About that Airbus ditching switch

The USAirways A320 accident last night has prompted a lot of interest in Airbus’ so-called ditching switch. Courtesy of a guy called Andy Tracy, who is apparently a Cathay Pacific A330/340 captain, here’s some detail on just what it does.

Airbus ditch switch.JPG

Normal - The system functions normally.

ON – The following valves close; (Lt White)

-           outflow valves. Will not close automatically if under MAN control.

-          emergency ram air inlet

-          avionics ventilation overboard valve

-           cargo compartment isolation valves

-           pack flow control valves

-           cabin fans stop

Caution: If the ditching pb is put ON, on ground, with low pressure ground cart connected and all doors closed, a differential press will build up.


I’m not absolutely sure it’s “unique” as is being stated (though maybe). I believe there is something similar in the BAE Ssytems RJ series, though perhaps with different functionality. And I read that Boeing 727s at least had a snorkel-like system which used floats to close off external air valves if an aircraft sank into water.

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2 Responses to About that Airbus ditching switch

  1. MD11Capy January 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    All Boeing/MD-11s have them too, it does the same thing though MD did it in the 80s. On the MD-11 however it also shuts off the EGPWS/GPWS meaning no annoying useless warnings (atleast useless when you are ditching) like “Pull Up!, Terrain, Don’t Sink, Gear, Flaps” etc.

  2. dancing with the stars August 2, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    I am not certain the place you are getting your info, however good topic.
    I needs to spend a while finding out more or
    understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was searching for this info for my mission.

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