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#267532 - 02/19/14 11:46 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
A handheld strobe light might be the best signaling light. They can be found at Marine stores.
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#267556 - 02/20/14 06:55 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4915
Loc: SOCAL
Something that comes to mind when determining requirements. Are they really requirements or nice-to-haves? Be honest, this is no time for personal bias.

In the case of an aviation PFD, the first (#1) requirement is that the PFD does not interfere with egress from the aircraft. Only after #1 has been satisfied do any of the other requirements matter, even buoyancy is second to egress.

This is the reason I went to a purpose built aviation survival vest. The folks that make these vests for a living have been through this design process and in general make a pretty good product.

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#267558 - 02/20/14 07:59 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Russ]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1111
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: Russ
Something that comes to mind when determining requirements. Are they really requirements or nice-to-haves? Be honest, this is no time for personal bias.

In the case of an aviation PFD, the first (#1) requirement is that the PFD does not interfere with egress from the aircraft. Only after #1 has been satisfied do any of the other requirements matter, even buoyancy is second to egress.

This is the reason I went to a purpose built aviation survival vest. The folks that make these vests for a living have been through this design process and in general make a pretty good product.
Very good points Russ.

I would be very leary of putting too many straps, pockets, D-rings, buckles, knives, etc on the vest. Unless cleverly designed to avoid snagging, those things are just asking to catch on something when you are trying to get out. All the survival gear in those pockets won't do you a bit of good if you drown because you get hung up trying to exit the cockpit.

The optimal life vest is very specific to the activity one plans. What is ideal for white water rafting might not be so good for sailing. What works well for sailing might be a very bad choice for flying.

Even purpose built aviation vests might not be good for all aircraft. What works well for a military pilot who is going to blow the canopy and eject might be a poor choice for someone trying to squeeze out of a Super Cub.
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#267574 - 02/20/14 11:19 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: wildman800]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
I was planning on a firefly, sir.

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#267578 - 02/20/14 11:28 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Russ]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
I eliminated the nice to haves and concentrated on survival, in the water and on land. Being Alaska I want to be able to do the normal survival tasks and defend myself from dangerous animals and to hunt food. I might take less food, and the hydration system could be left empty to reduce bulk. I like the way you think Russ. Keep the ideas coming.

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#267579 - 02/20/14 11:33 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: AKSAR]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
True AKSAR. But juggling vests would take up space and weight on a small plane. When on my friends boat we had a huge anount of ditch gear, but we had the space and the weight was of no concern. I also intend to use the same PFDon boats while I'm there if that fact helps anyone?

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#267584 - 02/21/14 02:31 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
Originally Posted By: Deathwind
I'm also beginning to rethinkthe whole bush plane idea.


Although Bush Flying is more dangerous than an airliner, we all do more dangerous things all the time. This danger can also be mitigated to a large degree by insuring that you let the pilot know that you are willing to wait if conditions are not right. If he seems tentative, tell him you will wait.

I have been flying in the bush, both as a pilot and as a passenger, for over 45 years. I have convinced the pilot to turn back several times, and not to try lots more. The only pilot I have had real trouble with was me.

If you want a system to do it all, wear the survival vest under an inflatable. The military did it that way for years. Good Approved inflatable's are readily available at the local marine shop. Just bring your survival vest to try it on. A good trial in the pool is a great idea as well. Then if you are uncomfortable with the inflatable on a boat and want to use a regular PFD for the water, you can. Most boats have enough you can use one of theirs and not need to carry one.

I agree with AKSAR, put on it only what you really need. You probably don't need a big survival knife and a large pistol. The chance of needing to defend yourself from bears is low in general and very low if you are in a fixed place, which you should be trying to be found. The biggest problem is surprising one of them which should not happen if you are around a fire trying to stay warm and being seen.

Do you really need to hunt for food? If you have a PLB and just a little extra body mass, you don't need to eat for a week or more (in my case LOTS more). Lots of time to get picked up.

Stay warm, stay hydrated and be seen. These are the only likely requirements for rescue. A Ritter PSK and the additions he recommends with proper clothing will keep you alive till help comes, even in Alaska (I know).

Respectfully,

Jerry

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#267586 - 02/21/14 03:04 AM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1111
Loc: Alaska
Choosing the right combination of survival gear is always a matter of compromises. If you emphasize one aspect, something else will be less optimal. You haven't said a lot about what sort of boating, flying, and other activities you plan to do in Alaska, so the following discussion will but somewhat generic, but I will give you my thoughts.

I think bush flying is one of the most dangerous things one can do up here. If you are in a plane crash in water, the absolute first priority is to get out of the aircraft FAST! The average person under stress can only hold their breath about 30 seconds. Even if you crash on land, you still want to get out fast because it might burn. A few seconds could easily be the difference between living and dying. If you don't get out and the plane sinks or burns, nothing else matters.

Boating can also be dangerous in Alaska. The water is very cold. The "1-10-1" rule definatly applies in Alaska. If you go in the water without a PFD, you will die (by drowning) in roughly 10 minutes. With a PFD you will have at least an hour (probably a good deal more) before hypothermia kills you. Exiting the boat is usually not a problem. In fact, in most cases you are better staying with the boat as long as possible.

I would not try to combine my survival vest and my floatation. Put your survival gear in whatever ordinary vest suits you. Buy a good manual inflatable PFD, something like the Mustang 3085 or similar. You can attach a small strobe to the Mustang under the outer cover where it is out of the way and won't snag if you need to exit in a hurry. When you get on a plane, put a good folding knife and fire kit in your pants pockets. Put the Mustang on. Put the survival vest somewhere handy, but don't wear it. If you crash, get out fast! Many small bush planes are not that easy to get in and out of even under normal conditions. You don't want anyting that will snag or impede your exit. If the plane burns or sinks, you are alive, and have an excellent chance of surviving long enough to be rescued, even without any gear. If it doesn't burn or sink, you can retreive your gear and survive in style.

For boating, go ahead and wear the survival vest, with the PFD over it. (You don't want to inflate a PFD under a vest!) For hiking or other on land activities, where you don't need floatation, you can just wear the vest.

Those are my views. As always, your choices may differ.

EDIT: I see Jerry and I are thinking along similar lines.
ANOTHER EDIT: Jerry's comments about delaying your flight are spot on. Also, I forgot to mention carrying a PLB in your pocket.


Edited by AKSAR (02/21/14 03:11 AM)
_________________________
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#267618 - 02/22/14 06:07 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: JerryFountain]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
While you raise many valid points, I must respectfully disagree with a few of them
A large knife is better for building shelters. Though most work around camp and basic survival needs would be performed with a sheath knife or a heavy folder.
Bears are not the fuzzy and lovable creatures of cartoons and children's movies. There are a number of accounts of them coming into camps, with fires, and attacking and dragging people off for dinner. Also there are moose and wolves to consider, Hence the large pistol. Plus I would feel much better armed so there is the peace of mind factor to consider.
As for food I do need to carry some. Humans perform better with fuel in them. I do a lot of power training and my occupation isn
t condusive to a regular eating schedule, so my body fat is dangerously low.
While a PLB would be nice, and I intend to get one when I cab afford one, there are simply times when one cannot stay with the plane. And I've seen several reports/complaints where they did not work or no help came.
Shouldn't the pilot or plane have one as standard gear?
I'd be more wore concerned that the emergency air supply would get caught on a doorway, seatbelt or debris than the knife or gun which would be on the sides, under my arms.

I was not aware that PFD's had been worn outside of survival vests. As always I value your opinion and advice and I thank you for them.

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#267619 - 02/22/14 06:24 PM Re: Looking For A Special PFD [Re: Deathwind]
Deathwind Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/01/14
Posts: 310
Very good information AKSAR. One of the others who responded to this thread supplied a link to a vest meant to be worn over an inflatable. Egress could be a problem due to my size. I had intended on a full pack system among my gear, for backpacking but had assumed it would be lost if the plane went down. I'm a pessimist, not an optimist. I've learned not to count on others to be properly equipped so I don't expect the pilot to have survival gear. I only know of one here that carries a kit. And he put it in his plane over a decade ago. I'm not sure what boat my friend plans on using, I know it would involve fishing. And we had planned on a few sight seeing boat trips, where an armed vest would NOT be a good idea for public wear. Maybe I'll pass on Alaska and just go to the islands rather than flying there to meet them. Thanks for the advice.

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