Air crews train for survival
- The course is a requirement all crew members who fly over the ocean at a distance from land greater than the gliding capability of the aircraft after loss of power.
It's a requirement all crew members who fly over the ocean at a distance from land greater than the gliding capability of the aircraft after loss of power.
Recently, Group 5 of the Civil Air Patrol, US Air Force Auxiliary conducted an OWS course, in which two dozen aircrew members participated. They attended in-class presentations, participated in the egress from airplane exercises, took part in the in-the-water training, and finally took the online qualifying exam.
The chance of survival after ditching (landing on the water) is high – 88 percent if the training directions are followed. The course ensures that the CAP aircrews have a greater chance to survive the accident.
The presentations focus on proven procedures and techniques that the aircrews should know and follow before, during, and after the ditching. The practical exercises focus on applying those processes and assimilating the steps until they become second nature.
Egress from the airplane is one of those exercises where the raft is thrown out of the aircraft, and the crew members exit the plane in as quickly as possible.
The in-the-water training portion requires the crew to swim 50 yards, tread water for 15 minutes, and finally right the overturned raft and climb aboard - not as easy as it might seem because the crew members are wearing their flight clothes during the training.
Camaraderie and encouragements from the rest of the squad help accomplish the training successfully.
Many CAP squadrons fly coastal patrols, boaters search and rescue, as well as support missions for the Air Force, and all of these missions do take the aircrews over water. Also, the local Marco Island Squadron performs over-water missions in its scheduled searches for people in endangered circumstances, such as overturned boats or lost boaters.
It's good to know that they will be prepared for the unexpected in case of problems with their own aircraft.