A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2017 Jul 28, 15:43 -0700
Herbert you wrote: I see no reason why the plane could in theory not have touched the water with zero kinetic energy left.
Zero kinetic energy would require zero forward speed. I’m afraid all fixed wing aeroplanes have to have some speed on upon touchdown or the result would be very expensive and probably very painful. You can reduce that speed significantly using high lift devices and reduce it a little bit more by landing with power on (which the Hudson aircraft didn’t have any of), but the fact remains that energy remains to be dissipated using wheel brakes (which get very hot), breaking parachutes, and reverse thrust. Or in the case of the Hudson Incident ploughing through the water hoping you won’t break up or porpoise under. Have you never sat just behind the wing of an airliner and seen immediately after touch-down the spoilers go up while the flaps remain down creating massive turbulence, heard the engines go into reverse thrust, and felt the deceleration? John Iverach in ‘Chronicles of a Nervous Navigator’ claims a Catalina flying boat could be ‘dropped on’ at a very low speed, but that was with an aircraft designed to land on water every time. DaveP