Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Articles Bry the Dunker Guy Pilot versus Fish

Pilot versus Fish

Here is a different way of looking at a situation for the next time you are out cruising along on wheels over water or even on floats over top of huge sea swells. For example pilots in general might want to give due consideration on take off out over water at airports such as Vancouver or Victoria BC then possibly consider educating themselves on Egress Training.

Looking at the statistics, take off and more importantly the landing phase of flight are where a good percentage of the accidents shade in the pie chart. For a floatplane operator it is the very liquid substance we depend on for our runway which could prove lethal when least expected. Each year a few unlucky aviators are merrily flying along with out a worry in the world and then with absolutely no warning they are upside down in freezing cold water trapped in their aircraft.

The reason for the upset is not important, and all too often sudden and unexpected. The response to a cold water submersion could easily be a shocking experience and then followed by a traumatic feeling of entrapment if not handled correctly. For the fish playfully darting about outside your inverted airframe they are right in their element and will live their lives in this environment, as we do above water. For the aircraft occupants who have just been subjected to a violent impact followed by a sudden stop possibly in the length of the aircraft, seconds will make the difference between survival and possibly loss of life.

In a similar way to a fish who will not survive long out of water we as humans are unable to spend any appreciable amount of time in their watery world without breath. For any person who finds themselves underwater without Egress Training the difficulty is an ability to control your emotions and understand disorientation with out panicking. Regardless of water skills such as being a good swimmer or scuba diver when confronted with inversion plus confinement and cold shock, it proves to be a formidable challenge for the best. Finding exits with limited eye sight while upside down and with only seconds to survive before you are forced to breathe is something difficult to describe. To best understand this scenario most people are able to hold their breath for a minute or more while sitting comfortably and with out physical exertion.

In this unfortunate situation you are often without warning subjected to impact cold water and then once you have released your seatbelts in a foreign world seeking door handles which moments earlier were right there. In the event you are unable to find the door latch from this sealed box like affair your animal instincts to survive take over. Now you become extremely powerful as adrenaline has been released into your system along with a rapid heart rate which is placing high demands on your limited oxygen supply and lowering the over a minute dry land time to less than 15 seconds. With all this being said what is the best answer to prepare for this situation should it happen to you? Enrol in Egress Training just as you did for all those other in flight emergencies such as stalls, and forced landings etc.

Bryan Webster has been flying now for over 30 years and has accumulated over 11.000 hours on 35 different aircraft types.
Today when not flying floatplanes on the BC Coast he can be found in pool facilities all over Canada teaching pilots and passengers the skills required to safely Egress from water/aircraft mishaps.

For more information contact:
Bry the Dunker Guy
Aviation Egress Systems

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