Chock

Cessna 152 kills two sunbathers in forced landing

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Just seen this on the news. Apparently a flying lesson with presumably an engine failure, both occupants survived but unfortunately the aircraft hit two people fatally. As ever, it's garnering some stupid comments from people on social media about what the pilots should have done in what is in reality a tragic accident. Rather strange damage to the aircraft too, presumably it hit a wing on the beach and broke a spar...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40806376

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Hi Folks,

Yeah - a pilots worse nightmare - thought about this scenario many times - unless absolutely certain a beach is clear - plane is going in the drink outside the surf line...

Regards,

Scott

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Terrible accident. I use to go to that beach and I cannot imagine if it was in a weekend day! Even without people around and with a low tide it would be very tricky to land safely, the ground is very irregular.

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Costa da Caparica beach, as well as other beaches along the coast until Espichel Cape are exactly on the VFR corridor for southbound sorties from LPCS.

In 5 yrs, if I'm not wrong, it's the 2nd time a C150 lands in one of those beaches, the last having been a girl, student pilot, who got lost from her departure airfield ( LPEV ) and after flying around for a while trying to find where she was, lost a considerable amount of fuel and had to perform an emergency landing. Thanksfully no one heart on that occasion.

I think pilots should really receive training on landing in the sea, namely on aircraft with a fixed undercarriage where the chances of not suffering serious injuries are really very small. 

A terrible accident.

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Pilot was probably shocked during the emergency or thought the people on the beach would see or hear him but its a bit like a train hitting someone ,all the sound is coming from behind.

He chose the beach ,he could have ditched it in the water behind the breakers or  closer if there were no swimmers. its a fateful decision he has to live with and the only reason i can imagine to land on bathers would be a controllabiltiy issue or shock or of course he couldnt swim

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The beach should be your second choice and the water your first, only land on the beach if it is clear, otherwise take a swim

I recall a student pilot when I was in school had to make a forced landing and chose a school yard, on approach she saw kids in the school yard so turned away and ended up in a tree. She survived with a broken wrist, aircraft was a write off. Better that then hitting kids.

These pilots now have to live with the death of a child for the rest of their lives. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

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We fly way too low in Portugal in most areas. 500ft doesn't give you any maneouvering height and it's practiced above areas which are densely populated sometimes.

And yes, water first...

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I remember the same thing happening a couple of years ago in Italy - I think. 

The pilot was lambasted for not putting her down in the shallow water instead of the busy beach.

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And, 

this makes me defend, again, as I have been doing for years, specially because I fly gliders, that gliders and all GA aircraft should be equipped with sirens / horns, for situations where crew need to call the attention of people in the ground.

Around 1984 I had a really bad experience in a Bergfalke iii, flying with my mother as a passenger, and when coming to land at Sintra Airbase ( LPST ).

As I was low, and the weather, specially the wind, had considerably increased it's strength, and there were no radio communications, I made a straight in, and noticed, on short final, that three gliders and the tug were being brought into the rw, without noticing my presence, or even checking for any traffic on finals :-/

Landed outside, risking damage to the glider and injuries because the terrain was swamped - scary to say the least ...  I really missed having a siren / horn that time...

 

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Oh my! Things are escalating for the pilot and the instructor:

Quote

Reports said the two men in the plane could face a charge of negligent homicide and up to 16 years in jail.

 

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Could be just a legal formality to have charged them with that, then again it may be a more serious intent.

What seems more in question to me if they want to query matters legal, is the idea that single engined aircraft are at permitted to be at such a low altitude that they have few options of where to go when the rubber band snaps. Most countries would definitely frown upon single engined aircraft being over populated areas without a couple of grand in the altitude bank should anything go wrong.

I know a lot of people are suggesting they could have put it down on the water, but when the fixed landing gear digs in during a ditching, something like a Cessna 150 with the weight of its wings up high causing a rotation movement, is definitely gonna somersault, and that's got broken neck all over it as far as the crew are concerned, so you can't really blame them for not wanting to do that.

In the end, it doesn't matter who was flying, although one presumes the instructor took over, ultimately, it's the instructor who will get the blame, since they will be logged as the P1 and they will be the one who was deemed to have put the aeroplane in that situation.

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20 minutes ago, Chock said:

Could be just a legal formality to have charged them with that, then again it may be a more serious intent.

What seems more in question to me if they want to query matters legal, is the idea that single engined aircraft are at permitted to be at such a low altitude that they have few options of where to go when the rubber band snaps. Most countries would definitely frown upon single engined aircraft being over populated areas without a couple of grand in the altitude bank should anything go wrong.

I know a lot of people are suggesting they could have put it down on the water, but when the fixed landing gear digs in during a ditching, something like a Cessna 150 with the weight of its wings up high causing a rotation movement, is definitely gonna somersault, and that's got broken neck all over it as far as the crew are concerned, so you can't really blame them for not wanting to do that.

In the end, it doesn't matter who was flying, although one presumes the instructor took over, ultimately, it's the instructor who will get the blame, since they will be logged as the P1 and they will be the one who was deemed to have put the aeroplane in that situation.

Stall speed with full flaps is 35 kts ,hardly neck breaking while belted up and the water at that speed would have absorb a lot of the shock. Considering the pilot in command was the instructor he could have tried his best and probably got close.

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1 hour ago, Chock said:

I know a lot of people are suggesting they could have put it down on the water, but when the fixed landing gear digs in during a ditching, something like a Cessna 150 with the weight of its wings up high causing a rotation movement, is definitely gonna somersault, and that's got broken neck all over it as far as the crew are concerned, so you can't really blame them for not wanting to do that.

I disagree about the risk. It helps if you know what you're doing with a ditching, and I'm sure there are injuries and fatalities in some cases. But people survive this kind of thing uninjured, all the time.

It happened just 3 days ago out here in Seattle, with a Cessna 172: 

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/small-plane-crash-reported-off-shore-near-west-seattle/

Many years ago, I survived a ditching in a fixed gear/overhead wing plane in Costa Rica. It was a DHC-3 Otter we were using for aerial photography. The engine suddenly quit over the Atlantic coastal forest, and the pilot was able to glide out over the water to ditch just offshore (the beach wasn't safe, too many drift logs). I still have a small lump on my head where the cabin door behind the cockpit bulkhead banged me, but I was able to swim out of the plane along with the other three passengers, the pilot, and the co-pilot.

Pilots owe deference to those on the ground, when it comes to safety. I suspect there might have been a "save the aircraft" mentality at work here, instead of the more appropriate attitude that the aircraft now belongs to the insurance company, with a forced landing.

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Yup, I would agree they were probably thinking about the plane more than the people, which is particularly stupid when in a 30 year old Cessna which was probably close to being scrapped anyway.

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