Volume 3 general Technical Administration
chapter 30 EMERGENCY EVACUATION AND DITCHING DEMONSTRATIONS
Section 4 Safety Assurance System: Ditching Demonstration
A. An applicant or certificate holder who proposes
to operate a landplane in extended over-water operation must conduct a ditching
demonstration. Extended over-water operation is defined as an operation
over water at a horizontal distance of more than 50 nautical miles from
the nearest shoreline. However, in some cases operators are allowed to operate
certain types and models of airplanes at a distance greater than 50 miles
from land without the operation being designated as extended over-water
operation. When this is the case, the waiver that allows this will be given
in the operations specifications (OpSpecs). The ditching demonstration is
conducted in accordance with the requirements specified in Title 14 of the
Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part
121 appendix D(b) or part
125 appendix B,
and the direction and guidance provided in this section. The purpose of the demonstration is to evaluate the operator’s ability to safely prepare the
passengers, airplane, and ditching equipment for a planned water landing. During the demonstration the following four areas are evaluated:
· Emergency training program,
· Ditching procedures,
· Crewmember competency, and
· Equipment reliability and capability.
B. Ditching and water landing are defined differently.
Ditching, as commonly used in aviation, is a planned event. When the airplane
lands in the water without warning, this is an unplanned water landing.
A ditching demonstration will simulate a planned water landing. The preparation
for ditching is similar in nature to the preparation for a planned evacuation.
This section relates to Safety Assurance System (SAS) Element 5.1.1 (OP),
Training of Flight Attendants.
3-2532 CREWMEMBER CRITERIA. The selection and
number of crewmembers to be used in the ditching demonstration is very important.
The following paragraphs supplement the information in section 2, paragraph
A. The qualifications of the crewmembers used
in the ditching demonstration should be consistent with the qualification
of line crewmembers. Whenever possible, crewmembers used in this demonstration
should have been “line crewmembers” for the last 2 years. Experience gained
prior to the previous 24 months should not be a consideration when selecting
crewmembers for possible use in the demonstration. In addition, when possible,
crewmembers should not have been used in a demonstration within the last
6 months. There are smaller airlines where this may not be possible. When
this is the case, the former experience should be documented and included
in the report regarding the demonstration. When the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) determines that crewmembers to be used in the evacuation and ditching
demonstrations have been allowed to “practice” opening the doors/exits,
they should not allow these crewmembers to be used in the ditching demonstration,
unless this additional training is included in the operator’s FAA approved
B. The air carrier should present a minimum
of two complete crews for the demonstration(s). During the consultation
with the Air Transportation Division (AFS-200) or the General Aviation and
Commercial Division (AFS‑800) through the certificate-holding district office
(CHDO) that is required as a result of two demonstration failures, the lack
of trained crewmembers for future demonstrations should be discussed. It
is possible that in the case of failure due to equipment, the same crewmembers
can be used to test the equipment. However, this decision should be made
in consultation with AFS-200 or AFS-800 as appropriate and the CHDO.
C. It is very important that the “back-up”
crewmembers that may be used if the first demonstration fails are not given
any information about the first demonstration. Sometimes, this is best accomplished
by having these crewmembers isolated in an area which is physically removed
from the first ditching demonstration. However, if these back-up crewmembers
are not held in an area away from the demonstration they should stay in
a group with an FAA inspector present so the inspector can insure they are
not given any information about the first demonstration.
D. When an airline is new, typical line crewmembers
may not be available. When this is the case, the carrier must train the
first cadre of flight attendants (F/A); it is quite possible that these
F/As will also be instructors. Nevertheless, they should not be given instruction
or experience that will not be given to trainees who will be expected to
serve as F/As on this aircraft in operations. For example, they should not
have had “train the trainer” training until after their participation in
the ditching demonstration. F/A managers who are in charge of the air carrier’s
overall F/A program should not be used as crewmembers during the demonstration,
unless no other F/As have been hired.
E. Crewmembers who are used in evacuation demonstrations
may also be used in the ditching demonstration. However, the FAA encourages
whenever possible the use of separate crewmembers for the emergency evacuation
demonstration and the ditching demonstration. Some air carriers may not
be aware of the stress level the crews face by participating in these types
of demonstrations. Additionally, by providing separate crewmembers for each
demonstration it provides the FAA with a better assessment of the training
program. In the event of a non-F/A demonstration failure (e.g., equipment
failure), it is recommended that a new F/A crew be selected from the remaining
3-2533 REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS. Section
121.291(d) or §
an operator to conduct a ditching demonstration for each type and model of airplane used in extended overwater operations.
This demonstration must be conducted in accordance with each of the conditions stipulated in §
121.291(d) or §
appropriate unless the operator can present documentation that another operator conducting operations using
part 121 OpSpecs
has conducted a successful ditching demonstration using the same type and model of airplane. When the operator provides the FAA with this documentation, then §
121.291(e) provides relief from some of the conditions contained in §
121.291(d). Specifically, §
121.291(e) provides relief from those requirements of part
121 appendix D(b)(2), (4), and (5).
The purpose of a ditching demonstration is to show the FAA that the certificate holder has the ability to efficiently carry out its ditching procedures. In accordance with §
121.291 and part
121 appendix D or
§ 125.189 and part
125 appendix B,
the ditching demonstration is conducted as follows:
A. The demonstration must be conducted during
daylight hours or in a lighted hangar if conducted at night.
B. The FAA minimum required crew complement
(both flightcrew and F/As) must be available and used during the ditching
C. When an operator’s procedures use able bodied
persons (ABP) to remove or launch life rafts, then the same number of persons
who will act as ABP(s) must be used in the demonstration. The ABP(s) should
be provided by the operator and should have experiences similar to average
passengers. Crewmembers, mechanics, and other air carrier personnel who
would have knowledge regarding the use of emergency equipment should not
be used. The FAA should insure that able-bodied persons are not given additional
training. The ABP(s) should be briefed and perform the duties as stipulated
in the appropriate crewmember manuals. The operator should supply enough
ABP(s) to ensure coverage if the first demonstration fails.
D. Stands must be placed at each emergency
exit and wing. The life rafts or slide rafts should be inflated onto the
stands and then lowered to the hangar floor. This will prevent injury to
participants, as well as damage to the life rafts or slide rafts.
NOTE: 14 CFR part
25.807(d) requires that, during type certification, ditching emergency
exits must be above the calculated waterline which will exist when the airplane
is at rest in the water. This “waterline” and the designated ditching emergency
exits are defined in the “manufacturer’s ditching document” which is part
of the final part
25 type certification report. The operator should obtain waterline and
ditching exit information from the manufacturer. This waterline is where
the tops of the stands should be positioned.
E. Each evacuee (crewmembers and passenger
participants (ABPs), if applicable) must don and inflate a life preserver
according to the operator’s procedures and the F/A’s briefing.
F. Each life raft or slide raft must be launched
and inflated according to the operator’s procedures. When air carrier procedures
require a survival kit to be attached to a door-mounted slide/raft, the
survival kit must be attached prior to inflation. All required emergency
equipment must be placed in the rafts. Each evacuee must enter a life raft
or slide raft. The crewmembers assigned to the raft shall locate and describe
the use of each piece of emergency equipment.
G. Each life raft must be removed from stowage
for inspection. One life raft or slide raft (selected by the FAA) shall
be inflated and launched and the evacuees assigned to that raft shall get
in it. The rafts and/or slide rafts must be the same as those used on the
NOTE: In addition, they must be equipped as they would
be on the aircraft in regular operations. The crewmembers assigned to the
raft shall locate and describe the use of each item of emergency equipment.
H. Either the airplane, a life-size mockup,
or a floating device that accurately simulates the passenger compartment
must be used for the demonstration (part
121 appendix D(b)(6)(i) and (ii) or part
125 appendix B(b)(6)(i) and (ii)).
NOTE: It is FAA policy to use an airplane for all
ditching demonstrations. If the operator proposes to use a life-size mockup
or a floating device to conduct the demonstration, approval must be granted
by AFS-200 or AFS-800 as appropriate.
3-2534 THE DITCHING DEMONSTRATION PLAN. The
ditching demonstration is normally conducted after the satisfactory completion
of the aborted takeoff emergency evacuation demonstrations. In these situations,
the same team leader (TL) and FAA team members should conduct and observe
the ditching demonstration. Every effort should be made to have cabin safety
inspectors (CSI) act as TLs or at least be involved in the planning and
conducting of the ditching demonstration. This may not always be possible
because of the workload of some CSIs. When a CSI is not available, assistance
from other experienced inspectors should be sought. However, if an operator
plans to initiate flights into extended-overwater areas for the first time,
with an airplane that they previously operated over land areas, they must
conduct a ditching demonstration. See paragraph 3-2533.
A. If the operator plans to conduct the ditching
demonstration in conjunction with the emergency evacuation aborted takeoff
demonstration, the operator’s aborted takeoff demonstration plan must include
information applicable to the ditching demonstration such as the following:
1) Copies of the operator’s manual relating
to crewmember’s ditching duties and responsibilities
2) A description of applicable emergency equipment
used for ditching (such as life rafts, survival gear) including the type
and model of the emergency equipment.
B. If the operator presents the FAA with documentation
that another operator conducting operations using part
has conducted a successful ditching demonstration using the same type and model of airplane, then
§ 121.291(e) provides
relief from some of the conditions contained in §
121.291(d). Specifically, §
121.291(e) provides relief from those requirements of part
121 appendix D(b)(2), (b)(4) and (b)(5).
C. If the operator must conduct a ditching demonstration that is not in conjunction with an emergency evacuation aborted
takeoff demonstration, the operator’s demonstration plan must be submitted at least 15 working‑days before the date of the actual demonstration. This
plan must include the information in subparagraph A and the following additional information:
1) The airplane type and model which will be used;
2) The proposed date, time, and location of the ditching demonstration; and
3) The name and telephone number of the company’s ditching demonstration coordinator; and
4) A representative diagram of the aircraft which includes the following:
a) Location and designation of each exit
b) Location of each item of emergency ditching equipment including:
· Life rafts/slide rafts,
· Survival radios,
· Pyrotechnic signaling devices, and
· Passenger/crewmember life preservers or individual floatation devices.
5) A list of all crewmembers (both flightcrew and F/As) that are qualified to participate in the
demonstration must be in the operator’s plan. The crewmembers must be qualified in the aircraft to be used; however, the initial
operating experience (IOE) requirement need not be completed. F/A personnel (in accordance with
§ 121.291(c)(3)) must
have completed an FAA-approved training program for the type and model of airplane being demonstrated. For part
the training required by that part must be completed. F/As designated
by the FAA to participate in the demonstration shall not be provided emergency
training or aircraft emergency equipment familiarization more than specified
in the operator’s approved training program before the demonstration.
6) Copies of the appropriate crewmember manual
pages describing ditching duties and responsibilities, including cabin preparation
time parameters for both planned and unplanned ditching. See subparagraph
3-2533C for guidance regarding ABPs.
3-2535 REVIEW OF THE DITCHING DEMONSTRATION PLAN.
A. When the ditching demonstration plan has
been submitted, the principal operations inspector (POI) and CSI must review
the proposal to ensure the following:
1) The proposed demonstration will meet the criteria in §
121.291(d) or (e) and part
121 appendix D(b). For part
125, the proposed demonstration will meet the criteria in §
125.189(c) and part
125 appendix B(b)
or in accordance with the deviation authority granted under §
Volume 2, Chapter 6, Section 3.)
2) The emergency training program and ditching procedures in the operator’s
manual must have been approved and accepted and provide for safe operating practices.
3) The ditching duties and responsibilities, including cabin preparation time
parameters for both planned and unplanned ditching is realistic and is understood by all.
B. The FAA team must plan for the observation
and evaluation of the ditching demonstration. Normally, the demonstration
is conducted after the completion of a successful aborted takeoff emergency
evacuation demonstration. If an aborted takeoff emergency evacuation demonstration
is not conducted, the district Office Manager (OM) shall appoint an FAA
ditching demonstration team and a TL in the same manner as the aborted takeoff
demonstration. As a reminder, every effort should be made to have CSIs act
as TLs or at least be involved in the planning and conducting of the ditching
3-2536 CONDUCT OF THE DITCHING DEMONSTRATION.
The ditching demonstration shall be conducted in the following manner:
A. Before the ditching demonstration, the team
shall inspect each item of emergency ditching equipment for compliance with
appropriate airworthiness and other relevant directives.
B. The FAA TL ensures inspectors and crewmembers
are at their assigned positions and then advises the captain to commence
C. The amount of time a crew is given to prepare
the cabin for a ditching demonstration should be reasonable. Certificate
holder manuals and procedures stipulate crewmember notification, including
time parameters for both planned and unplanned ditching, before touchdown,
etc., in their crewmember operating manuals. Both the FAA TL and the operator
should agree on a time limitation for the demonstration based on the operator’s
planned ditching time parameters. The F/As should be performing duties associated
with normal flight such as serving meals with the cart in the aisle when
the signal to ditch is given. The timing should start when the pilot notifies
the F/As of the impending ditch. The crewmembers must use the air carrier’s
procedures as outlined in the appropriate manuals. The timing stops when
the F/As have completed preparations and notify the captain that the cabin
is prepared. It is important that inspectors evaluating ditching procedures
ensure that both timing and preparations follow those stipulated in the
NOTE: Regulations do not specify a maximum time limit
for the demonstration. However, it is imperative that emergency equipment,
crewmember competency, and emergency procedures provide for rapid evacuation
since during an actual ditching situation, the airplane may remain afloat
for only a short time. During the demonstration, emphasis is on crewmember
ability and efficiency in the time period between the decision to ditch
and the actual water landing. Fifteen minutes is considered a realistic
time acceptable for ditching preparation beginning with the ditching announcement
to the simulated water landing. However, timing adjustments may be made
in coordination with the FAA TL and operator, as some operator’s manuals
stipulate longer or shorter time periods for planned preparations. Once
the time is agreed upon, all participating crewmembers must correctly don
life preservers, brief passenger participants (ABPs) (if applicable), secure
the cabin, and complete all required checklists and procedures within the
time specified. Failure to be prepared at the end of this time constitutes
an unsatisfactory demonstration.
D. The FAA TL begins timing when the captain
issues the prepare-for-ditching order. At the end of the fifteen minutes,
or other agreed upon time for the planned ditching demonstration, the crew
must be prepared for a simulated water landing. After the simulated aircraft
landing and stopping, each crewmember must follow the operator’s procedures
as contained in the appropriate manuals regarding the launching and boarding
of life rafts and/or slide rafts. If the aircraft has more than one type
of raft, then each type should be launched, but only one type needs to be
boarded. After the timing has stopped, each crewmember must board the raft
and must be able to answer questions regarding the location and function
of various pieces of equipment on the raft, describe the use of each item
in the survival kit, and erect the canopy as a group. The current regulations
require that training programs ensure that each crewmember remains adequately
trained and currently proficient with respect to each airplane, crewmember
position, and type of operation in which he or she serves. If a crewmember
fails to answer the appropriate questions then the TL should carefully evaluate
the question and failure to answer so that appropriate changes to the operator’s
training program can be made, if needed. However, the failure of one crewmember
to answer a question may not constitute failure of the demonstration.
121.291(d) requires that all life rafts and slide rafts be launched
and inflated. Section
121.291(e) requires only one life raft (or slide raft), designated by
the FAA TL, to be launched and inflated. However, if a slide raft is the
primary means of flotation, then this should be the selected raft. For the
purpose of this demonstration, “launching” a life raft means to remove it
from stowage, manipulate it out of the airplane (via stands or ramps), and
position it on the ground before inflation. “Launching” a slide raft means
to inflate it in a normal manner and then lower it to the ground.
121.291(e) does not require detachment of each slide raft from its respective
door mounting. However, each slide raft must be inspected for its airworthiness.
Any life rafts stowed inside the airplane must be removed from stowage and
placed on the cabin floor for inspection.
F. When an operator’s procedures use ABPs to
remove or launch life rafts, then the same number of ABPs should be used
in the demonstration. The ABPs should be provided by the operator and should
have experiences similar to average passengers. Crewmembers, mechanics,
and other air carrier personnel who would have knowledge regarding the use
of emergency equipment should not be used. The FAA should insure that able-bodied
persons are not given additional training. The ABPs should be briefed and
perform the duties as stipulated in the appropriate crewmember manuals.
The operator should supply enough ABPs to ensure coverage if the first demonstration fails.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-2537 through 3-2550.