Element is the leading commercial provider of fixed-wing aircraft ditching testing for aircraft airworthiness compliance to FAR Part 25.

Aircraft ditching on water is used as part of the airworthiness compliance verification process to meet national and international Aviation regulatory requirements. Our testing expertise incorporates a wealth of experience and gives clients access to world leading test procedures and knowledge. 

We have aircraft ditch testing specialists who are unique in their ability to provide the only commercial access in the world for testing the ditching and flotation characteristics of fixed wing aircraft via model testing. Some of our recent experience includes testing for the COMAC C919, Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), and CASA/IPTN CN-235.

We offer a full range of services for aircraft ditching testing including:

  • Test planning
  • Model design and manufacture
  • Physical testing
  • Testing in calm water and in waves
  • In-test model adaption for simulation of failure
  • Assisting in fixed-wing certification for over-water flight
  • Production of final test reports


Aircraft Ditching Testing capabilities

Element carries out testing using scale models (normally in the scale range of 1:8 to 1:15) fitted with instrumentation suitable to measure the model’s behavior. We use a state of the art on-board data acquisition system which records acceleration, angular rotation (pitch roll and yaw) and pressure in combinations up to 30 channels.  Numbers of channels and data measured can be configured to suit customer requirements.

During a crash, the occupant experiences the following ultimate inertia forces acting separately relative to the surrounding structure:

  • Upward, 3.0g
  • Forward, 9.0g
  • Sideways 3.0g on the airframe
  • Downwards, 6.0g
  • Rearward, 1.5g

Aircraft ditching testing should be performed as part of the airworthiness compliance verification program, which will be used to demonstrate the ditching compliance to the related regulations in FAR25.

  • FAA testing criteria

The purpose of the scale model test for ditching has typically been performed as evidence to satisfy the Federal Aviation Authorities. We test for the following sections of FAR Part 25 Airworthiness Standards:

  • 25.801 (Ditching)
  • 25.807(e) (Emergency Exits)
  • 25.1411 (Safety Equipment)
  • 25.1415 (Ditching Equipment)

Additional data can be gained to help satisfy the following FAA Code of Federal Regulation:

  • FAR Part 25 Subpart C, Section 25.561, para (b)(3)


Element Advantage in Aircraft Ditching Testing

In addition to Aircraft Ditching Testing, Element offers an extensive range of product qualification testing for RTCA DO-160 qualification, including environmental simulation, mechanical testing, safety, structural, operational, functional and performance testing as well as fluid conveyance testing and specialty tests including hail and bird strike, sand/dust, fuel icing and combined environmental and operational reliability testing.


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