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#18017 - 07/30/03 09:16 AM Re: What is "survival"?
johnbaker Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 384
Loc: USA

It sounds like a good read, as well as a very informative one. Thanks for telling us about this book.

Incidentally, I would be inclined to think that most ordinary schools have operated for prolonged periods without fatalities. Thus any school that boasted that it had not yet killed any of its students (or at least suffered their deaths) was suspect. (Naturally I exclude military and high risk fields where their subject matters are inherently dangerous.) Anyway, I wouldn't readily send my children to such schools.



#18018 - 07/30/03 01:03 PM Re: What is "survival"?
garrett Offline

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 249
Loc: North Carolina
Hey Aardwolf,

I resemble and resent your post. I dont know whether to be amused or ashamed. I am admitted "gear queer" and I get quite a bit of razing at work about it. But, I am a US Marine and often times I carry my life on my back, or most often in the back of a Humvee, so space and weight are a premium for me. I need things that are small and light and serve dual purposes, and will stand up to the abuse of 6 weeks in the field.

I agree, this forum does become more about gear than anything else, but for me survival, both urban and rural, is a reality in almost everything I do. When I go to the field with my unit if I get sperated or hurt and I have to wait for them to find me, well I need to be able to live until they find me. If I get separated from my unit in the streets of some small town in a thrid world country, I need the items that will help me survive. Neither of these two events will happen hopefully.

The Marine Corps has taught me quite a bit about surviving in different situations, although I learned significantly more from the Boy Scouts.

I know how to take care of myself so anything (knife, tool, light, etc) that can help me out it much appreciated.

Sorry I didnt respond to your post, but I didnt feel I had much to add. And thank you for giving me a little eye opener as well. And by the way, you are no troll.

On occasion of every accident that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and inquire what power you have for turning it to use. - Epictetus

#18019 - 07/30/03 03:25 PM Re: What is "survival"?

I dunno... when you're on a site called "Equipped to Survive", I really don't think it's unreasonable that most of the conversation is about equipment. If the site were "Danger Avoidance", then it might be reasonable to expect otherwise. Some people think it should be about "militant" survivalism, some people think it should be about post-apocalyptic homesteading, and some think it should be about First Aid. Personally, even though this site doesn't cover a great many of my own interests and biases, I find it so valuable as it is, for what it is, that I'm reluctant to see people trying to change it.

As far as danger avoidance, I confess I'm personally less concerned with the perils are fairly obvious. When you step onto a boat, or helicopter, or a bush plane, or off the trailhead into the wilderness (such as remains), you know that there's a certain amount of chance involved. Not everyone gets to pick the chances they take.

If the last big survival lesson in the 20th Century was "don't drink the cool-aid", then maybe the first ones of the 21st Century are "ignore the voice on the PA system telling you to return to your desk".

Or, more broadly, "don't stick around to watch the tragedy unfold- concentrate on getting as far away from it as FAST as possible".

I know that my attitudes toward the unforseen dangers have changed this century. I'm more than willing to let co-worker ridicule me the next day, if we're all alive to do that- in the meantime, if I have ANY doubts about what's going down, I'm gone. Personally, I think that's a more important change than the fairly obvious precaution of making sure the organizers of a canoe trip are competent.

#18020 - 07/30/03 09:30 PM Re: What is "survival"?
aardwolfe Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 923
Loc: St. John's, Newfoundland
Thanks to all who have responded so far, and especially thanks for taking this post in the spirit it was intended.

I was unusually grumpy when I posted the above; I don't know, but maybe my friend's death (presumed at this point; the search was called off without finding anything) affected me more than I realised.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be putting together my own thoughts on "Accident Avoidance for Dummies" which I would like to incorporate into the cadet "Flight Safety" proficiency in the fall. I'll probably post them in the other thread when I do.
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."

#18021 - 07/30/03 09:47 PM Re: What is "survival"?

Sorry to hear about your friend. <img src="images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

#18022 - 07/30/03 10:11 PM Re: What is "survival"?
aardwolfe Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 923
Loc: St. John's, Newfoundland
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."

#18023 - 07/30/03 11:13 PM Re: What is "survival"?
aardwolfe Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 923
Loc: St. John's, Newfoundland
>>Some people think it should be about "militant" survivalism, some people think it should be about post-apocalyptic homesteading, and some think it should be about First Aid.

I think it should be about survival, but that's just me <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

>>... When you step onto a boat, or helicopter, or a bush plane, ...you know that there's a certain amount of chance involved.

The way you put it, it sounds like you're saying the risk is the same, whether you get onto a plane that's fully IFR-equipped, flown by an ATP-rated pilot who's thoroughly checked the weather, or you get onto a plane flown by a low-time pilot who's unfamiliar with the area and is taking off for a flight through the mountains towards an area of known thunderstorm activity. I think the first of these is safe and reasonable; the second is tantamount to committing suicide. (I've probably misinterpreted you, though.)

>>Not everyone gets to pick the chances they take.

I'm not sure what this means, but I would say that the vast majority of us pick the chances we take, most of the time.

>>..."don't stick around to watch the tragedy unfold- concentrate on getting as far away from it as FAST as possible".

Unfortunately, by the time the tragedy starts unfolding, you may no longer be in a position to get away from it. IMNSHO, the ability to see the potential tragedy, long before it becomes obvious, is an important survival skill.

>>... the fairly obvious precaution of making sure the organizers of a canoe trip are competent.

It may be fairly obvious that you NEED to do that; it may not be obvious HOW you do it. And if you have any suggestions how to do that - what questions to ask, what danger signs to look for - I'd be interested in hearing them. Which is sort of the point I was trying to make, I guess. <img src="images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" />
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."

#18024 - 07/31/03 01:19 AM Re: What is "survival"?

Well, the site and the forum is about; first) whatever Doug wants it to be about. second) whatever Chris allows to be posted without shutting down. So far it seems useful and educational - wouldn't change it for anything but I do participate in many others to fill in what I see as areas not adequately addressed here (though I have recently found I no-longer need to wander around the knife forums;))

Reasonable non-niave individuals all understand that there is risk in everything we do. A cautious individual will attempt to guage the amount of risk. An adventerous individual will accept a higher risk to reward ratio. A prepared individual will spend hours researching, learning, practicing, discussing with others in an attempt to be better at rating the risks that they are taking and preparing to mitigate the possible consequences should the risks be realized. To limit the discussion to gear is probably too narrow for me to feel adequately prepared. To limit the discussion to risk avoidance would result in a less adventurous life than would satisfy me.

Some risks are either extreme or light with little in-between. Light plane travel is one of these areas. Similar to skydiving. In skydiving, if something goes bad - buBye! There is no preparing or mitigating. Unless you pack your own you are really in someone elses hands. There may be some probing questions that I could learn to ask a small plane pilot when he / she offers me a ride but in the end I will either accept "I have looked into the situation and in my educated opinion, we will be fine taking this ride" or not. The result of my being wrong in accepting that statement is a state of un-earned trust. The result of that persons opinion being wrong is near certain fatality. This isn't just fancy liability lawyering. In the final analysis it comes down to how much I trust the individual flying the plane + how badly I need the ride + What alternatives do I have. In the event of a joy ride I may be much more selective and probing in the questions I ask about the safety of the ride since I can forego a lot of joy to reduce the chance of a fatal risk. OTOH, If I am hypothermic and starting into shock from loss of blood lying next to a dieing fire on the banks of a creek barely wide enough for the float plane to land in some remote part of the alaskan interior, I assure you I won't be asking any questions - I will only say thanks to the pilot and my God and add a little prayer for safe passage on the thanks to my God.

In the intermediate cases it is certainly a good idea to have a list of things you might want to know about your prospective flight before you buy the (potentially fatal) ticket. There are preflight checklists that are required of commercial pilots before they are cleared. That checklist itself might give us a good place to start. I am not a pilot and don't have access to these checklists or knowledge of what is on them. I presume that the checklist used by a commercial jet pilot might be a bit more restrictive than that applied to light planes flown privately. Yet a good pilot will do more than the minimum anyway.

things like
When did you get your lisence - how many hours / days / weeks / months / years have you been flying? flying this plane?

What ratings do you have and what do those ratings mean?

How often and when last did you fly this terrain? weather? plane?

What was your experience last time you flew this terrain? weather? plane?

What is the expected weather on the flight path? (if the pilot can't answer this one in great detail then you don't need to know much more)

When was your plane last inspected? overhauled? engine? aeordynamics? controls? instruments?

What types of instruments does your plane have? What does that little meter there tell you? And that one? What will happen if I grab this and twist? How about that?

What sort of survival kit / equipment is on-board? where is it? how does it deploy?

With a private pilot you should be able to ask these sorts of questions with some enthusiasm and curiosity and get them to expand on their ego at length. If they seem confused or hesitant in their answers then they may be poorly trained or unfamiliar with the controls of the specific plane. (that would be bad)

If you have the time over a pre-flight coffee to shoot the sh*t then you might ask them to tell flight stories - What was your worst flight? What did you do to get through safely? Ever had an off-airport landing? What was your first flight like? What was it like in flight school? What goes into a flight plan that will clear the control tower so you can take off? Do different airports have different requirements? Do you have to get certified in each state you fly over?

For me it is about getting to a point where I trust the pilot and his judgement more than it is about trying to second-guess him. I don't have the training or the time and money to get the training to be able to validly second-guess a trained pilot and what is safe for one may not be safe at all for another.

I am sure that there are situations where even the best pilot would be attempting the heroic to fly. Knowing how to spot those situations would make a difference - but only in the extreme cases where it is obvious. It seems likely to me that a larger number of accidents are caused by inexperience and incompetence rather than by extreme circumstances.

#18025 - 08/06/03 02:02 AM Re: What is "survival"?

I see nothing wrong with examining the minutia of what makes the best gear. I read all of those posts, but I don't always coment because I'm mostly here to learn from those who have BTDT.

I strongly believe in following your gut instincts. Most of the time they are probably based on observation of the present situation plus a quick calculation based on your previous experiences. Sometimes they are just gut feelings. I trust my gut. I would also certainly consider cancelling my plans if I had a vivid dream about an upcoming disaster. Who says you have to do everything you plan according to a pre-determined schedule? My family has long believed in listening to the whispers of life, whether from God, or nature.

Survival requires good judgement, having suitable experience for the possible risks (less experience = low risk adventures), education, good gear, and physical competence. The JFK Jr. scenario lacked good judgement, had barely adequate education, not enough experience, great gear, and a physical impairment. That adds up to staying home until you can fly in clearer daylight skies.

Just my 2 cents. Glad to be back after my own personal survival times - no great adventure - just life throwing me some curveballs. Best regards, Keys <img src="images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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