Here is the official letterhead response from Seaplaneforum.com on New Mexico’s proposed ban of seaplanes.
Seaplaneforum.com is proud to have welcomed it’s newest supporting industry member, providing seaplane instruction, dry lease and consulting as well as block time rentals to interested pilots and students. I am proud to have this operation in my industry supporter network, helping me to provide more services and a better, more modern services to our community while at the same time enjoying an affordable way to share the word.
Good news from our friends in British Columbia!
BC Floatplane Operators join forces!
Get Out Alive!
Most of us complete our piloting career without any ditching concerns. Others are not so lucky and unfortunately learn ditching procedures the hard way. Without any prior training or real-life lessons in ditching, it’s very difficult to understand why being inverted and underwater often leads to a traumatic experience. The physiological responses to impact followed by an immediate immersion in water, with a temperature many degrees colder than your nice warm cockpit is often totally overwhelming and lethal. Every year a number of pilots and their passengers find themselves totally unprepared and franticly searching for a door handle which was easily located only moments earlier.
Those who think swimming ability and diving experience will be sufficient to get them out of an aircraft after ditching will be amazed at how poorly they perform during the first few sessions in an egress simulator.
Here’s a quick list of things you may wish to think about when considering the possibility of ditching your aircraft.
Presuming you have enough warning prepare the cabin for impact with the water by:
- Tightening your seatbelts/harness
- Unlatching the cabin doors.
- Having passengers assume the brace position.
Once the airplane comes to a stop, it may be upside down. To orient yourself, stay seated and locate your exit. Then release your seatbelt or harness.
On average, it takes only 15 seconds for total panic to set in after a ditching once your face goes underwater in the event an exit is not immediately located.
If a door becomes jammed after water impact and the aircraft is completely flooded, try opening any hinged window available, last resort kick out the Plexiglas.
HOW MUCH TIME?
The time available before the aircraft sinks depends on the design and the damage incurred. Don’t think near-empty fuel tanks will assist your time on the surface.
Floatplane’s often do not sink after becoming inverted, which would allow it’s occupants to use the float bottoms for support. But don’t count on this, get into your PFD or into a life raft as soon as possible (or both). If still floating keels up, don’t even think about going back for your headset.
If the pilot isn’t wearing the PFD when ditching becomes imminent, he or she must remain in control of the aircraft until it comes to a stop. Stuff the PFD in your shirt or jacket to help ensure availability afterwards.
Avoid PFDs designed for recreational boaters. Instead carry inflatable PFD designed and approved for aviation since other types may prevent egress due to buoyancy. Don’t inflate PFD until you’re clear of the aircraft.
Any liferaft you carry should be certified and rated for more occupants than the aircraft can accommodate. It should be the first item to leave the aircraft and tethered to any occupant.
Consider adding and EPIRB or at least a portable ELT to your equipment even if only incidental over water flying is planned.
These are just a few suggestions to help aid you in a successful egress if required. For complete training it is suggested you contact AES and attend our S.A.F.E. training program.
Aviation Egress Systems home base is in Victoria, BC as well we travel the country teaching Egress training to both pilots and passengers. Bryan Webster has more than 11,000 hours and is currently flies a de Havilland Beaver on the West Coat of BC.
To learn more about his egress training, visit his web-site www.dunkyou.com or contact him at 250-704-6401.
Amphibious Aircraft Challenges
Written & submitted by “Bry – The Dunker Guy”
The freedom of flying and our ability to reach favorite destinations from take off at a local airport or your own dock in the front yard is immeasurable. Once the snow has disappeared and the ice has melted, airports everywhere will be a buzz with annual maintenance requirements and the usual wheels to float change overs.
Then once the tools are put away and the hangar floors are swept clean you realize flying has begun and you must now justify the cost per hour to cover these expenses by squeezing precious minutes out of an all too short season. Soon you will find yourself off for adventure with your craft high above all kinds of different terrain including flat land, mountains and often open water.
This is a time to give thought to emergencies which you, the pilot, could encounter en route and how to handle anything from an engine failure to a ditching. First question, do you have on board everything required for your particular trip such as life vests and the knowledge of how to inflate such a device under the stress of real life drama?
Secondly do you understand the effect of landing on water with fixed gear or possibly floats witch include amphibious gear in the down and locked position. To better understand think of water as the ultimate distance stopping device followed by an impact which can only be described as extremely violent, all the while enclosed in a box soon to be held underwater. For a conventional wheeled aircraft such as a Cessna 172 most ditching s result in a very sudden stop of roughly the aircraft’s length no matter the speed, then followed by an inversion. Similar reaction for the tail draggers out there due to the forward exposed gear legs making contact with the water surface first, although there is a higher certainty of one quick flop onto the aircraft’s back. As for Amphibious aircraft that all too often land upon water with the gear down, it depends mostly on the manufacturers design and front gear leg location regarding the outcome, although high percentages simply stop and flop.
Then there are the retractable s who loose power after take off out over water and pray the gear is up before landing on the liquid surface with the wheels safely stored in the wells. The reasons aircraft enter water when least expected is not important. Important is how the occupants react in the first few seconds. Water temperature and impact velocity are by far the largest variables to consider, which often cause the panic and disorientation leading to fatalities, but also hypothermia and simple drowning.
Knowing what to expect from Egress training previously will make all the difference should this ever happen to you, which is why the Military has made this course mandatory for flight crews for many decades.
Bryan Webster is a 11,000 hour plus pilot actively flying a Beaver on the BC coast today when not Egress Training. In 1977 he was a passenger involved in a water crash while the pilot attempted to avoid power lines draped over the Fraser River east of Vancouver, BC. For more information or to enrol in the AES Egress Training Program contact: “Bry the Dunker Guy” Bryan Webster (1-250-704-6401) www.dunkyou.com
The Seaplane Pilot Network is looking for your feedback on tips and tricks to make amphibious aircraft flying safer. Bryan and many other experienced pilots are available to answer specific questions. A forgotten gear is oftentimes the culprit in upsetting amphibious aircraft, sudden gusts and sometimes even shallow waters will flip an airplane just as well, even on straight floats. Be prepared, have an egress plan and brief your passengers. Use proper shoulder harnesses.
I would say, experience, levelheaded decision making- mixed in with some luck prevented the worst for two airmen who experienced a low level Engine failure shortly after departure on 8/3/2010. While the aircraft was a total loss, both pilots survived. This hits close to home as Tim, who is a “Founding Member” of the Seaplane Forum was a passenger on this flight – and shared his experience with the members. If you are a member – feel free to chime in on the discussion in regards to shoulder harnesses.
Fly Safe & Don’t Hit Stuff!
Submitted by Mr. Walter Windus:
Visitation at the Masonic Hall in Greenville, 4-7pm Friday, August 6th. Private family service at Allen family camp, Saturday at Rockwood. Florist, the Cottage, in Greenville 207 695-0777
A condolence list has been started here:
A sad day for seaplane pilots.
The seaplane community has lost a great asset and friend today – when Mr. Telford Allen’s Aircraft flipped and submerged during a gear down water landing in Greenville, ME. Please take a moment out of your busy lives to remember him for what he did for the seaplane community, general aviation, his employees and friends. Not only was he very involved with SPA, he was also a highly regarded personality- locally, here in the Bangor/ Waterville area, but also as a business owner, employer, fellow pilot and friend. Our sincere condolences to the Telford family and close friends on their loss but also Natalie, who survived this accident.
May this accident serve as a painful reminder for all of us that what may appear as a minor oversight can have tremendous and fatal consequences. May it also call our community closer together in hopes for increased activity to make accidental gear down water landings a thing of the past.
In my years as an Egress instructor I have had some interesting questions posed to me, as well a number of misguided pilots explaining how they would personally handle a ditching.The reality is there is only seconds to react after a complete inversion, before the overwhelming reaction to being entrapped is unleashed. About that time the animal instinct to survive becomes paramount, demanding you find an air supply immediately.
To have no pre- determined escape plan for you and your passengers complicates an already extremely challenging situation while the clock rapidly dictates a positive or negative out come. To have previously experienced a similar event in a warm pool facility should this ever happen to you, proves the results are mirror image for the success rate of those trained verses untrained.
By knowing what to do and expect from previous Egress training, plus having been in water practicing life vest procedures and remembering to take one with you on the way out proves a major advantage.
There are many reasons why people are reluctant to Egress train ranging from fear of water to claustrophobia or simply not wanting to be seen as incapable of handling the scenario by ones peers. In Egress Training programs each individual has strengths and weaknesses, thus as a group we foster camaraderie and work with each person to achieve confidence and reach their highest personal potential.
Regarding ditching myths here are a few of my favorites
Number ONE and the most common misunderstood plan would be to simply watch your air bubbles once entrapped inverted and proceed to safety. The problem associated with this idea is the obvious poor visibility at best being under water, and the possibility of silty water conditions or darkness. Also you are giving up a percentage of the limited air supply held in your lungs which can not be replenished in order that you create this indicator. To add to the scenario, what if the aircraft is pointing nose down and you find yourself in the rear of the cabin totally disoriented and unable to locate the now illusive door handles behind and below you.
Number TWO and another favorite is that a calm and collected individual will open the exit and vacate the premises with ease or failing that kick out a window and swim to safety. I find most of theses personalities are covering their actual fear of water or participation in training with an arrogant attitude. Pilots who refuse to entertain even thinking about what should be done in any aircraft emergency are not only endangering themselves but also anyone they fly with. Soon after a person as mentioned above is enrolled in Egress Training and actively participating signs of uncertainty and concerns regarding the program appear. Once training is completed an admission of previous over all anxiety is replaced with a new-found respect and understanding of why Egress training is offered.
Number THREE being when flying over water climb high enough to reach land should a problem arise and simply return to a suitable clearing on shore as a glider if necessary. This is a good plan until you overnight at the opposite end of your journey and Mother Nature swaps CVOK for 500 feet obscured and now you have to be at work in less than an hour. About then you are informed by your traveling companions they also have commitments and thus just this once you must break your safety net exercised the day previous.
Number FOUR and my personal favorite for all times was explained to me while trying to sell this new concept Egress program several years ago at an aerobatic flight training center. The owner and head instructor stated emphatically that his plan should he be faced with a ditching would be to roll inverted and enter the water with the landing gear pointing skyward. In his mind this flight condition would avoid the anticipated flip caused by wheels making contact with the surface and dragging its nose downward. Considering this as an alternate procedure to the upright entry he may have wanted to consider an impact at or above 60 mph similar to a convertible automobile with his head exposed. The very fact that most aircraft front windows are constructed of light Plexiglas which will most likely depart on impact would be enough to deter me.
After researching this misconceived maneuver I was unable to find any information substantiating its merits as no one has ever tried it is partly why I would not want to be the first.
Who is Bry – The Dunker Guy?
Bryan Webster has flown in excess of 11.000 hours over the past 30 years and is yet today flying commercially in Cessna’s and De Havilland Beavers on the BC coast. His past experience was partially responsible for realizing aviation was lacking in pilot Egress training and formed Aviation Egress Systems at Victoria BC in 1998. Pilots and passengers are now able to train for ditching light aircraft in a one day program at a reasonable cost.
Bryan has also written a book on aviation egress called “Ditching Principles” which is now available on his web-site.
For further information contact Bry “The Dunker Guy” at 250-704-6401 or
It has taken a while and much experimenting to get the seaplane forum out of its baby shoes. My belief is, that with a few minor modifications (as hopefully implemented by the membership) the forum will be able to stand on its own. While many of the founding and early members went though the obligatory changes and technical difficulties with me, some may have jumped ship. My initial idea to furnish a virtual home and information exchange platform to local and state seaplane associations and interest groups, but also my attempts to make the forum available independent of a membership to SPA or any other association may have caused some misconceptions, but that’s normal and to be expected. When I changed course, away from the associations and stopped trying to cater to them, things improved. As this is the first forum I have launched as a “total one man show” many of my actions where attempts to see what works and what doesn’t. For sure an interesting and sometimes utterly frustrating process! Except for a few, the feedback on changes and additions has been either positive or non-existent. Those who have provided feedback, had the opportunity to mold and shape this forum into it’s current form and content. Thank You! Important to remember is that the group remains, or attempts to remain, in partner like relationship with other forum providers, who may only furnish one section for seaplanes. The future will hold the clues, as to the need and acceptance on a more broad level.
With that, a few more new sections have been added. The goal: Completeness! Making the seaplaneforum.com site a one stop shop requires a broad spectrum of seaplane specific interest areas. A decision was made to offer members the opportunity to share experiences with their particular float brand, but also a “non certified” section for all the experimental and LSA’s which are all gaining footing in this market. The newly created Seaplane Employment Opportunities section will hopefully prove beneficial to those who are looking for and offering employment in this industry. Further, I do hope to have done a good thing by providing the For Sale & Want To Buy section free to all signed up members. With the end of the season only a few months out, I know that people will be looking to share information on technical issues. Hence Technical Seaplane Talk is available.The forum domains & hosting is secured for quite a while to come with the help of some individual & industry supporters. At this point, all we need is solid activity, fun and networking, mixed in with growth.
Bryan Webster, a long time veteran in everything pertaining to Seaplane Egress Training / Knowledge joined us last week and I do hope the forum will benefit from this important aspect of seaplane flying. Bryan may be able to give us a first hand look into this sector, but members are invited to join in with sharing their particular measures to increase their chances for survival in seaplane upsets. This blog has been a tremendous indicator that people do care for this kind of information and if we can make one pilot think and get training or read, we have already done more than we could have ever wished for. Members are invited to share everything, from safety gadgets to personal technique, procedure or style.
Last but not least, the updates on Jim Poel have become less frequent, and that is due to good progress and developments. From what I hear, Jim is on solid food again, has used a telephone and is other than that already planning to be active with upcoming events. A few thousand visitors to this blog came here looking for updates on his status and recovery and I am honored to have forwarded all the comments and well wishes to Lovada. My sincere thanks to Bruce Hinds, at the Washington Seaplane Pilots Association who has kept many of us in the loop!
Soft Docks & Fly Safe!
As pilots somehow we all belong to a pretty small group of people, who are either in the process of learning, at the verge of, or beyond our best days in mastering flight. That’s natural, normal, acceptable, totally fine. As a perk of flying, comes the sheer endless availability to associate ourselves with interest groups, created to enhance our joys of flying, but also as a tool to funnel our collective efforts towards a common goal. Existence. Hardly a secret, these days, without lobbying and political representation by associations, General Aviation as such would no longer exist. If some sensational politicians or some mind numbed press writers had their way, flying small airplanes would be a major boo boo. For years and decades, politicians, citizen groups and the press have done their best to shine a dim light on what used to be one of the biggest successful adventures of recent mankind. Today, hundreds of millions of people travel this planet on the very same principles and physics which allowed Clement Ader (1890) to launch into the sky, entirely unaware and blind to the fact that Aviation itself was not made possible by the Airlines! It was made possible by people who watched birds fly, and started to scratch their heads, wondering: “How can I do that?” While many of them may have reverted to simply spreading their arms and jumping off a barn, some sat down and tried to find out what makes stuff fly. It took years and years to create flying structures. Those early aviators had heavy chips on their shoulders, after all – they had set out to accomplish what no one had done before. While the “normal” citizens in their hometowns may have scratched their heads too, wondering what may have happened, others watched in amaze as flying machines became reality!
These true hero’s of aviation made much of what we see today, possible. Flying was a grassroots thing. It caught on, developed, developed some more and then rocketed off, like barely any other science. In these short 120 years we have gone from fabric covered stick structures to fully automated cockpits, taking off, flying, and if necessary landing hundreds of living bodies almost entirely without any help (other than programming) from its pilots. Looking into today’s cockpits barely leaves a hint, everything is full electronics, a few hundred people shifting from one cheek to another back in the cabin does not cause death, as it may well have, by the early flying machines single occupant, just 110 years ago.
Moving from the spartan history was accomplished by consistency and respect for the very physics, which allow heavier than air structures to fly. People got together, brainstormed and developed, pushed and pulled, built and crashed, all kinds of “Aeroplanes”. When Governments finally adjusted to this form of “collective insanity” in travel and started to regulate and license pilots, machines and new developments, things changed in a hurry! With the Governments intrusions and the subsequent rules came great hassle. People are funny animals and so it was only logic that regular, non flying citizens, without the slightest clue about flying and aviation, would increasingly turn towards the government to regulate such pioneers and their machines away from their back yards. Ernst Udet (a long gone German Flying Ace) once picked up a hanker-chief with his right wing while flying low enough to scare a common Ant into paralysis, today he would need a multitude of waivers, permissions, background checks and he would likely go through a four-week administrative ordeal to do it again. Our history is full of such hero’s, unfortunately many of them remain unseen and unacknowledged by the new generation of Aviators.
As a group, we Pilots needed a way of funneling our voices to avoid extinction, and created Associations to represent our interests with policy makers, politicians and the public, but also to keep each other in the loop on developments and new accomplishments. Today a multitude of such Associations exist, some very large, some very small, some even smaller! It is possible to belong to many of them and all of them initially served these two purposes: NETWORKING & ADVOCACY!
Many of these Associations prevented General Aviation from certain DOOM and still do so! Without some of them, we would have no Gas, no Airports, and no way to develop and approve new machines for flight. The bureaucracy of such feats, today – is too much for the average business who may spend years and years and MILLIONS of Currency, trying to get something they developed approved and permitted for use. Once they do, they depend greatly on the NETWORKING opportunities to let others know what they have! Today it has become IMPOSSIBLE to spread the word to a collective pilot community without facilitating the available advertising spaces in these associations member magazines, forums and newsletters. And heck, did we make a business out of that?! Wow!
Associations have become very, very powerful not only in their way of advocating – but also in enabling fellow members to spread the word about a grassroots effort. A huge monopoly exists, largely unnoticed by the average pilot, who may want to buy or sell a plane (readily available for free or fee). While much of todays upright walking individuals facilitate the internet, many more of our pilot population can only be reached by paying tremendous amounts of money. For example: I could build an airplane, get it approved for a few million dollars, fly it successfully across the country for a few thousands of dollars more, without ever being noticed by the majority of people who happened not to be on the airport that day, or sitting in their bathroom, thumbing through a bunch of strategically placed advertising’s in their favorite association magazine! Scary!
3 inches, 1 issue = $150, 3 inches, 6 issues $650….. :
When little people set out to develop new things, they depend on networking, help, support and sometimes goodwill of fellow aviators, to reach others, who may be interested in such things. If you decide to build something from scratch, you will need the help of your fellow pilots to get it out there. If you cater to only a very small population of pilots you will face INCREDIBLE headwind – while doing so. Why? “Just pay the money and put an ad in the magazine…” right? Wrong! When we little people join associations our interest is in the benefits of being represented (for better or worse), the common cause and the subsequent ability to see what our fellow aviation nuts want! Many times, the decision to push and pull something new is based on PASSION and may, just like the Seaplane Forum – I launched ~ 4 months ago, be aimed at the very values and mindsets which run today’s Seaplane Industry. It’s ultimate goal is to bring people together, free of the political downfalls and stonewalling and sometimes the associated censorship that may arise from the sometimes all to prevalent “big boys vs. little boys” attitude portrayed and lived by some. Suddenly the politics and “keeping up appearances” game becomes a hindrance, a hassle. The membership fee no longer gives us an option to spread the word without paying big bucks. Next time you thumb trough your favorite aviation magazine, do yourself a favor and look at the advertising’s and hints, placed in such magazine. Count them. Divide them in Small, Quarter Page, Half Page and Full Page advertising’s. Then add them all together and see what percentage of your magazine is composed of advertising. Then, go and read a few articles. See how many hints and links and company names appear in these articles. Mark them! Articles who are aimed at educating you or helping you understand certain subjects better. Read the “Letters to the Editor”. Realize that everything in this magazine is aimed at a certain goal. Every article, be it a news brief or an advertising, or a letter to the editor, has (supposedly) been carefully read, evaluated and found to be in compliance with the associations goals, mission profile and values. Compliance with such is oftentimes no longer regulated by the members of such organizations, it is left to the elected or staffed professionals and subject to their personal or professional opinion. If such is affected – your chance to spread the word with that association has ceased. It’s almost an equivalent to “pay to play, but not everyone is equal”…
Suddenly – the magazine and it’s associated political message or purpose becomes clear. It’s either a money-making machine or it’s a personal playground for the big guns. If there is not much else available to the associations membership; to share a word or news, the true value of the membership itself becomes $0.00. Especially small organizations, like the local “Cucumbers Growing Club” can really make a difference. The Question: How do you get local cucumber growers interested in what you have? I have recently researched all the aviation associations, (newsletters and magazines) I belong to, in terms of my ability to reach fellow members. Woof! Surprise! Except for AOPA: I can’t! Back to the local cucumber growers club…
As pilots we are subjected to all kinds of challenges, some minor and others life threatening. Now consider putting yourself in the following scenario. We were just lucky enough to survive a wheels down water landing in our brightly coloured amphibious aircraft, along with three of our best friends. Now scrambling madly through the pilots door of the inverted aircraft seconds after the crash we are lucky to reach the surface of the freezing cold water for a breath of air.
Thankfully all of our fellow aviation enthusiasts have safely egressed by following you out the exit and are now bobbing in a group around a set of silver upside down floats. With the damming evidence protruding upwards we grab onto one of the wheels for support and we all pull our selves to a dryer environment, then assess the situation.
There was frost on the dock planks and also aircraft which was tied securely last night while floating in the same body of water we now find ourselves. Our shivering and discomfort is a reminder of just how cold the water we are immersed in really is on this late fall afternoon. Soaked through sensing time is against us, and with the cold wind blowing our disabled ship even further from the shore that we most desperately need to reach we realize the gravity of the situation we are involved in. After a brief discussion we all agree that to wait for help in this predicament here at this remote location only hours before darkness would be suicide. The swimming distance for shore is a concern to all involved but in particular to one of our members who is a total non swimmer and extremely high anxiety. We decide someone must return down to the submerged aircraft we are floating on in hopes of securing one or more life vests located under the four seats. As captain of the ship and feeling responsible for the entire situation you elect to be the hero in hopes of saving the day and getting everyone back onto dry ground before night sets in.
Now in the frigid water once again you take a deep breath and dive down to the open pilot’s door and enter the aircraft flailing about feeling for seats and the hiding spot where life vests should be located. Things are confusing and strangely foreign with the limited vision plus mix of cold water and desperate need for another breath of air. After returning to the surface unsuccessful you are now more determined than ever and realize the importance those yellow PFD’s (personal floatation devices) if anyone is going to survive. This time you are numb from cold as you descend into the cock pit, now realizing the upside down seat easily exposes the much valued jacket stowed when you know where to look. Returning to the lake surface once again and desperate for air, you have managed to find the two front seat jackets and decide it best to share them equally rather than continue searching for the remaining back seats. Due to the exhaustive labor while searching frantically in the confined aircraft it has now taken a toll and mild hypothermia has set in.
Climbing back up on top of the floats is extremely difficult as your fingers are rendered useless from cold , thus it’s decided two castaways don the vests one of which being the non swimmer and all three join you for the swim to safety. A team effort is employed transferring the stranded aviators from peril to a warm cabin just in time as each individual has varying degrees of life threatening cold shock and hypothermia. Luckily the cabin was pre heated from the earlier departure that morning as everyone’s fingers are useless and constant shaking would make lighting a fire near impossible.
Looking back at this situation the out come could have been much different and less eventful if each person on board had been wearing an inflatable PFD. They are readily available at a reasonable cost and could have been inflated back when all were clear of the wreckage then heading to shore. Precious time in cold water which could take your life in 30 minutes is wasted when floatation devices are not on your body in the unlikely event of accidental ditching. The only thing worse than being without a floatation devise and having to swim to safety is being inside an aircraft with an inflated or positive floatation device restricting your Egress.
This story is from one of many incidents which happen all too often in Canada ever year. Bryan Webster is a 10.000 hour pilot actively flying a Beaver on the BC coast today. In 1977 he was a passenger involved in a water crash while the pilot attempted to avoid power lines draped over the Fraser River east of Vancouver. For questions or to enroll in the Aviation Egress Ditch training program contact – Bry the Dunker Guy at 1-877-GO-DITCH or per email: email@example.com
Runway Crossing Procedure Change
Beginning June 30, 2010, controllers will be required to issue explicit instructions to cross or hold short of each runway that intersects a taxi route. “Taxi to” will no longer be used when issuing taxi instructions to an assigned take-off runway. Instructions to cross a runway will be issued one at a time. Instructions to cross multiple runways will not be issued. An aircraft or vehicle must have crossed the previous runway before another runway crossing is issued. This applies to any runway, including inactive or closed runways.
Changes will also be made to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and AIP to reflect the new procedures.
Never cross a hold line without explicit ATC instructions. If in doubt ASK!
Reminder: You may not enter a runway unless you have been: instructed to cross that specific runway; cleared to take off from that runway; or instructed to position and hold on that specific runway.
Documents: https://www.faasafety.gov/files/notices/2010/Jun/Runway_Crossing_Procedural_Change_FAAST_Blast.pdf for the Runway Safety notice.
“A state of shock is the best way to describe it. Nobody was saying anything. We were all just sitting and waiting and wondering what was going to happen.” — Barb Glenn, float-plane passenger, on the anticipation of the impending impact before the plane slammed into the water.
“There’s no way in hell anyone who crashes is going to get a life-jacket on. The next step will be a requirement that it be on if you’re flying over water.”
The Vancouver Sun in its series on float-plane safety has shown how Transport Canada has failed for years to mandate safety issues on float planes, such as mandatory wearing of life vests, pop-out windows, and satellite tracking systems to provide a more effective and timely rescue response.
Vancouver Sun: 4 out of 6 Articles on Seaplane Safety:
In a statement that now forms part of Pro Aviation’s safety video, Nasmyth recalls: “Close to 45 minutes after entering the water, my 99-pound wife died. And I would guess after one and a half hours of total time in the water, the other fellow [airline engineer] lost consciousness and died.”
The Vancouver Sun publishes article 3 of 6 on Seaplane Egress & the grief and pain of loosing loved ones in seaplane accidents:
Amazingly simple not to see the wires in this video. Fly Safe!
Rescue centre spokesman Second Lt. Victor Weston said the plane landed upside down and remained on the surface for 10 to 15 minutes before sinking in 15 metres of water.
He used to view the aviation industry as a safety icon, but not any more. “I’m very surprised. I thought they’d have a much higher standard. I find that distressing.”
This year’s Safety Stand Down took place on April 17th and was a big success! The Stand Down covers 4 topics that every pilot should review before they launch into summer flying. These topics are the cause of the majority of accidents during the summer season. If you were unable to attend the live event, you can do it at your convenience from your computer. First, review the handout material found here. (See the file at: https://www.faasafety.gov/files/notices/2010/May/FAA_Safety_Stand_Down_Brochure.pdf) Then watch the videos at the links below: Opening message: http://videoontheweb.faa.gov/Aviation_safety/SSD_2010.asxOwner-Performed Maintenance: http://videoontheweb.faa.gov/aviation_safety/ssd2010_maintenance.asxApproach and Landing: http://videoontheweb.faa.gov/aviation_safety/ssd2010_takeofflanding.asxSurface Deviations: http://videoontheweb.faa.gov/aviation_safety/ssd2010_surfacesafety.asxRisk Management: http://videoontheweb.faa.gov/aviation_safety/ssd2010_RiskMgt.asxClosing message: http://videoontheweb.faa.gov/aviation_safety/ssd2010_close.asx
Types of aviation altitudes:
Indicated altitude is the reading on the altimeter when the altimeter is set to the local barometric pressure at Mean Sea Level.
Absolute altitude is the height of the aircraft above the terrain over which it is flying. Also referred to feet Above Ground Level (AGL).
True altitude is the elevation above mean sea level.
Height is the elevation above a ground reference point, commonly the terrain elevation.
Pressure altitude is the elevation above a standard datum air-pressure plane (typically, 1013.25 millibars or 29.92″ Hg and 15°C). Pressure altitude and indicated altitude are the same when the altimeter is set to 29.92″ Hg or 1013.25 millibars.
Density altitude is the altitude corrected for non-ISA (International Standard Atmosphere) atmospheric conditions.
Our aircrafts performance depends on density altitude, which is affected by barometric pressure, humidity and temperature. On a very hot day, density altitude at an airport (especially one at a high elevation) may be so high as to preclude takeoff, particularly for helicopters or a heavily loaded aircraft.
With that in mind, lets assume the nice warm weather we have witnessed over the last few days will affect our seaplanes performance capabilities!
Annual Inspection = √ Check! Registration = √ Check! Radio Permit = √ Check! Operating Limitations (POH) = √ Check! Weight & Balance= What? Performance Calculations = What? Maybe this is the perfect time to have a little sit down pow wow with a nice CFI or a fellow seaplane pilot or simply for spending some time with our POH and how density altitude may affect our next flight. On a day like today, in New England, with temperatures hitting 91 Fahrenheit and the winds rather calm we may find fairly calm waters and an awesome flying scenery, but we are also asking a lot from our airplanes performance capabilities. Taking the time to do a few simple W&B and Performance problems may give us some better level of awareness as to what may be expected. It also gives us added confidence to see how far from the MAX we actually are, on this flight. It also tells us exactly how many cooled beverages, fishing gear and other fun utensils we may pack for the fun in the sun, because we never want to hit stuff…
Another powerful demonstration of what happens when amphibious aircraft are landed with the rubber sticking out on the bottom. Painful and long to watch, but apparently not something that cannot happen to us. Even if we don’t always fly amphibian’s, we must make sure that the aircraft configuration is as desired for the surface we land on. This accident happened in Bisscarrosse, France. Fly Safe!
Covered in part 1 of this article: Complacency, Lack of Knowledge, Lack of Teamwork, Distraction, Fatigue and Lack of Resources.
“I’ve got to get this done!”… Pressure to complete a certain task could be real or perceived. The accident of the airplane carrying the Polish President a few months ago appears to have had a possibly major contributing factor of pressure to complete the flight as planned. One may wonder if the pressure was in fact real or just perceived, unfortunately its to late to ask the pilot. Perceived pressure may manifest itself every time the flight crew or pilot wonders what others may think or do if a decision is made, that interferes with someone else s plan. Loosing employment, punishment, being ridiculed or talked down to, or the possibility of such may induce a lot of pressure and cloud a pilot’s ability to function. Pressure can also be real. A sick passenger, or an important meeting the next day may place pilots in a bit of a crunch. Repeated attempts to land or continue on in deteriorating weather conditions, or flying with low fuel could be the result of pressure. A highly experienced Designated Pilot Examiner once shared with me: “Always ask yourself what is currently affecting your decision-making process?”. In our low and slow world of flying seaplanes we may be more intrigued to think that pressure is the last item on the list of potential human failure, yet, we keep reading about people pushing on and trying over and over to complete the flight before dark, or make it to the planned fuel stop with huge question signs about our fuel reserves lingering over our heads. If it looks bad, it probably is bad. Divert, stop, check, land and wait or simply turning around are usually the options that may leave us in need for a good explanation, but doing so beats leaving people behind who wonder about the “WHY?” of an accident, later.
8. Lack of Assertiveness:
“I own this plane and…” … Do you speak up when you notice a safety concern? As recreational seaplane pilots, we may never be affected by this issue. However, those of us who work with seaplanes may at times find an operator or owner who is not afraid of telling us that as the owner of the plane or operation, the mission is deemed possible. Saying No! can cost a job or the good relationship with a fellow pilot. But sometimes, saying no also comes with the huge benefit of meeting the offender again. “Being scared, or saying no takes a minute. Being dead takes a lifetime!”
9. Lack of Communication:
“I thought you wanted me to turn…” … Again, a point that may only have limited validity in our relaxed seaplane environment, yet the lack of communication is probably most prevalent in the training environment, where assuming what the instructor wanted, may yield a surprise! Equally, assuming that the mechanic did in fact check and see if he/ she could duplicate the cracking sound in left turns, or assuming that this seaplane base had no bird problems is just about as dangerous. The easy fix: Don’t assume and ask for clarification.
“Around here normally we…” … Something considered absolutely normal to you, may be next to absolute horror to others. Local and organizational norms are usually not documented and have been adopted by groups or organizations to streamline the flow of business or ease particular procedures. What we consider the norm may not make the least bit of sense to someone outside. Following standard procedure at least when strangers are in town, helps diffuse the confusion. An existing norm does not have to be right, it’s just a way for people to make things happen. However, when we encounter established norms which fail to make sense, it is best to ask and clarify, again. In the end, local norms and “ways of doing this” do not overrule written policy or regulation and sometimes it may be necessary to interfere.
11. Lack of Awareness:
“Why is it doing that?”… Usually a good indicator that someone has lost awareness, is when confusion takes over. Our mental processor is stuck or threading mud. The human fails to see and understand a condition or loses sight of the “big picture”. In the seaplane world this may be seen when realizing that the pilot who just pushed off the dock with the water rudders up has literally no control over his plane. It happens to the best and there is no experience limit. If we do not know what’s going on, we tend to try to fix the issue, never realizing that the big picture is to maintain control. Simulated engine failures are a good example that give a glimpse at the lack or sudden loss of awareness. Example: A flight instructor notices his students fixation on the emergency checklist, or trying to restart the engine, troubleshooting while getting dangerously close to a stall. A GPS is dimmed and the pilot may instantly feel overwhelmed at figuring this VOR/DME out again. An instrument pilot sets up for the approach, miles from the proper fix, or descends beneath the deck. A multitude of things can be considered the result of a lack of awareness, however, the victim is usually last to find out that something is wrong. There is no generic recipe to avoid a loss of awareness, other than constantly asking oneself: “Where am I going?; What am I doing?; Is this what I really need to be doing now?”. Sometimes talking out loud helps with maintaining awareness. Things such as “Gear up for water landing” can be a last-minute reminder to make sure.
“I’m so mad at…” … We differentiate between positive stress and negative stress. Positive stress is usually a fun & challenging situation that appears as if it can be mastered. We may sweat and shake through it, but the expected outcome is visible and attainable success. Remembering ones first solo flight (if completed without bent metal or splitting wood) might be a good measure to remember positive stress. Anticipation, a little bit of fear, but at the same time realizing that the old guy or gal who just walked away from the airplane has full confidence in our skills and ability to do this alone can be a major stress factor. It becomes positive stress after takeoff. Contrary to positive stress is negative stress. Being mad, upset, cranky or very anxious or even very fearful of an upcoming flight is negative stress. Trouble with a significant other, any sort of saddening event or loss of a loved one, losing a job or other life changing events may be a perfect excuse to fire up the plane and go for a flight but the goal must be to focus on the flight and its demands. Aggression is the last thing we need in the cockpit. Remembering the IMSAFE checklist before each flight is a productive countermeasure to it and gives us an opportunity to evaluate ourselves prior to wishing to be on the ground again.
This article is aimed at provoking a bit of thought in the readers mind as to what we can do, individually, but also in groups, teams and commercial flight departments, to leave a “safety footprint” for ourselves and others. By recalling a few common Human Factor Errors and thinking about them, we may spend a few minutes out of our busy lives to evaluate our own status and level of awareness. Maybe you can use some or all of it for your own flying. Refreshing on a few key items may help. If you think about them, you are already doing more than average and that is a good thing. As a guiding document you may wish to refer to the Dirty Dozen which is a listing of the 12 most common causes of human error, and subsequent failure developed by Mr. Gordon Dupont. While the basis of his initial effort was geared more towards the AMT (Aviation Maintenance Technician) his concepts and contributions to the industry have been widely accepted and recommended by the FAA, Transport Canada as well as EASA and apply equally to pilots and AMT’s.
“I have done this 1,000 times!”… As we gain experience in whatever we do, we tend to become more comfortable and relaxed in terms of our own standards. Just like a motorcycle driver is not realizing that he is just about to embark on a passing maneuver that is bound to fail, we may misjudge some minor detail that has tremendous impact on the outcome of our flight. We humans tend to categorize our reactions by putting certain triggers and responses and the experienced success or failure of the response into drawers within our brain. When we are triggered to make a decision, our brain automatically and very quickly determines which drawer to open. Experience can compensate for many shortfalls. The more we do something, the better we get at it, however, the better we get at something, the more prune we become, to making a quick mistake by simply ignoring the fact that not all situations are equal and not all reactions, solutions or measures apply exactly as we desire them to. Some say, it takes a certain amount of paranoia to effectively overcome complacency. Another, logical way to fight the effects of complacency is to keep moving the information that has been stored by continuing our education and thinking about our reactions ahead of an event. Just because something has worked well the last time does not mean that the same measure will yield the desired result this time. By staying open-minded and giving each situation or event the space and attention it demands we take a step towards avoiding complacency.
2. Lack of Knowledge:
“I did not know that this TFR was active”… Lack of knowledge is probably one of the most complex and dense areas of human error. We can have a lack of knowledge in regards to new regulations, technical details, new equipment installed in our aircraft, performance details, a new AD or service bulletin, airspace & procedure changes and much more. A lack of knowledge failure could probably best be described as having a large element of surprise hidden within. We find out after making an error that something in our system was not right. Every time we are asked a question we access stored information that could be outdated and obsolete or brand new. In order to create knowledge we need to reach for information. For many the simple way to reach for information is by asking questions. For others, the best way to gain knowledge is to read and research. Both methods come with potential downsides. The person we ask needs to have a solid understanding of how wrong information may affect us, down the road. If the information we have learned is incorrect we are just as well off as before. The gained knowledge is worthless. In turn if we read the integrity of the information must be assured. We could be reading the wrong document or overlook an annotation that specifies the area of applicability of the information. Only by asking and reading in a systematic way can we assure that what we are finding for answers is in fact substantiated. Using common sense can help in finding out if disbursed information is correct. Challenging an answer, or document, is sometimes needed to succeed.
3. Lack of Teamwork:
“I thought we are climbing to 2500…?” While this point may have only limited space in the single pilot environment we may, at any time ask a fellow pilot on his opinion or procedure to accomplish a certain task. When we look at multi crew cockpits, teamwork suddenly becomes much more important. In the single pilot environment we may consider the fuel truck driver, filling our fuel tanks, as a team member. On a seaplane base, the person who pushes you off the dock is an important part of your team. Whoever it is, who is engaged in the operation or movement of your aircraft or takes any active part in its movement must be part of a team. If a team is to be efficient and effective there must be common ground and a defined goal. Briefing and explaining what you wish to happen to your partner will leave space for questions and clarification before the action starts.
“Did I drain the fuel on the left wing or not?” …It is normal to lose track! We all do it, either in the office or on the phone. In many cases we find ourselves returning to a task after a short or long distraction and wonder where we left it off. For the passengers on a plane, occupying an aircraft who’s AMT was distracted during a repair or inspection, the one minute phone call or the 20 second small talk could turn deadly. For us as pilots, a distraction can have equal results, however we are subject to distractions all the time. Focusing on the task at hand requires us to do the simple, dirty things of flying first. “Fly The Plane” / “Look For Traffic” / “Keep The Ball Centered”… are just some of the things we may hear more or less frequently. When we watch other pilots fly, we have an awesome opportunity to gain a sneak peek at how they deal with distractions. A passenger pointing at his house in a turn, an ATC Controller rattling down a clearance or amended routing, a CFI dropping a pencil or a chart, or starting to chit chat just as we had to complete our pre- landing checklist or a talkative occupant can cause havoc to our ability to focus. Not answering the phone during a pre- flight inspection, not listing to last nights football results when getting ready to launch into the blue yonder… or keeping a sterile cockpit below a certain altitude can free up major resources in our brain and allow us to focus. It is never possible to remove all distractions. The only way to handle them is to continuously work on being aware of them and refining how much attention we pay to them.
“Someone got a toothpick”? … We are always fresh and relaxed when we fly our seaplanes. It’s fun! We have all spent time in cars or on airplanes and sooner or later we notice that everyone is asleep! It could have been a long flight, or not enough sleep the night before, or an oncoming cold. Whatever it may be, we may be physically or mentally fatigued and not even realize it. So could the guy or gal pumping JET A 1 into our Husky. Symptoms of fatigue are countless. Slow speech, slow eye movements, slow reaction times, delayed response, constantly doing the wrong thing first, or even physical weakness (trying to get up on the plane to fuel it) may be good indicators that we are dealing with someone who is, or are fatigued ourselves. Asking someone to look (y)our work over, and double-check, and paying attention to the symptoms of fatigue are the best prevention tools we have. Seeing someone walk around with an energy drink could be an indicator of dealing with someone who feels tired and is trying to squeeze a bit more performance out of him/ herself before taking a nap. Yes, there is a chance someone may just like the taste of Red Bull, but the chances of the person being tired or feeling exhausted are equally high. Ask a fellow pilots or share with him/her that you are tired and feeling exhausted. It may well mean the difference between a perfectly contempt copilot and a person who will keep us engaged and stay awake to keep us entertained on this upcoming 4 hour flight. Maybe its just better to take a power nap, sometimes a good nights sleep and a canceled flight are the best solution.
6.Lack of Resources:
“The sectional was sold out”… Missing people,equipment, documentation or time to complete a flight. Arrive a few minutes early and make sure everything is in order for the upcoming flight. By leaving ourselves an out, or a backup plan, in case we are missing anything that will help to complete the flight we have done a good first step. This could be as simple as finding out that the rental plane just recently had a new radio or GPS installed. Taxiing for takeoff is the worst possible time to try to figure out how to get a frequency changed or find out that frequencies for departure have changed.
To be continued…
Keeping things simple is not always easy. Yours truly learns, as he ventures into the “The Seaplane Forum” world. The first few weeks have brought amazing people along and a lot of dynamics. However, trying to help people to network free of hassle is not easy. You may end up with a bunch of people in one place, and giving them all their own space seems as if it is a good thing. Yet, others, who just want to read, and find information can get confused. The more there is, the more they have to read to arrive at what they are looking for. A dear friend had a lot to do with the creation and launching of this forum. 5 other special people made it possible and gave it life. One of the things the friends of this forum wanted, is a place that does not disconnect people from each other. After this weekend, I looked at my forum and read a few emails I had gotten over the weekend and decided, it was time to simplify and de-clutter. This may annoy existing members, who had gotten used to finding certain things in certain spaces, yet, I feel it is better to make major changes while the place is still young. Unused sections have been removed. A developer has been contacted for fixing a few small issues. When you log on next time, take the time to look around. We are looking for seaplane specific safety events and the CFI/DPE network would like to see a few new members showing hands. Grassroots is what started the forum and it is my belief, that grassroots will keep it growing and successful.
Seaplane people are incredible networker’s. Thats the conclusion and result of the first week of reaching out to global organizations in the seaplane industry. The Seaplane Pilots Associations Field Director for Maine, Mary Build, joined our forum yesterday as the first SPA Field Director. With her,she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, as a Designated Pilot Examiner, Flight Instructor and well known FAA Safety Team Representative, but also as the owner of an active Seaplane Training Facility in Naples, Maine. Within a short period of time my email inbox had filled with a few documents, and interesting topics, such as the upcoming Seaplane Safety Expo, which will take place this year on June 12th. Again, the event will be jam-packed with safety related briefings, seminars and a raffle and another opportunity for seaplane pilots to meet and shake hands. The Kathadin Wings 99’s will be active and involved and many of us up here in the cold north, cannot wait to be there. Mary will be the first user and facilitator of the SPA Field Directors corner, a section of our forum that enables free and quick sharing of news and hopefully proves beneficial to the network.
The Aviateurs Et Pilotes De Brousse Du Quebec, or short APBQ has decided to give our community a closer look and its President and VP-Member Services, Mr. Gilles Lapierre, and Bernard Gervais are new members on the forum. In total the forum grew to it’s 85th member this friday, with more people being invited everyday. The forum now has a “For Sale & Want To Buy” Section available to it’s signed up users as well and once a visitor decides to sign up a multitude of other features become visible and useable.
However, growth and expansion also yielded some little technical issues, which are currently dealt with. The forum software is accessed by visiting two domains, one of which is its main home http://www.jasonjamesbaker.com/Seaplane/ and one under its easy to find name http://www.seaplaneforum.com . The hosting company made a small mistake in proper redirection which may have caused some confusion with newly signed up members. This became apparent when ‘yours truly’ attempted to log into his own forum repeatedly and found two different “versions”, one showing more up to date information than the other! Fixing the issue requires installation of a modification to the boards script. To avoid further issues the boards “remember password feature” was temporarily disabled. The request to new members, for using easy to remember usernames and passwords came about during my past activity on behalf of Seaplane Pilots Associations Forum which required a double login and the fact that too many characters were required to create a password. During this time it will prove helpful to keep longer documents available outside of the forum (notepad, word or other document management tools will help). Many members did not report any issues and ease of access remains to be a non-challenge for them. However, it is my desire to offer this feature in the future to keep it easy and simple – so it is being fixed while the message board is young. Thanks to the 2 members who reported the issue, this uncritical issue will soon be attacked and solved. If you experience any issues simply try to use a different link to access the forum. If you are not successful on http://www.jasonjamesbaker.com/Seaplane/ simply swing to http://www.seaplaneforum.com and vice versa, or contact me per email or this blog.
The other and final point of this article is the new feature on SPA’s blog, that now includes a “Destinations Directory” which can be found here: http://seaplanes.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/the-secret-%e2%80%99s-out-about-seaplane-destinations/ and is an interesting document for seaplane pilots.
Opportunities for a truly international flair of seaplane pilots have presented themselves thanks to Mr. Kevin Psutka, President of The Canadian Owners & Pilots Association Mr. Psutka has been very quick and helpful in spreading the word to the Canadian Seaplane Community, about the availability of the new Seaplane Forum. A few short days later, we received an interested inquiry on the forums ability to allow French as posting language. At this time, a testing & demonstration section has been set up for Aviateurs Et Pilotes De Brousse Du Quebec , a large organization with many seaplane pilots. We do hope, that the groups members will show interest, as it would yield added exposure as well as shear endless networking capabilities. Since many members of Canadian provinces and more remote areas do not speak English frequently (I fly in Northern Maine!) our forum offered to accommodate this. It will be an interesting section and would add a lot of truly international flair! We still wait on responses from the French Seaplane Pilots Association, which would create an ultimately interesting mix. Several European groups have responded but are still busy and occupied with Biscarrosse! We are proud to provide a virtual news & update section to the International Seabee Pilot Community as well! Many beautiful Seabee pictures have been posted! On the bragging side, this blog was recently complimented by the FAA’s National Outreach Manager who paid it a visit and liked what he saw!
The Seaplane Pilots Association has a new Field Director for Minnesota! Mary Alverson, current President of the Minnesota SPA and founder of Wings Over Water , a 3000+ hour Commercial Pilot & CFI with a heavy passion for Seaplanes joined the ranks at SPA as one of the many field directors who work hard in keeping waterways open. A true asset to SPA and to the Seaplane community. Please watch David Quam’s video that contains the announcement. The seaplane forum remains to be looking to join forces with other Seaplane associations to provide more variety and share the news and excitement of our seaplane world. The CFI & DPE network and small sponsorship based advertising remains available. Exciting times ahead!
Wire strikes remain to be dangerous to Seaplanes, too!
MET towers (Meteorological towers), are used to gather wind data necessary for site evaluation and development of wind energy projects. They can be erected very rapidly and may be on site from a few days to up to a year or longer. Towers generally range in height from 30, 50, 60 and 80 meters tall. Any tower less than 200 feet in height is not required by regulation to be lighted. At this time there is no standardized notification system in place to indicate when and where these towers are erected. These are not posted in any Airport Facility Directory, NOTAMS, etc. unless they interfere with airport operations. BE ON THE OUTLOOK FOR THESE HAZARDS…! For more information, please click on these links:
Several months ago an inquiry on the FAAST blog was posted, asking about the SeaWings program as it was previously known to us. The FAA entertains a blog on everything wings. Include it in your daily scan as more and more people start to catch on with asking questions! http://faawings.blogspot.com/
This is an exciting opportunity for Seaplane Pilots in NY!
If you are a Seaplane CFI with specific experience, please contact your local Safety Program Manager to discuss how you can help to put one of these courses on!
Date: April 24th 2010 @ 7AM
Advanced Rescue Swimmers from the US Coast Guard (USCG) Air Station Detroit are teaming up with the local FAA Safety Team to provide this exclusive training to local pilots and flight instructors.
FAASTeam Lead Representative Bob Fratangelo will facilitate the training along with other crews from USCG Air Station Detroit including two rescue Swimmers and other AUXAIR crew members.
The training is divided into two segments. Ground training and pool training. The ground training will include safe water ditching procedures, egress procedures from ditched aircraft, cold water survival techniques and more. The pool training will simulate actual egress from an inverted, underwater trainer!
Be advised, limited slots are available for this training. After all the slots are filled, registrants can expect to receive an email with their specific time slot. Please be patient, it may be several days before you receive this email.
Special thanks to the Rush-Henrietta School for providing the facility for this exclusive training.
Register while you still can. I expect these seats to fill fast! If you can’t get in, let them know that you are interested! It’s important for the FAAST team to measure how well individual classes are received and I am sure they will pay attention to more requests.
Not too long ago, I met with a young pilot, who is in the process of finishing his commercial pilot certification. We talked briefly about how he was studying and preparing for his oral exam and flight test. He had asked me for a short oral quizzing session, but it appeared like he quickly regretted the motion. When he handed me his “Oral Exam Prep” book I said that I would like for him to run through one of his usual passenger briefings with me.
“There is no usual passenger briefing I use. I only have to explain the seat-belts!”
I asked him if he had ever flown with passengers, family or friends as a private pilot. While he had, he was only aware of having to show/ explain how to open and close doors and the use of safety belts to his companions. In his flight tests so far that had proved sufficient and he stated that he had never been asked any questions in addition.
“Usually my examiners told me that they where fine, when I started to speak and just asked me to start the engine and get going.”
I had him look up 14 CFR 91.519 Passenger Briefing and try to produce a briefing that would accomplish two things:
- Comply with the regulation.
- Brief Passenger(s) in a style that would actually teach them about what to do in case of emergency.
Note that the referenced FAR applies only to Large and Turbine powered airplanes in Commercial service, but there is no legitimate reason that we can’t VOLUNTARILY adopt that procedure for Part 91 operations.
(a) Before each takeoff the pilot in command of an airplane carrying passengers shall ensure that all passengers have been orally briefed on—
(2) Use of safety belts and shoulder harnesses.
(3) Location and means for opening the passenger entry door and emergency exits;
(4) Location of survival equipment;
(5) Ditching procedures and the use of flotation equipment required under §91.509 for a flight over water; and
(6) The normal and emergency use of oxygen equipment installed on the airplane.
This picture stems from Australia. The 185F was flown by a high time pilot on a charter flight. 3 people occupied the aircraft, which was struck by wind shear, causing the wing to touch the water, eventually flipping this aircraft on it’s back. Except for the pilot, all passengers reported disorientation and had a some struggles getting out of the submerged cabin. The pilot stated that he believed a previously (and recently) accomplished Helicopter Egress Training to have helped him to stay calm and organized. Consider taking one of these classes. Read and work through Advisory Circular 91-69A “Seaplane Safety for Part 91 Operators”
We need to make sure our passengers are properly briefed on how to egress in case of emergency. They need to know that the way of entering the cabin may not be the way out. Passengers must be aware and should be familiar with where to find flotation devices and how to use them. There is nothing wrong with having them demonstrate closing and opening seat- belts. One of the few things we need to pay attention to, is to place passengers with physical disabilities, so exiting the cabin is easily accomplished. It is imperative to brief and instruct our passengers with clear and concise commands, to ensure that they know exactly, what is expected from them. Further, explain the use of seat belt cutters, axes, fire extinguishers, and how to get these tools out of their compartments or holders, in case you are incapacitated! They need to know, that sometimes, letting water in, is the only way out. Spend some time alone with your airplane, and try to think of all the tricks you would try, to get out of a submerged cabin.
This posts intention is to refresh the thought process in your mind. Preparation is key. Make an effort and fine tune your passenger briefing. Exercise it with a pilot buddy or a CFI and tailor it for your specific airplane. A briefing card is a nice thing to have, as well. If you are going for a new pilot certificate, don’t let the examiner tell you that he/ she’s fine. Just like a pretakeoff briefing (which is usually not cut short) your passenger briefing may serve as this last minute rescue rope. Having the information reviewed and refreshed may make the difference, one day. Remember, the examiner is just a passenger – on this check ride!