Flying over Water
  • Cosmic
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    Flying over Water

    by Cosmic » Sun May 15, 2005 9:38 pm

    I had the opportunity in the not too distant past of being asked to accompany an aircraft owner on a flight from Ireland to the UK. A Single Engine Piston. It was because I had the required licence for a foreign registered aircraft and he had not. Before leaving home the night before I had enquired as to wether the A/C had life vests and most importantly a life raft. I made a point of mentioning that my participation was dependant on these criteria being met. On arriving at the aircraft in question I discovered that there were only two crude jackets, for four people and no life raft. I then refused to go any further.

    Image

    When you conisder that rescue times assuming SAR finds you straight away if you look at the graph your going to be lucky if you get away with it.

    Some People just fire off and don't give a though to it. In fact they may even be the ones to critisize first. I just want to know that I have an "out" if it all goes quiet up front. Even if you do have a raft theres no garauntee your going to get into it.

    Have to laugh at people who say, "We'll go up to FL10, we'll be able to glide" Pull out your POH for say a 172 and see how far you can glide from 10,000ft. Its not as far as you think and if it happens half way your certainly not going to glide in.

    So what do people think, and this applies to anyone who fly over water.
  • seamus
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    by seamus » Mon May 16, 2005 10:47 am

    I flew from Wexford to Haverford west in Wales about 60 miles
    Across the Sea with a two-Stroke (Rotax 582). Before departing
    On went the submersions suites and we also carried an emery Beacon.

    Dublin did not want to talk to us so we changed to London Freq. It's a long
    flight only seen two boats.

    You must be perpared when flying over water.

    Shey
    Thruster T300
  • OnTheNumbers
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    by OnTheNumbers » Mon May 16, 2005 12:01 pm

    The life raft is probably the most useful - providing you know how to use it and so on. On the up-side from May to December the 30 year average water temp has been over 10Degrees giving you three hours in the water.
    http://www.met.ie/marine/marineclimatology.asp

    Still, bearing in mind that you may or may not be able to survive in the water I reckon you should invest in maximising your chance of rescue. A personal locator beacon should definitely be on that list!
  • incisor
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    by incisor » Mon May 16, 2005 12:59 pm

    Have to dispute the three hour survival assertion. Anything I have read indicates a realistic survival time of about 45 mins for the average build in our waters - even with a life jacket. The slight variation in sea temperatures from winter to summer is not a major factor at our latitiude.
  • Cosmic
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    by Cosmic » Mon May 16, 2005 6:36 pm

    Shey, Nice to hear your opinion. You wouldn't believe some of the comments I got from the Pax(Who were all Pilot rated I must add) of the proposed flight. I found it difficult to comprehend how some people could be so cavalier with something so serious. Its hard when your in the hot spot and people are puting pressure on you to go and you have to say no. How people will try and make you change your mind after you have given your decision and the reasons why. Glad to know I am not alone!

    Incisor, Yes I think your right. The graph above is SURVIVAL times. NOT time of usefull function. The 45 mins you quote is time to Unconciousness. The difference is that if you are fished out under the three hours you may recover. But if you were in heavy seas you would probably drown due to being passed out.

    Out of interest, can one rent a raft and the personal beacon, which I must admit I had not even thought about?
  • EIDEL
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    by EIDEL » Mon May 16, 2005 6:40 pm

    Has no-one heard of the EPIRB . they cost about 300euro are programmed with your crafts unique id your home phone and activate on getting wet.An invaluable asset in the water. Your rescue time will be anything from 20mins to 1hr max in Irish waters . It all depends on how fast George can get the Zikorsky over your head . If you cross water Get one it cuts down on insurance bills .Clip it somewhere that it may float free in you ditch. More safety > later<
  • Flyer1
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    by Flyer1 » Mon May 16, 2005 7:41 pm

    A few people I know have said they would prefer to go with no lifejacket's but have a liferaft,

    I've done a few crossing's with people and touch wood the engine hasn't given a burble, Between Rosslare and Fishguard is a very busy route for ship's and if you did happen to go down ( which is very unlikely ) someone would pick you up.

    Then how likely is the engine to stop ?If the engine has been running the last 25 min's to the coast it's unlikely to stop over water. These are the risk's involved in flying.

    I can fully understand your not willing to go with those jacket's and no raft, i wouldn't.

    Regards,
    Flyer1
  • MCRO
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    by MCRO » Mon May 16, 2005 8:29 pm

    Perhaps a very useful axiom

    Never fly yourself into a situation where any posible eventuality - absent structural disintegration - is going to leave you without a safe out.

    I have to admit to distinct and uncomfortable qualms every time I fly from Mullaghmore to Killybegs without a lifejacket.

    Maurice
  • Cosmic
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    by Cosmic » Mon May 16, 2005 9:17 pm

    Maurice, Yeah I know what you mean. I was looking at a Map of Florida and I did a route like below on a number of occasions. About 80 Nm over the water as I recall. Never gave a thought to it, with Water temps at 25 Degrees Plus. When I came back to dear old Ireland and saw that grey Sea and cold conditions, it focused my mind.

    Image

    Flyer1, I agree with the majority of what you say, but..

    Then how likely is the engine to stop ?If the engine has been running the last 25 min's to the coast it's unlikely to stop over water. These are the risk's involved in flying.


    I don't subscribe to that train of thought. Sods law says thats exactly when it will go.
  • Nanoq
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    by Nanoq » Mon May 16, 2005 10:13 pm

    The way I see it is, if you survive the ditching and remain conscious, the survival equipment you have on you're body is probably the only stuff that will get out of the aircraft. I fly inside the Arctic Circle with raft, ELT, dry suit and an aircraft equiped with floats and even still the chances of surviving a ditching are very slim. At night there is an even less chance.

    Even in the warm wates of Florida you have things like sharks to think about while waiting for a rescue.
  • MCRO
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    by MCRO » Mon May 16, 2005 10:44 pm

    I too must admit to visiting Key West without a Life Jacket!

    Unhappily, having spent a noticeable portion of my working life in repair stations, I have seen that there are reasons, usually mechanical, why engines can go solid, without warning.

    Flying single-engine-powered it surely makes sense never to fly so low that one has not a reasonable chance to manoeuvre to survivable terrain

    Paticular case is the airfield with impossible terain or buildings on the last half mile of the approach : and yet there are those who repeatedly come in with a lot of power making good a 3 degree glidescope

    This has about the survival chance of the Bullfighter who chooses to come in for the kill over the Bull's horns.

    Maurice
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    hum
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    Ditching

    by hum » Tue May 17, 2005 8:34 am

    Best info on this topic I have come across is here:

    http://www.equipped.org/ditchtoc.htm#lessonslearned
  • Bluebeard
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    by Bluebeard » Tue May 17, 2005 5:23 pm

    At altitude 10k ft and 10:1 glide ratio you have a glideable situation for 38 miles of the crossing. That's 63% of a sixty-mile sea crossing.

    At 15k ft you have glideability for 57 miles (95%).

    Thats why I want to get oxygen.
  • Cosmic
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    by Cosmic » Tue May 17, 2005 10:27 pm

    Very comprehensive document written by the CAA. Glad all the millions I am paying them are going towards something usefull.

    http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/SRG_GAD_SSL21.PDF


    However, despite most ditchings being survivable spproximately 50% of survivors die before help arrives.


    Hum thats an excellent site too, Lots of info.
  • hibby
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    by hibby » Tue Jul 05, 2005 5:11 pm

    Cosmic, that's very different information to what's given in the page linked to by hum. According to that site, the overall ditching survival rate is 90%.

    http://www.equipped.org/ditchingmyths.htm

    I am very interested in this topic as my intention when I am qualified is to do some touring abroad, which necessarily means flying over water. I (and my passenger) will be wearing (not carrying) auto-inflating life preservers during the over-water segment of the flight, and I also intend to carry an EPIRB and a life-raft. Over the top? Maybe. But I don't want to be out there knowing that my life and that of my passenger depend entirely on the engine continuing to work.

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