Q-talk 136 - Emergency Kit Discussion Continued
- Category: Q-Talk Articles
- Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2009 16:24
- Written by Brian M. Martinez
- Hits: 1712
I was reading the contents of the survival kits listed on pages 7 and 8 of the May/June 09 newsletter (Issue 135). I think something was left out. This brought
to mind some discussions I had with a USAF survival instructor back in the early 1990's prior to the first flight of N557BM. The discussion revolved around the problems that you are trying to solve with the survival kit. That said, the broader problems that we face here in the desert southwest revolve around flying over rough terrain and the potential of making off runway landings in canyons, mountains and chaparral. Conditions can go from sub-zero during the winter to topping 120 degrees F around some parts of the R2508 complex. Pilots of various aircraft go down and their remains are not found until the following season; if at all. I say this in the general sense, because you must solve the problem at hand for your geography; and, what goes for one may not go for the all. Less concerned about hunting, than just accomplishing immediate survival and potential rescue. You don't want to spend loads of time in the wild, because the longer you spend there, the worse your survival situation may become. You don't want to carry lots of survival stuff because in our little bitty airplanes it becomes a more significant part of the useful load.
When it comes to specifics, Q-drivers do not have very much space to devote to lots of survival gear; turning about in the cockpit can be problematic; you put it on, you don't get in it. The problem that we must address is "immediate" survival and that is probably where your efforts are best invested; and, this also speaks to size and volume efficiency of your tools. I don't know about everyone else, but I just couldn't spare the room for an ejection seat, seat kit, and raft so I addressed the problem of simply getting out. The Q-200 has a nicely formed escape capsule that will probably protect the pilot to a degree; however, how do you get out or just move
around after the crash has occurred or when the fire is raging? If the survival kit is in the back, you are screwed...so to speak (STS).
Attach those critical survival items to yourself so that you can get at them when you need them without having to do gymnastics in that tight little cockpit. There are nifty survival vests that you can get for cheap; if in doubt you can use a fisherman's vest tailored for the use in your aircraft. Stay away from synthetic materials in that vest, canvas works well and won't stick to skin during a fire. Forget all the fancy "do dads" with "survival pasted all over the package. For immediate survival you will need something to accomplish egress, something to treat trauma, something to treat shock, and something to let someone know and get help. Dress for the conditions. Forget the part about fighting off bears unless you are in the high LATS.
That all said, here is my example. My entire survival system is in a aircrew vest that I wear on every Q200 flight ..every flight; this is risk mitigation. The primary purpose is to keep everything I need within reach. The pockets were individually stitched into place by a rigger; however, your wife's Singer sewing machine will work just as good. A Cold Steel SRK is attached to the vest in a kydex sheath underneath my right arm so that my left hand can remove it and use it as a canopy breaker if the latches are jammed or the aircraft is inverted. It can also be used to chip through the sides of the fuselage in the same manner as a crash axe. There are several trauma bandages to include a sanitary napkin and tape to handle post crash injuries that might cause loss of blood with resultant
loss of consciousness. I also carry a bottle or pouch of water to address the onset of shock immediately following an incident. Ever been shocked after a traffic incident? I have, and it can leave you with tunnel vision, just like oxygen deprivation. My lower right hand chest has a mini-first aid kit with a folded neckerchief of cloth to be used as a sling or additional bandage and signaling mirror. Another pouch contains a large plastic trash bag and mylar space blanket. A pouch on the lower right contains a pilot's signal strobe. I also carry a Gyrojet hand launcher. A small leatherman multi-tool and fire starter are also attached. A small Silva compass is secured in one of the pouches high on the chest. All of the tools are secured to the vest using nylon cord so that if the aircraft remains are shifted or positioned in trees/wash/canyon.I will not lose the tool. There is an additional pouch in the back which is set aside for a cell phone/hand held VHF Comm/Personnal locator. I occasionally hook a mini Camelbak hydration pouch to the vest in order to drink from the tube during flight.
Your goal must be to plan your flight so that you have fun, stay safe, and minimize risk ..don't crash. After that you should establish and memorize some bold face procedures that address in-flight hazards. Example: ENGINE FAILURE: GLIDE - ESTABLISH; LANDING SITE -SELECT; ENGINE - ATTEMPT RESTART. And, reviewing: following that incident, you need to (1) survive the immediate crash, (2) egress the aircraft, (3) treat trauma, (4) treat for shock, and (5) get some help. You will be doing this all by yourself.
Brian M. Martinez
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