Who's Online

We have 1278 guests online

Live Traffic Feed

Life in the Skies

'A Local Bestseller!'

What Tony says
(See here)
and Book Launch video here
What others say

Les Posen

Yvonne Lee

Louisa Lim & Allan Koay

Aireen Omar, Asran & Bo Lingam

38 Readers' Comments
(See here)

Get an autographed copy here

AMAZON.COM  -  To Order, please Click here 

(eBook) Kindle edition - please Click here

Latest Comment

A successful SIA Cad
the deadline i guess it's the end of this februry,

Singapore Airlines P
Hello captain Lim , I am Ray . I would like

What are the eyesigh
sir i have -0.25 in my right eye and 0.75 in left

Spontaneous Pneumoth
I'm not a doctor or anything, @chinmay, so I can't

What are the cruisin
The idea that the earth is spinning is plain bulls

Singapore Airlines C
Hello Captain Lim, I am an Indian citizen, Engine

Spontaneous Pneumoth
my grandmother is 70 yrs. old also sugar patient.

Does a jet aircraft
From what I understood Flat earthers are just uned

A Boeing 777 can’t f
Aircraft airspeed systems measure how fast the air

When and how does th
I don’t know

Paperback Version

 For Local Availability - Check Here
Home > Ditching > I have a fear of flying over the water if something should happen.
I have a fear of flying over the water if something should happen.
Flying - Ditching
Written by Capt Lim   
Thursday, 06 December 2007 19:19

Hi Capt Lim,

I really like your site. It has made me much more comfortable to fly today.

I have a question. We are flying to Hawaii from Portland in a few weeks' time and I have a fear of flying over water, especially if something should happen. You said that land is always an hour away. I can't figure this one out.

Can you explain how we could get to land if we had a emergency, especially if we were halfway there? Thanks so much.

Cindy Rerick
Professional Services Coding
IPCO Clinics

Hi Cindy,

When I said land is about an hour away, I was referring to certain specific routes. As I have not flown on the Portland to Hawaii route, I have just referred to the Pacific Ocean Chart and found that the distance between any 2 airports on the route is about 2000 nautical miles. So, if you encounter an emergency at the halfway mark, you are about 1000 miles from land. On a Boeing 777, you would be about 2 hours 20 minutes from a suitable airport. This is not a problem for the Boeing 777 is certified to operate on a one engine maximum diversion time of 180 minutes (3 hours).

I mentioned in a previous answer about an United Airlines Boeing 777 that flew for 192 minutes on a one engine diversion after it had a technical problem on a route from Auckland to Los Angeles. It made an emergency diversion and landed safely at the Kona airport in Hawaii on 17th March 2003. It exceeded the regulated 3 hours by 12 minutes due to strong headwind and that was not a problem on the engine.

There has been an over-emphasis of single engine diversions when in fact, statistics have shown that most diversions, whether by 2, 3 or 4 engines plane are mostly due to weather or medical reasons rather than because of engine failure. So if something does happen halfway, say an engine failure, a Boeing 777 can easily divert on the remaining engine for the 2 hours 20 minutes duration without any difficulties.

You mentioned about fear of flying over the sea. I have written about ditching in a query from another reader earlier. To make you feel better, I would like to elaborate a little bit to make the ditching topic more complete. Ditching is a term we refer to when an airplane makes a landing onto water, either controlled or uncontrolled. Controlled ditching can arise when the airplane is forced to land on the sea because it is about to run out of fuel (engines still running) because of some fuel leak. Uncontrolled ditching arises when the airplane has no more power left to maneuver the plane for a touchdown onto the water. Just like the Titanic with life boats, a Boeing 777 has 8 slide/rafts, each capable of carrying an average of 58 passengers or a total of 466 survivors.

Assuming a safe ditching has taken place over the sea, the 58 survivors in each slide/raft would have some equipment and survival paraphernalia on board to keep them busy until rescue arrives. Unlike during the Titanic period, air or sea search-and-rescues are getting more efficient today. Out of the 8 slide/rafts, two are equipped with emergency locator transmitters (ELT) that are activated automatically when it is wet. The ELT would assist rescue aircraft to locate the survivors' position floating on the sea. It would continue to transmit emergency signals up to 50 hours at a range of 100 to 280 miles.

If it is raining or sunny, the survivors could erect an orange fabric canopy over their heads in the slide/raft. It has many aids to attract the attention of rescue aircraft or ships, such as heliograph - a specially designed mirror to be used in bright sun light. It can be seen for miles away. Then there are the daynite flares to be used when rescue aircraft or ship is sighted. To make the location of the raft more visible, sea dye markers are provided to ensure the trail of the dye can be easily seen. Each individual life vest is also attached with a whistle for attracting attention and help.

If survivors are thirsty, there is drinking water on board; hungry, barley glucose sugar to munch on! Feeling sea-sick? There are 'Sea Legs' tablets from the first aid kit. When it gets dark, there are flash lights. If the raft leaks, it can be mended with repair clamps; excess water can be sponged and even a bailing bucket is provided. There is also a hand pump to inflate a slightly deflated raft. Feeling bored? There is a survival manual to read too!

Hope these little facts would make you feel less fearful of flying over the sea should the unthinkable ever happen. Touch wood :-) !!


TrackBack URI for this entry

Comments (3)

Subscribe to this comment's feed
Great write up, you know how to reassure people!
Joseph , 09 Jun, 2010
Ditching , Low-rated comment [Show]
Sorry but that is not the case ....
Most of the Australian bound transpacific flights leave at night and fly all night long until they are close to the Australian shores when the sun rises.

If you have to ditch there is no way you will be able to make a safe ditching in the middle of the night.

Sorry but I will fly the good old 747, sorry 777 is a nightmare waiting to happen !
JLinMiami , 21 Jul, 2010

Write comment

smaller | bigger


Paperback Version

 For Local Availability - Check Here

Recommended By..


'A Local Bestseller!'

Recommended by

Patrick Smith
Boston USA

Capt Meryl Getline
ex-United Airlines USA

Capt Doug Morris
Canadian Airlines

Capt  Robert J Boser
ex-United Airlines USA

38 Readers' Comments
(See here)

Get an autographed copy here

AMAZON.COM  -  To Order, please Click here 

(eBook) Kindle edition - please Click here

View Book Launch video here

Follow me


Like What You Read?

If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here

MH 370 Interviews

Click here to View

10 Most Popular Posts

Disclaimer | Privacy
2004 - 2011 © AskCaptainLim.com | Site Concept by eQuilec.com