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#267388 - 02/15/14 04:41 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5329
Loc: SOCAL
I don't know of any PFD's with internal pockets.

Every PFD certified for aircraft use of which I'm aware is an inflatable. Non-inflatables are much more bulky which makes them impractical for use in a good aircraft and since they are immediately buoyant when in the water, they are potentially deadly after the water landing, especially for a weak swimmer.

Learn to swim.

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#267389 - 02/15/14 05:23 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
I did not know that. How are they potentially deadly? I can swim, just not well. That's why I want a PFD. And I spend a lot of time in the pool. We spent a summer on a friends boat and had Cabellas PFDs with extra gear in our abandon ship gear, but they would be inadequate for Alaska.

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#267394 - 02/15/14 02:16 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5329
Loc: SOCAL
With a non-inflatable you would become buoyant inside the aircraft which could make it very difficult to move. Is your escape path totally dry just like it was before take-off? Probably not -- the aircraft interior may have a totally new configuration. The way out may be down.

Swimming well in the context of aircraft survival means being able to swim underwater, open a door/hatch that is under water and then go through that hatch. Doing that with an inflated PFD or non-inflatable PFD is not a good plan.

Finding a way out is your primary concern, once clear of the aircraft you inflate.

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#267397 - 02/15/14 07:59 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Russ]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1174
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Russ
With a non-inflatable you would become buoyant inside the aircraft which could make it very difficult to move. ..... Swimming well in the context of aircraft survival means being able to swim underwater, open a door/hatch that is under water and then go through that hatch. Doing that with an inflated PFD or non-inflatable PFD is not a good plan.

Finding a way out is your primary concern, once clear of the aircraft you inflate.
All true, except for one point. I've been to "dunker training" a couple of times and one point they always make very strongly is that if you find yourself swimming freely inside the aircraft you are probably going to die. Escape from a ditched aircraft is not really something one can cover in a short post, but rather requires practice. However, the sequence, at least as I was taught, goes something like this:

1. As soon as you board the aircraft, before takeoff, look around and plan your exit route. Pick a reference point you can grab firmly (see below). Locate the nearest way out, and memorize how to open it. Plan how to get there from your seat.
2. Keep your harness or seat belt fastened snugly.
3. If you have any warning before the aircraft ditches, try to assume a protective position. Try ot protect your head, face, and limbs.
4. After ditching, the aircraft will probably end up in some unusual orientation (see below). Before the cabin fills with water, take a deep breath. Visibility may be reduced, or it may be totally dark. Don't expect to be able to see anything. If you are lucky, some aircraft may float upright for awhile, but don't assume they will.
5. After the aircraft hits the water, do not immediately unbuckle your seat belt, but wait a couple of seconds for the aircraft to stabilize. (Helicopters usually roll over upside down, because the weight of the engine is up on top. Single engine fixed wings often turn nose down, because the weight of the engine is in front.)
6. Grab your fixed reference point before unbuckling your seat belt!
7. Once you have a firm grip on your fixed reference point, then unbuckle your belt, and make your way hand over hand to the exit. Always have a firm grip on something until you are completely outside the aircraft.
8. Once completely clear of the aircraft, you can inflate your PFD.

The last time I did dunker training they made us do it wearing a regular Type III PFD, just to make it more challenging. The same type PFD one might wear kayaking or water skiing, about 16 lbs floatation. The buoyancy did make it harder inside the aircraft mock up. However, using the hand over hand technique, one could still successfully make an exit. A good confidence booster.

EDIT: Check out this video. Listen to the Marine's comments. He was lucky in that he found a reference point before he ran out of air!


Edited by AKSAR (02/15/14 08:49 PM)
Edit Reason: link to video
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#267405 - 02/16/14 12:10 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: AKSAR]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5329
Loc: SOCAL
Yep, that's pretty much it. You need to ensure you do not become disoriented in the turbulence following a ditching and practicing the required skills in a pool mock-up is highly recommended; teaching aircraft survival on a web forum is not the optimum format.

Last time I recertified one of the things I had to demonstrate was moving hand-over-hand down a pole underwater to a hatch, open the hatch and swim through. The helmet I wore doing this was buoyant and as long as I had a good hand-hold I could stay down, but as soon as I went through the hatch there was no hand-hold and the helmet pulled me straight to the surface. That was just a helmet, swimming underwater with a Type III PFD would be a challenge and following a real ditching you want to keep challenges to a minimum.

As to the question of picking a non-inflatable due to a fear of damage to an inflatable model, the Switlik model I have is fairly resilient with a nylon cover and the LPU-32 outer casing is Nomex. It would take a lot to seriously damage them, that would be far down my list of concerns. Successful egress following the ditching is #1.

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#267406 - 02/16/14 03:56 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Fyrediver Offline
Newbie

Registered: 09/08/10
Posts: 46
Something to consider is having the "survival vest" and pfd being separate entities. May not be perfect but it may meet your needs.

The Northwater guide vest is a mesh vest worn over the pfd. Not sure if an inflatable would work with it though. It's probably too tight.

http://www.northwater.com/html/products/sea_kayak/SKsubdirectory/Guide-Vest.html

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#267481 - 02/19/14 05:13 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
Great info from all of you. Thanks. I had considered a survival vest over a PFD. My thoughts were along a Mesh MOLLE vest like in the movie Commando. But haven't seen one of those in ages I like this guide vest and assume I could sew more pockets on it,. And the Switlik is promising. I was taught that when submerged to follow the bubbles since they have to go up.

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#267482 - 02/19/14 05:17 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5329
Loc: SOCAL
Don't assume you'll be able to see the bubbles and even if you can, you may need to go down.

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#267483 - 02/19/14 05:23 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
Thanks for the vid link. Really opened my eyes and has me rethinking my egress from a plane or boat after a crash or other emergency.

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#267518 - 02/19/14 09:39 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
I have absolutely no plans on flying at night. But now that you've mentioned that you have me thinking of some floating light on a tether. Maybe one of the smaller, much brighter light sticks? It would supply light and indicate up. I'm also beginning to rethinkthe whole bush plane idea.

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