If you fly floats getting Egress Training is a must!

Earlier this year a local flight school arranged for Bryan Webster from British Columbia, Canada to provide a one day course on submerged emergency egress. Bryan runs his own training company and is also a long-time commercial bush pilot. I found the course well worth the cost. We spent several hours being tossed around in mock cockpit in the pool. Getting wet taught me some very valuable leassons that I though might be helpful.

1. It is too late to brief your passenger on emergency exit protocol once you have trouble, even if they have flown with you before take time to go over the briefing with them. If nothing else it puts you in a state of mind where you are actively aware and hence ready yourself to deal with an egress situation.

2. Those yellow packaged life jackets are very hard to get on (if not impossible while you are handling a forced landing). They also expire and never get tested. I now wear one of those light weight manual inflation type PFDs all the time. Do not use the "auto inflate" type of vest. If you are upside down in the water and it inflates before you get out the door... you likely won't make it.

3. If your emergency procedures do not include unlocking the door -- it should. Fumbling around underwater eats up a lot of air and could cost you or your passenger.

4. Attitude, attitude, attitude! My flight instructor's words are stuck in my head and the course brought them back to the forefront. Landing flat could easily put you over. Not following your checklist and forgetting the amphib-wheels is a common error that gets you very wet. Letting a float dig because you did not put in enough cross wind input once your on the water might just cost you. Stay "on top" of the glassy water landing, your never down until your off the step. If you skip and don't realize it you could let off on the elevator input and end up nose-over.

There is lots more I could offer but the best advise is to ask your local flying club, or school to see if they could arrange your own training. Since the lakes in the winter are a bit hard on the floats, why not spend your time in a pool getting dunked. It just might save a life.

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Comment by Heinz Genrich on October 29, 2009 at 11:19am
Thanks,John on the excellant advise re:egress training.That what this site is all about.
Heinz Genrich

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