CBS 13 Sacramento Cashes In On Seaplane Crash

CBS SacramentoImage: Sacramento Fire Department

CBS Sacramento Cashes In On Seaplane Crash

The opportunity of being featured on the nightly news on CBS 13 Sacramento may just be what motivated the pilot of a crashed seaplane to speak before reporters about his accidental gear down landing and subsequent difficulties with egress from his plane. How authorities and concerned NIMBY’s will deal with the “issue” later, or when any private seaplane pilot seeks to gain access to a body of water, remains to be seen.

Accidental gear down water landings and trouble with egress remain high on the list of issues plaguing the industry. According to the pilots own statement a (self-inflating or prematurely) inflated live-vest contributed greatly to the difficulty in getting out of the plane. Regardless of pilots experience levels, upsets with seaplanes can create great anxiety and panic during egress. Inflated live vests have to be deflated or taken off in order to rescue trapped passengers underneath the water surface, rendering them useless upon egress.

Most pilots who have completed egress training report feeling more confident about how to act upon encountering an incident involving submergence of the cabin. Egress training is not mandated in the United States or Europe for seaplane pilots.

More Information For Pilots

Cold water robs the body’s heat 32 times faster than cold air. Seaplane pilots finding themselves in cold water are well advised to direct all efforts to getting out of the water by the fastest means possible. This can mean climbing on top of non-submerged parts of the plane.

Pilots frequently operating in or over cold water months should be thoroughly skilled in rescue and self-rescue techniques.Various companies and outfits offer egress training to pilots at low prices.

A common misconception is that physical exercise such as swimming or treading water would help the body to lose heat at a slower rate, than if remaining still in the water. But, movement and exercise increases the need of blood in extremities, where it cools much faster. Moving a lot can cause victims to loose consciousness 50% faster.

The biggest challenge to overcome appears to be panic according to pilots who have gone through the ordeal. Remaining calm and organized as well as fully aware of ones surroundings and possible exit-pathways comes just before being able to help confused or shocked passengers out of the cabin.

Self inflating life-vests can prove a deadly trap in a submerged cabin. Depending on the units net buoyancy, people report being forced to “whichever way is up” by their inflated live vest, causing them not to be able to reach for exits or even get back to a zone of the aircraft where exit doesn’t involve cutting open the fuselage.

On some aircraft, lowered flaps can block certain exit doors. Additionally, doors may be incredibly difficult to open due to water-pressure on the fuselage, requiring to break a window to equalize pressures. Throughly briefing passengers on how to open their lap-belt or shoulder harness as well as the location of belt cutting equipment is generally regarded equally important to clear instructions on how to open the doors.