Water Landing? What would happen?

I live in Miami, FL, and fly close to ocean and water.

I was wandering what would happen to my openppg if I landed in water?

What would happen to:

Batteries (short circuit?)

Any thoughts?

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Seriously, you should worry much more about saving your life, when you are doubting to land in the ocean.
Just last year a few people died on the shore of the atlantic in Portugal, the lines of the glider tangled and tied up the pilot, due to waves, the pilots then drowned.

Other than that, yes, your whole system will short-circuit - the battery will probably die, and the whole equipment, including your glider, will suffer from the salt water.

don’t even think about landing in water. keep the shore within your gliding range!

Of course I will try to avoid but wanted to know. I know is the number 1 cause of death in paramotors. That is why when I fly over water, I always use a flotation device and have a knife handy.

If I had to guess what would rust would be the throttle PCB and the frame PCB. Most of everything else would be fine. The batteries would start discharging from the hydrolysis happening and if they were in the water very long like more than a few mins they would discharge as to where they hurt the cells.

Motor would be fine as its water proof you would just want to wash of the salt water as it can corrode aluminum over time (the anodizing would help).

The ESCs are fully waterproof so they can take a dunking.

So everything can handle a water dunking except the frame and throttle board so cost would be around $100 to swap those out, you don’t want it to be your submarine for the day.


Thanks Paul, much better picture than etienne’s comments.

Hmmm. I think Etiennen’s comment remains valid. If you landed in the sea then the weight of the kit would put you on the seabed pretty quickly. I’d be more worried about breathing than wether my rig is suffering! Saying that, if you’re flying the cliffs, screw up and just don’t quite get to a safe landing but ditch in half a meter of seawater it’s nice to know you won’t have to replace ALL of the components.
Many moons ago my missus crashed out into deep water. She was really lucky to (kind of) get away with it. http://www.wessexhgpg.org.uk/safety/incidents/KayeEscott_2005/kaye_escott.htm
Bear Etienne’s warning in mind, paragliders (or paramotors) don’t do well ditching!

A fellow pilot told me that if you know you are going in the water to unbuckle your harness before landing. That’s good advice if you find yourself in that situation.

However, the best advice I learned about flying was something my dad taught me: ALWAYS have at least one landing zone picked out that you for sure have made if you lose lift (soaring) or power (motoring). I always fly as if I knew my motor was going to cut right now. That is constantly on my mind while I fly… specially since I like to fly low.


yeah, I am sorry to have given you a reply that you don’t like :slight_smile:

I should just shut up next time.

You guys are fine, etienne is right in stating water landings are dangerous you don’t have to apologize. Its hard over text to understand what people are asking for in don’t think anyone ment it the wrong way.

Another item to take into account, when I fly at the beach of near a lake, I like to fly in winds that are blowing in the direction of land and not out to sea or down the lake. So if you lose power and have your glide path figured out, the wind will push you back into land. I do agree with Paul that you should always have a landing zone in sight and if you are going to splash, unbuckle and get out. Always carry a hook knife for safety!

My original post and my original intent was to find out what would happen to the “equipment” in a water landing, nothing else. My intent was not to discuss if its safe or not, or how to fly.

And in regards to what would happen to the equipment, no person more qualified than Pdwhite the creator of OpenpPPG to answer those questions.

Regardless of your intent with the question there was a lot of good safety advice discussed here for everyone to read and to be reminded of so please don’t take the safety comments personal.

I agree… it is nice to know what would happen to the equipment if it got submerged.

If someone in the forum actually dunked the machine in water that would make them more qualified to answer than the creator unless the creator already did such test. Even if someone on the forum crashed an RC plane into a lake, they walked away with experience in this area (besides just a broken plane). I’m just saying… there are a lot of highly qualified people on this forum which is the whole reason we have this forum. There are several electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, design engineers, people with lots of experience in electric RC (our equipment is RC equipment), as well as various kinds of pilots on this forum. So the expert is the entire forum working together as a team. That’s what makes this forum so great! Thanks everyone for all you do to help each other!


Would like to add just in case anyone hasn’t noticed - we don’t have the “luxury” of gas tank flotation. That means we have NO built in flotation and without external flotation will sink like a rock!

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I wanted to keep my mouth shut on this thread, but your observation made me type again.

I did not think of it that way, but you’re totally right. the gas tank may be half empty and float due to the air bubble, but with the openppg we’d go down very quickly.

that’s actually also what we are taught here in germany when undergoing professional training.
don’t jump out of the harness into the water, because you can’t really judge how high above the water you are - but unbuckle, and as soon as you hit the water, get out of the harness and swim away.

the worst situation, by the way, would be when you land in moving water, like into a river, or with waves, as you quickly could get tangled into the lines, swim away from the harness and glider-lines as far as you can.

I just had to laugh at this one - because I am actually none of these! no qualification at all in these areas. just some common sense, and two years of experience flying PG and PPG :slight_smile:

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You are a paraglider pilot… and you have experience at building a battery… etc.

Hi sorry for not romantic fiew on that horrorscenario
Not only that the equipment would sink like a stone, also there are more than 24 volts, whats about the danger of elektrik shock?

Then whats about the danger of fire when those modern bateries get submeged?
Also heared that they could explode when in water.

Many people like to fly radical over water becouse they would land softer than over land, think all goes wrong and you have to open your rescue canoppy, than you have

  1. No more contol

  2. Not much time to prepare

  3. 2 times more ropes

  4. 2 times more risers and m2 of canoppy

  5. Maybe an elektric shock when touching the water

  6. Followed by an eventual fire or explosion on your back

  7. And same second start sinking like you would have 40 kg concret on your back

  8. I think the only chance to survive could be to open most of the rig bevore tough and swimm or even dive for your life - against the wind and against the current to go away from all the components.

  9. If you survive you need new batteries for sure and the rest will sink soon to the ground even if there is a lot of air in the glider.

  10. If there are any waves you have no idea how violent they are i cant imagine to use a linecutter to cut lines separatly, just cut all the risers if not able to jump into the water away from elektroshock exploding firecatching and emediatly pulling you in the deep equipment in the last second bevore you land.

  11. Think that you will have to do all under water, even with automatic swimmwest you will have to fight to survive with all lines and canopies waves and elektric shock or even explosion and fire expected.

  12. My opinion: chance to survive a landing with that equipment and open reserve in the ocean is extreme low.
    4 things make it more deadly than any other situation : the high volts
    The fire and explosion of baterytype
    And last not least the weight of batteries in stead of the liquid of Gasoline and the lack of airbubble in a tank

Must be epic for Bond movie :wink:
As RC enthousiast I have abused and disposed many lipo’s. Before disposal you typically submerge them in salt water for complete discharge. The boring truth is: no shock, no explosion, no fire.

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