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Thread: Musketeers Do Not Float

  1. #1
    Orbiting Earth Heading to Pluto corcoran's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Braintree and Cape Cod, Massachusetts,

    Musketeers Do Not Float

    Today's skilled landing of an Airbus in the (NY) Hudson River makes this a good time to re-read the title "Musketeers Do Not Float" on this website. (I'd post the link if I knew how).

    The Airbus sank after everyone got out... about 20 minutes by the media time estimate.

    On July 23, 2003 I had to get out of a Musketeer flown solo that landed in the ocean. The plane lasted 2 minutes.

    My conclusion: Water landings are NOT AN OPTION!

    "It can't happen to me" is not correct. Prepare for your water emergency by not landing on water, ever! Musketeers do not float.

    The original story is written in the third person. Now I am ready to answer any questions if asked.

    Tom Corcoran
    Boston and (summers) Prince Edward Island, Canada

  2. #2

    Chilling story. Sounds like no time at all...The fuselage just starts filling up.

    If I am planning a water crossing. I will fly the extra distance to hug the coastline as long as possible.

    Just think I used to make the Montauk to Martha's Vineyard crossing all the time as a young aviator...


  3. #3
    Orbiting Earth Heading to Pluto corcoran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Braintree and Cape Cod, Massachusetts,

    Musketeers do not float

    As evidenced by the US Air landing in the Hudson River, nothing will beat practise and the ability to have decisions be automatic. When was the last time you simulated an engine out to a STOP?

    Flying over water is not dangerous. Landing in water far from help might be. Staying dry is staying alive!

    Fly high over water with a glide (8 to 1 in a B23?) in your emergency plan.

    You saw pictures of the US Air passengers out on the wing. That could be you in a Beech. You could have trouble getting out with just one door, a reluctant or injured passenger. Don't rely too heavily on your flotation device in the baggage area. Brief everyone for getting out in a hurry prior to over water flights.


    Try to always know if the shortest route back to solid land is front, back or sideways.

    If you are forced to choose do not land behind the boat... land in front where he can see you. Go for the guy in the fast little runabout, not the big ship. The sailboat will be able to save you in a couple hours.

    Musketeers do not float... even in Kansas!

    Tom Corcoran

  4. #4
    Didn't know a jet with 2 engines hanging under the wings could land on water in one piece. Guess maybe the engines snapped off..

    Then again, most fixed nose gear birds flip over in a water landing.

    This landing was with a small left bank, the wingtip skimming first, but when that left engine hit the water ..that was it. Not the same as both engine making contact at the same time.. but..

  5. #5
    I heard, but haven't confirmed, the captian landed with the gear down. There are two schools of thought on this. Gear down will absorb and dissapate some the impact forces. Gear up will allow a smoother water landing and therefor a slower decelleration. I think this captian made the right choice if he did have the gear down. With the two big fans that extend below the fuselage, there was going to be an abrupt deceleration anyway, so the extended gear may have reduced that segment of impact. However, in my Sierra, I would have kept the gear up. No decision for the FG guys.

    It was also interesting to note how it settled tail first. I don't know how deep the East River is, so I don't know if it was actually floating. I wonder if some type of buoyancy in the tail would have helped. There is usually a lot of unused volume aft of the pressure bulkhead. Perhaps someing like ridged foam or something would have a good chance of surving intact enough to keep the airplane level during a water evacuation.

    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, Az.

  6. #6
    It was the Hudson, not the East River, and it's quite deep there- any of the big luxury liners and military ships have made that passage countless times. Figure 50-60 feet deep.


  7. #7
    Heard they're looking for the engines..

  8. #8
    That might prove problematic- there's a pretty fast current running there: 4 or 5 knots, IIRC.


  9. #9
    Despite 30 years of Pete Seeger and the Clearwater program, the Hudson, especially the bottom 5 miles, is pretty bad.

    And, I am told, that sonar reads turbofan engines the same as a '75 Buick with a trunk full of bodies...out of habit.

    Pix show gear up on approach to "Seaport Hudson". But if there is any video of the touchdown, they are probably being auctioned off between the TV networks.

  10. #10
    The Navy might be able to help locate and recover the engines. I don't think the current will move a 5,000 lb hunk of metal too far.

    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, Az.

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