At this time of year especially, we should
pay attention to the consequences of a
good flight gone wrong. Should we end
up in the water in the wintertime
anywhere but in a tropical region, our
flying career could be cut tragically
short. As shown in Table 1 on page 60,
time is limited when we’re floating
around in cold water. After a mere 15
minutes in near-freezing water, we can’t
help ourselves, let alone anyone else. If
we find ourselves floating rather than
flying, it does little good to be able to
say, “Well, I was following the
regulations.” Being legal isn’t the same
as being safe or smart, and perhaps we
should err on the side of conservatism
when it comes to survival equipment
and overwater flights.
A few years back on a warm July day,
a charter pilot in a Piper Cherokee Six
(PA-32-300) experienced an engine failure while carrying a passenger from
Block Island, Rhode Island, to Groton,
Connecticut. Unfortunately, the pilot
was not within gliding distance of shore,
and his best option was to ditch in open
water near a barge. The water was warm
and calm, and the pilot made a “good”
water landing. He and his passenger
exited the aircraft without incident, but
having no flotation devices aboard, they
used 5-gallon buckets to remain afloat
and made it to the barge, where they
waited for help. The aircraft sank within
All too often, such an emergency
doesn’t have such a happy ending.
Sometimes the challenge of extricating
ourselves and assisting our passengers
from the wreckage before it sinks is
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Safe egress from an aircraft in the water
can be extremely challenging, especially if
the aircraft flips over or injuries occur.
Without emergency egress training, mistakes are likely in an attempt to escape.
With water rushing in and the aircraft in
an unusual attitude, an individual who
unbuckles his harness and attempts to
exit can quickly become disoriented, with
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Graphical Engine Monitor with EGT history
Dual AHRS - Auto-cross check. No degradation with loss of an AHRS; no
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Extensive Lateral and Vertical autopilot coupling expands autopilot
XM Weather, TIS Traffic, Stormscope, ADS-B,
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8 serial ports in/out, 8/14 analog inputs/outputs, ARINC 429 for today and
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Primary Flight Display with synthetic vision
Moving Map with shaded relief terrain