When the engine quit on the Cessna 172 RG he was flying alone in over Ocean City, Maryland, 23-year-old Trevor Diehl didn’t have many options. Beachgoers populated the sandy strip along the Atlantic, and the city itself near the beach is chock-a-bloc with homes and businesses.
So he decided to ditch the plane in the water.
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Here’s what he did right.
- He kept it close to shore. Surviving a ditching and then drowning after the fact defeats the purpose.
- He put/kept the landing gear up. The most traumatic part of any ditching is when the gear hits and digs into the water. In many cases the plane will flip, making egress not impossible but much more complicated and less survivable.
- He got the plane slow. Speed is not your friend when the metal meets the water, and Diehl had the plane by all outward appearances at a landing speed.
Still, there were critics of the performance. The chief criticism was this: Diehl left the flaps retracted. He could have, admittedly, gotten the plane slower if he’d used landing flaps, or at least approach flaps. What the critics miss, it seems, is that a flat landing attitude keeps the tail section from hitting first and then levering the nose down hard. We give the kid’s performance a 10/10!
Check out the video yourself and see how it’s done!