a few minutes, but that’s a Human Factors issue.

    However, we have a serious thread drift situation going on here……….
     
  13. Downwind.Maddl-Land

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Sales and Marketing
    Location:
    York, England
    Charles, is that the piece when the '29 ditches along, and just off, the beach, behind a long line of accommodation tents? All the off-duty guys turn and watch the proceedings with intense curiosity! I think it's Saipan. If so, Yes, that is real well-controlled ditching, although how deep the water is I don't know; I don't think its too deep and everyone should have got out of that one.
     
  14. Crumpp

    Crumpp Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There were some court battles and IIRC some members of your former colony ended up paying.

    Yes

    All the best,

    Crumpp
     
  15. Downwind.Maddl-Land

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Sales and Marketing
    Location:
    York, England
    Oooooooooooooh! Stuff the thread drift! Do tell! :D

    (or was it with respect to 'your' specific incident? If so, I don't want to pry and please accept my apologies in advance) :oops:
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,161
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    I remember reading the Hunter Pilots notes the first time I flew over the sea. They may as well have not bothered and simply said 'Don't Ditch'. A little sobering.

    Re WW2 anything with a scoop was bad news as the water catches and the plane tends to flip. I believe in Coastal Command Halifax's had a good reputation as did Wellington's.
     
  17. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Messages:
    12,669
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    R E T I R E D !!
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, Va.

    Yes, Downwing, I believe that's the one. He comes in right to left and
    sets it down rather well. Wonder why he chose the water rather than
    the runway, or (if avail) the grass or sand beside the runway ?

    Charles
     
  18. Downwind.Maddl-Land

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Sales and Marketing
    Location:
    York, England
    In all the shots I've seen the aircraft runs left to right, but it’s a common film/video editing technique to ‘reverse' the action.

    I always reasoned that the water landing was taken as a fire dousing/prevention option. With the R-3350's predilection for catching fire in those times an engine fire could be the reason as to why the airframe is being cast to Neptune’s good offices in the first place.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    23,208
    Likes Received:
    790
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Maintenance Manager/ Flight Instructor
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    I had a childhood neighbor who was a B-17 FE. He ditched in the channel and said the plane floated until they were picked up (no bomb load of course).

    As far as ATC directing your course during an emergency - you can deny instructions if you feel you are in danger. Last year a student and I got mixed up in some severe turbulence during a night cross country. Luckily we were close to our home airport. I requested to turn directly toward the runway after notifying tower personnel of our situation (by now we were up and down about 2 - 300 fpm, 20 - 40 degree variations in bank angle) and I was worrying about over stressing the aircraft. "She" wanted me to fly the pattern for landing. After an exchange 3 times she still insisted I fly the pattern (there was also a helicopter operating on a ramp area and was not a factor) I came back and told her "Fine, you could come with the salvage company to Broomfield and pick up the pieces of the aircraft after we fall apart." At that point I proceeded straight in. Amazingly all turbulence stopped about 300 feet AGL!
     
  20. glennasher

    glennasher Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    kitchen countertop laminator
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I hear the scoop on a Typhoon made them real fun to ditch.........
     
Loading...

Share This Page