Preflighting Your Passenger for Water Flight By Amy Laboda ASC Tampa FSDO

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  • Preflighting Your Passenger for Water FlightBy Amy LabodaASCTampa FSDO

  • Passenger PreflightSeating Assess via weight and balanceDetermine who can sit right seat with minimum pilot interference

  • Assess who can open an exit if called upon to do so

  • Determine who can exit with emergency gear (raft)Explain how to use it

  • Your SpeechIf youve been flying on airlines (or for them) you know it by heart

  • How to don the PFD (should be wearing if over water time starts immediately after takeoff)How to use PFDPouch or Airline type?

  • How to buckle and unbuckle a seat belt

  • How to open and close doors and windowsLocation and operation of the fire extinguisherHow to operate seats, forward and backward, to enhance egress.That the seat back should be upright for takeoff and landing.

  • The location of each normal and emergency exit.The operation of each normal and emergency exit by explanation and demonstrationTo leave carry-on items behindTo establish "situational awareness."

  • Bracing positions for a hard landing

  • Survival Tools to have attached to you (or a passenger)

  • Statistics Dont Lie95% of accidents in the water are survivable-as far as the landing impact goesNearly as many passengers survive aircraft accidents in generalWhen interviewed, an overwhelming majority of passengers say that they remembered the preflight briefing given by the pilot/flight attendant and it saved their lives.

  • SmokingSeat belts / Shoulder HarnessesSeatsExitsCarry OnsSituational AwarenessFlotation GearFire ExtinguishersSurvival EquipmentELTBrace position

    A Sample Checklist

    We all know that pilots have preflight duties. CFR 14 Part 91 makes it clear: we need to check the weather, check our aircraft for airworthiness, weight and balance and suitability for the flight at hand, check the airports we intend to use to make sure that the runways are long enough for take off and landing under forecast conditions, and check ourselves to make sure that we are airworthy, capable and certified to fly the way we intend to fly that day. There is one other chore the FAA regulates: that is preflighting our passengers.Who sits where? Small children shouldnt be in the right front seat, especially if that puts them next to a door they would have to open. You need someone in the front seat who is capable of opening the door and egressing, possibly with the life raft. Also, you need someone in the front seat who wont get in your way, both when flying, and also in an emergency.Make sure that they can reach the exit from their seat and that they are confident on the operation of the door handle. In any case, most light aircraft emergency checklists call for doors to be opened before the water landing.Attach clip from raft leader line to hard point on airplane (seat attachment on back seat, which is stationary, in my airplane). Tell person responsible to push raft out of airplane and grab leader line. Raft will fall into water and at end of line give a hard pull and it will activate inflation. Dont worry, there is 35-50ft of line and it is tested to break before the airplane could pull the raft under. Much more likely that an unattached raft will be blown by wind too far away from you or others and make it diificult or impossible for you/them to enter raft at all. If water is shallow then being attached to airplane will make you and the airplane all the more visible to rescuers.

    Note: just because you fly a seaplane does not mean that having a raft onboard is redundant. Seaplanes can sink. An emergency landing in heavy seas can put you upside down and swamp you. Anytime you operate far from shore, you should consider carrying a raft.This is a cadillac. But then, in an emergency situation, who wants to be in a Yugo?

    Winslow is one company that will even pack your medications and spare glasses as part of the emergency equipment. If you plan to operate far from shore, in hostile environments--Id recommend one. The best thing that can happen is that you never have to use it.In some of the accidents where pilots survived and passengers did not, investigation revealed that pilots had met the requirements of 91.107 but did not go beyond that; i.e., did not brief passengers on how to exit in an emergency, on the location, donning, and inflation of a PFD, and on the procedures for an underwater exit of the aircraft. There were accidents where the pilot was injured or killed and could not assist passengers in an underwater evacuation. Therefore, a comprehensive preflight briefing, although not a regulatory requirement, can provide critical information to passengers so that they can help themselves. The information in that preflight briefing could make the difference between a successful evacuation and being trapped inside a submerged seaplane.

    Demonstrate pouch type here. Point out that in your opinion, passengers are more comfortable in the pouch type preservers because they dont have to sit with their chests covered, staring at the emergency equipment as you take off, climb, and cruise over water. It is there and attached to them and ready for instant deployment. You also avoid the fear of becoming entangled while egressing, especially in older aircraft with shoulder harnesses that are not on inertia reels.Tell passengers not to release the seat belt until all forward motion has stopped. Tumbling loose in cockpit does not make it easier to get out. If the cockpit is flooded it is better to locate the door with hand before releasing seat belt or you may float up to the ceiling and get entangled trying to egress. Remember that seatbelts can get turned upside down, so take the time to remind passengers to feel for the seat belt latch and lift it up.

    Make it a game with little children, seeing how fast they can fasten and unfasten the seatbelt with their eyes closed.

    How to operate seats, forward and backward, to enhance egress.(5) That the seat back should be upright for takeoff and landing.(6) The location of each normal and emergency exit.(7) The operation of each normal and emergency exit by explanation and demonstration, if practical.(8) To leave carry-on items behind in the event of an evacuation in the water.(9) To establish "situational awareness."During the preflight briefing, the pilot should help passengers establish a definite frame of reference, such as left hand on the left knee or left armrest or right hand toward the direction of the exit. Once they have established situational awareness, passengers can use a "hand-over-hand" technique to make their way to an exit when the pilot gives the evacuation order; e.g., "Exit through the left rear door," or "Exit right side." Using positional and situational awareness and the "hand-over-hand" technique decreases the possibility of becoming disoriented. The pilot should stress the point that whether a passenger is upright or inverted, left and right are still the same; i.e., if the exit is on the passenger's right while upright, it will still be on the passenger's right if inverted. The pilot should also be sure to make all directional references to the passenger's right or left, not the pilot's. Pilots should advise passengers if the door handle on the inside of the airplane will work in reverse when they are upside down and that, when the door is closed and locked as in flight, the door may not be able to be opened from the outside.

    Especially when passengers do not have shoulder harnesses, a bracing position can prevent injury. Make sure that anything hard or projectile like has been removed from the seat pockets, because the sudden stoppage may send that passenger into the back of the seat, despite the seat belt.A point driven home by experience: if it is not attached to you it will not come out of the airplane with you. So, have a hand on that raft (if that is your responsibilityhard to do if you are the pilot, so, delegate if you can). Also, survival equipment such as this basic kit can be packed to fit in a small fanny pack. Here we have water, sunscreen, a space blanket, essential first aid (bandaids, alcohol swabs, antibiotic ointment), a strobe/flashlight, signal mirror, lume stick and even a card that reminds you of the seven steps to survival. Thank Randy Boone for this compact package, but you can make one yourself from these essential ingredients. Strap it to someone so it comes out of the airplane.It helps. Our rescuer was a little baffled to find us swimming around in the water laughing just five minutes after our airplane went downbut whats not to laugh about when everyone egressed without injury and the boat is right there to pick us up? Once youve made it, take that essential time to relax and take stock. If you do everything right and you are lucky, youll have lots of blessings to count.Fact:

    Passengers dont tend to die from the impact of a water accident--they drown during or immediately after egress.

    Actually, that can be said for aircraft accidents in general.

    I hope that a ditching encounter never happens to you. But if it does, what you tell your passengers about how to handle an emergency is what will save their lives. And isnt that what you want?

    Heres a sample pre flight briefing for over water from AC 91-69ASmoking considerations: Where, when, and under what conditions.Seatbelts/Shoulder harnesses: How to fasten, tighten, and unfasten; how to stow the loose end of the belt.Seats: Operation forward and rearward; seat backs upright for takeoff and landing.Exits: Location and operation (by demonstration) of each normal and, if applicable, emergency exit.Carry-on items: Stowed properly and left on board during evacuation.Situational awareness: Establish a frame of reference for left and right in relation to the aircraft exits; remind left and righ