Engine out over Alaska - what would you do in this case

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by MountainDude, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Let's say the engine goes out in a C182 over coastal Alaska.
    There is no beach to land on, so you will pull the chute (BRS).
    You have enough altitude to glide a bit and choose the general area where you will touch down.

    Where would you choose to touch down and why?
    1. Thick forest
    2. Water

    Survival gear onboard:
    Raft
    PLB
    Personal flotation devices
    (No wet/dry suits)

    alaska.jpg
     
  2. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    There are some clearings in the picture, but if they aren’t really clear, probably the shallow water. Ditching are highly survivable and getting a fire going will solve the cold and wet problem.
     
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  3. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The forest. If you choose the water, even in summer, you are almost guaranteed to die from cold unless there is a rescue vessel right there waiting for you.
     
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  4. kaiser

    kaiser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thick forest. If you go in the water, you’re getting wet even with a raft. Which means you’ll have to dry out and warm up. Also, you also lose everything from the plane you can’t take with you in the first 30 seconds.

    In the forest you have access to the entire plane, contents, radios, even the left over fuel to start a fire (unless the reason you are down is because you ran the tanks dry o_O)
     
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  5. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    Not the forest. It will probably solve making the fire problem, but you won't need it except to provide the bears with a hot meal. Shallow water, but likely you only get out with what is on your person. The old-timers up there carry the essentials in a vest. A thick wool sweater is preferred as you can wring it out and it still provides warmth when down will not.
     
  6. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Slide along that snow pack, easier for rescue to spot ya, lol.
     
  7. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Bend over and kiss your a$$ good bye.
    A Cessna is near imposable to get out of, the engine sinks first the rushing water keeps the doors closed, swimming over 50 yards is impossible if you do get out. (it is cold 35-40 degrees) saps your strength away.
    rocky beach is the rule, you will be in deep water right a way.

    Not good news
     
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  8. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    A story ---
    Orcus Island taking off to the north the piper 28- ? the engine quit, 4 aboard to teenagers two adults all 4 got out, the kids made it 2 adults didn't. They were less than 50 yards off shore.
     
  9. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I'd try for a logged off area, and hope for little trees, at least the bears will clean up.
     
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  10. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Shallow water if I can tell it is really shallow, like walk to the shore and have access to the plane still. Otherwise likely the trees next the shore line, so the float plane can easily come pick me up.

    Brian
     
  11. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Water will kill you, winter and summer, no matter what survival gear is onboard. In summer, you will suffer longer.

    Trees, well, humans will not be the first responders. The first responders will be critters looking for an easy meal.
     
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  12. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Does this thread make you think about getting a new 406 GPS equip- ed ELT ??

    or a set of floats?
     
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  13. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In that case, I'm ripping the seats apart and trying to burn the foam. Or anything else in the plane that might be flammable.
     
  14. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    99% of that area is stump ranch/regrowth, ice & rocks, or too steep to log.
     
  15. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    south east Alaska the bears are black bears, they are afraid of you --- normally.
     
  16. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    DON'T GET WET. Hypothermia kills so many survivors, even in the summer. Take the trees or a meadow. Avoid water and big rocks.

    Maintain that engine and fuel system properly so it doesn't quit in the first place.
     
  17. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    1) Put your feet on the seat and make sure your knees are near your earlobes. 2) Bend forward as far a physically possible. 3) Kiss it good-bye. :p

    I agree with those that say don't do a water landing. Take the meadow or the trees. Will there be bears or something else looking for food? Perhaps there will be. In that case you should have adhered to my earlier advice on needed cross country items:

    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/com...over-through-the-rockies.130045/#post-3026396
     
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  18. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    No one has commented on this yet. "Pull the chute" ---- On a Skylane 182? They don't have chutes. Thus, you're flying/gliding in to either trees or the water.
     
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  19. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Hypothermia from water is overblown. Yes, there is a threat, but if you are prepared to make a fire and change into dry clothing, you aren’t going to die. There is even a story of a fisherman in Greenland who fell off his boat, swam to shore, then stayed warm by vigorously hiking to safety.

    yes, if you get into the water and then can’t get out, can’t get into shelter, can’t build a fire, can’t change clothes, you are in trouble.

    That’s why I said shallow water. You’re going to get out, take your waterproofed survival kit and wade to dry land. You’ll change clothes, build a fire, wrap up in your sleeping bag or wool blanket, and get warm and dry. If you were smart, you’ve included a shelter like a tent. The change of clothes and tent are not required, but all others are required to be carried.

    obviously, you’d like to land on dry land, but wild clearings are probably clearings because a tree fell. If you hit that and flip, the survival kit becomes irrelevant.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
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  20. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Concur 100%. Everyone I know who has survived a crash in southeast has stuck it in the water.
     
  21. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I assume these decisions were made based on the lack of a BRS, which I agree with. Do you think the BRS changes that decision?
     
  22. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I hope you are not referring to this crash, because your description is inaccurate and irrelevant to the context of this thread. If this is not the crash you are referring to, can you please find it? Thank you
     
  23. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In this scenario, the 182 does have a chute.
     
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  24. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Gadzooks on my 2005 trip to the inland strait I spent hours figuring out OEI operations to up mountain strips.....
    But If I had to force land, it would for certain be over land, even if in trees.
    (Graduate of survival school)
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
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  25. Jeff767

    Jeff767 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Dry land every time with a chute. If you have ever done any serious water egress training it’s a no brainer. As a plus you have both a shelter and something easy to spot for rescuers between the plane and chute. Shelter is critical if you have to overnight in cold climates.
     
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  26. Todd82

    Todd82 Line Up and Wait

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    This is a case where F that chute, glide it to where you're in control of what you hit, not the chute/wind/gravity in control...
     
  27. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    My first flying job in Alaska was exactly that scenario. Part of our training requirements was to know the location of every possible emergency landing site and to have them marked on our map.

    We were evaluated regularly for being able to make 180 degree turns to evade weather and terrain as well as constantly getting simulated engine failures, so it was not a new experience if it actually happened.

    In the event of a powerplant failure with nothing but trees and water, the plan was to line up parallel with the edge of the water and turn toward the trees as late as possible. That way, you could avoid the water, but could be rescued by a boat!

    The outcome of such a "landing" was expected to be violent and not always survivable, but maintaining control of the aircraft until it come to a stop was the goal...

    Fortunately, I never had to do it, but it was something we all expected and prepared for.
     
  28. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Because the shore line sticks up out of the water at 80 degrees, nothing else to choose but the water... :lol::lol:

    And everyone knows southeast Alaska is not really Alaska....:yesnod::yesnod:

    But yes, one time that stupid turbo 207 quit running on me and I was aiming for the shoreline at Funter Bay. It was going to hurt a little but it would not have been fatal, especially with civilization really close. Someone would have heard the crash landing and sent help. Plus I was in radio contact with the dispatcher during all this, but I got it running again so it's all a moot point.
     
  29. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    It might from the perspective that once you pull the chute the landing spot is only known to God ...
     
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  30. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    https://brsaerospace.com/cessna/
     
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  31. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    Didn’t know you could put a chute on a 182....
     
  32. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Those who suggest 'chuting into shallow water are dreaming. You won't have that sort of control. The BRS needs, I think, something like 800 feet altitude to deploy and decelerate the airplane, and in the remaining altitude the wind could do nasty things. You could end up most anywhere you don't want to.

    Worse, the idea that you're going to easily find shallow water is a fantasy. This is not the East coast. You won't find a lot of nice flat beaches. The mountains are high, steep, and often plunge directly into the ocean. In some areas there are strong currents to contend with, floating ice, and other non-funny stuff. You get wet, you're shortly dead. Any dry clothing in the airplane will be wet, or sunk with it. Transport Canada says this:

    Surviving a ditching is one thing, but immersion and the time spent in the cold water is possibly even more hazardous. Ensure that all equipment needed for flotation and the prevention of hypothermia from a lengthy exposure to cold water is on board and available. Brief passengers on their expected actions including their responsibilities for the handling of emergency equipment, once the aircraft has stopped in the water.

    About the only good thing about ditching is the unlikelyhood of fire.

    Go to Google Earth and click on some of the pictures along the northern BC and southern AK coast. It's not Florida or the Carolinas. Go to a local lake in the winter, chop a hole in the ice, and spend some time in the water. Then remember that seawater can be colder than that without freezing. All along that coast there are glaciers shedding ice all summer and rivers dumping ice water into the sea.
     
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  33. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    The reason a lake between two mountains doesn't have any beaches is because there isn't any shallow water. The entire shoreline is a steep slope. If you are flying the coastal route you should have brought a floatplane.
     
  34. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So you would choose the forest, correct?
     
  35. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That 207 as you know eventually quit for good and our mutual friend ditched it right off Coghlan Island. The only other true ditching I can think of off the top of my head was a Beech 18 (IN WINTER!) that went down off Annette after a missed approach hauling a load of Geoducks. Those dudes swam 200 yards to the shore in 20' seas and lived to tell the tale. There was also the mid-air a couple years ago where the plane with survivors ended up in the water and they got picked up, sans the person that was either dead on impact or knocked out in the co-pilots seat.

    In regards to the "would the BRS change anything" for me, no. I'd much rather be swimming to shore than hanging 200' up in the air in the top of a sitka spruce tree. I wear a wool baselayer in wintertime with wool socks and a wool liner in my boots. I don't fly anything single-engine any more though so it's really just a case of old habits more than anything else. Wool is comfy.
     
  36. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Cold water story, circa 1978. I did a lot fishing on the west side of Whidbey Is. about 6:00 AM I was behind Jimmy Flowers when his boat engine quit, they found the engine compartment was flooded, they didn't have very much until the boat went down by the stern, Jimmy was less than 50 yards off shore, neither was wearing preservers, the only thing that saved Jimmy's life was empty 5 gal gas can, his buddy disappeared, never to be seen again.
    I cut my line and ran to help. but I couldn't find his buddy.

    The big thing I learned was always wear the preserver.
    All the pilots that service these routes are required to wear them.
     
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  37. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Trees, definitely. Lived in AK most of my life, much of it in the woods. Critters aren't a worry.

    I lost a friend a few years ago after he ditched close to shore in Prince William Sound. They recovered aircraft parts. His body was never found.
     
  38. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I'm not knocking the full airframe parachute as a safety device. But this is the thing that I believe some people miss. Once one initiates the deployment sequence for the chute you as the pilot have decided to stop flying the airplane.
     
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  39. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, but the BRS:
    1) pretty much guarantees you will survive the "landing". Ditching with a fixed-gear plane does not
    2) also guarantees the plane will not flip over upon ditching, which is a huge advantage
    3) gives you plenty of time on the way down to get your survival gear ready, including activating two 406 PLBs
     
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  40. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What if the plane is arrested by tree canopies 200' above ground, then later it starts to slip and maybe crashes to the ground? That seems potentially dangerous.
     
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