Searching for ditching

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  • So, the Learjet 60 that I used to fly has the following limitation: My question, is why would a manufacturer certify an airplane for ditching if it isn't required? The airplane is most likely going to be totaled anyway, right? Or does it just mean that since it isn't certified for ditching that we aren't allowed to do it? Guess no double engine failures over water will be in my near future....

  • Is it possible that a commercial airliner could hit the ocean surface at such an angle that it made a deep dive intact, got filled with water, sank, and got stuck in mud at the floor of the ocean?

  • Assuming Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ditched in the ocean, and surviving passengers and crew were floating around in their inflatable vests, how long could they survive? Is there data about the longest survival under such conditions? There are a few examples of people surviving for months in tiny boats, but there they could gather rainwater and catch fish, obviously impossible in just a lifejacket. Edit: although I mentioned a specific flight and lifejackets, the question is intended to be general for ditching in the ocean.

  • On commercial flights, in part of the pre-flight safety demonstration, you're told in the event of a crash, not to inflate your life vest until you're outside the airplane — why is this?

  • What should a pilot do to perform a successful emergency water landing, also known as ditching of a big commercial jet? Is there any checklist, or best practices, like "elevate the nose" or "retract the landing gear", to make it safer? Are commercial Jets buoyant?

  • A comment by @AsheeshR says: The Hudson River Landing was due to a combination of piloting skill and an autopilot system that was engaged right till impact and kept the plane in a controlled descent within a safe flight envelope. It was an Airbus aircraft, so the autopilot has priority over pilot input, but how exactly did the autopilot play a role in getting them down safely? What exact procedures did Sully and the crew follow when landing? Was there anything in addition to standard ditching procedures, that might have contributed to them landing in one piece?