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"what is meant by "ditching" a plane" Topic


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436 hits since 19 Jun 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

chrach719 Jun 2017 2:59 p.m. PST

In the accounts of the fighting around Guadalcanal I keep reading about pilots "ditching" their planes when low on fuel.

Did this involve parachuting out or was it a controlled "crashlanding" on the water?

BattlerBritain19 Jun 2017 3:32 p.m. PST

It's landing a plane in water.

There usually isn't any control after the plane first contacts the water. That's why the landing of an airliner on the Hudson was so special.

Any bits of the plane that stick out, eg propellers, wheels or bits hanging off, tend to catch and pull the plane, so making control of any sort difficult.

The plane also tends to slow really quickly so pilots tend to bash their heads, which makes escape difficult especially if the pilot is unconscious.

attilathepun4719 Jun 2017 9:57 p.m. PST

I guess this question is a sign of generational change. I doubt if there was a kid in America above the age of 8 during the 1950's or 60's who didn't know what ditching a plane meant.

Jozis Tin Man Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

From what I remember reading, ditching an undamaged aircraft seems to be preferred to bailing out when running out of fuel.

Anyone know why this was so? Was it safer? Less chance of drowning?

Zyphyr20 Jun 2017 1:41 p.m. PST

As I understand it (and I can easily be wrong) : better control over where you end up, more time for SAR to get headed towards you, plus parachutes aren't always reliable.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP20 Jun 2017 6:41 p.m. PST

USN aircraft generally had liferafts, which IIRC could only be accessed if the plane ditched, and remained afloat long enough for the pilot to retrieve it.

MH

Vigilant21 Jun 2017 3:50 a.m. PST

Tended to be ditched close to a friendly ship if possible so rescue was more likely. Probably safer than bailing out due to risks of parachute failure, hitting part of the aircraft on exit or just plain fear of jumping out of the aircraft. From my own experience most pilots prefer top stay with the aircraft for as long as possible. Still don't understand skydiving or parachuting for pleasure. I've never had the urge to jump out of a moving car, why jump out of an aircraft that can still fly?

Matsuru Sami Kaze21 Jun 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

Carrier aircraft often carried inflatable rafts, some stored in a compartment behind the pilot or in the fuselage. If you parachuted away from an aircraft, I believe the raft went down with the plane. Before the aircraft sank, the pilot of a ditched plane stood a good chance to access his inflatable raft. A raft beats swimming around with the sharks…most days.

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