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Similar risks exist for American pilots flying across


natural preserves and


forested


mountains; even in the heavily urbanized Eastern Seaboard. Add the post-crash challenges of unexpectedly landing on water – risks that exist even for helicopters hopping across New York City – and planning to survive after a crash should be a priority for all helicopter pilots.


Unfortunately, “90 percent of helicopter pilots do not take survival preparations seriously,” said Arama. “They often fly with inadequate safety training and equipment; lacking anything beyond a car-quality first aid kit, and not knowing if their aircraft’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) is functioning properly. Should a crash occur, these pilots are utterly unprepared to survive until help arrives — especially if they land in an hard-to-access area in bad weather where assistance can take days to get through.”


A PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO POST-CRASH SURVIVAL


Of course, a pilot who becomes too focused on the dangers of post-crash survival can cut into the time they should be spending on other vital matters; such as proper pre-flight planning and in-flight attention to piloting. In the same vein, a helicopter can only carry so much survival equipment before its payload capacity becomes compromised. The equipment a pilot chooses to carry for emergencies has to strike a balance between usefulness and compactness/lightness.


This is why taking a pragmatic approach to post-crash survival makes sense. Smart pilots can never address the full range of catastrophes that could befall them, but they can substantially improve their odds [of survival] by preparing to deal with those most likely to occur on their flights.


The process starts by determining the types of terrain – including open water — and climates that a pilot could find him or herself in a post-crash situation.


Figuring this out is actually easy. Just look at the routes you fly on a regular basis, and learn what is


under your


aircraft at any time during your flight. This knowledge will better prepare you for your post-crash survival.


instance, if you fly regularly over a desert, you’d better have water on board,” said Ron Abbott, co-owner of Florida’s Aviation Survival; a distributor of aviation survival equipment and quality helicopter helmets. “If you fly over water, you need a life raft and life vests.”


“For


74


Mar/Apr 2017


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