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Floatplane Operators Association - 2012 June 27

Dunk You Egress Training

by Bruce Macdonald www.floatplaneoperators.org

The FOA has made some great progress within its short time of existence. Efforts to create a culture of Safety within Aviation, has lead this Association to seek out solutions to any and all short comings within ‘The industry’. A wanting for answers and an effort to make a real change in this industry has made the Association (since conception) a group that has ‘reached- out’ and solicited input and expertise from the People who fly the planes, operate, promote and implement Safety methods, maintain the aircraft or just show an interest and desire in cultivating a Safer environment for the flying community and the Public; as a whole.

Since the FOA has recruited a membership of Operators and Stake-holders from all those concerned with improving the Safety aspect of flight, the idea was put forward, that not only should the FOA Membership be privy to the strides we are making toward this as mentioned goal but the readership and therefore, the public should be allowed to participate in this forum as well. Reading, learning and Participating with the ‘goings-on’ of the FOA through this, the first of hopefully many insightful blogs is our way of saying,” If there is something we can learn from this dialogue; we are listening. If there is something you can take away from this dialogue; then you know that we can and are on the right path in Cultivating that-Culture of Safety”.

As this is the first of the FOA’s contributions to this blog, we hope that those reading this bio on Bryan Webster’s egress training company- Aviation Egress Systems, will provide you the reader, with an insightful and informative read into one of the more important aspects of the FOA’s strides; Improving Safety through ‘Best Practices’.

FOA: What got you interested in this line of work?

Bryan: As a ditching survivor myself and after numerous local fatalities with aircraft involved in water incidents over the years, I decided to design a program which could train air crews and passengers how to handle a ditching. My original plan was to make this training safe and available at numerous communities all over Canada for an affordable rate, and now with servicing 52 locations I feel AES has achieved that goal.

FOA: I see a lot of our members as well as other operators getting this type of training. As someone like yourself who is providing this training, are there any trends with egress training that you may see coming up in the future?

Bryan: We train everyone from Police forces to Government agencies such as Coast Guard employees who fly as passengers in helicopters off large ship decks, plus airlines and private aviators including their families. Most float operators for example send their pilots back to us on a three year rotation to remain well versed in Egress Procedures. We also have contracts with Law Enforcement Helicopter crews annually as far away as Ontario, who are adamant this is the best way to keep their members safe while on night flights out over the Great Lakes. Transport Canada has indicated they will make Egress Training mandatory for all commercial float operators in the future, thus we are presently organizing numerous permanent satellite locations around Canada to better service our cliental.

FOA: It must be very satisfying in knowing that your program could dramatically make a difference in saving lives. Do you have any statistics to show how much of a difference this type of training has made in the saving of lives?

Bryan: The facts are simple, colder the water temperature higher the mortality rate as individuals with Egress Training immediately return to our in pool procedures during the event of an actual aircraft submersion. This is where time is extremely limited and greatly enhances survival over the untrained person whose first reaction is denial and then follows with disorientation. AES is accredited with saving numerous lives from our past trained individuals list who have actually ditched aircraft since our conception in 1998. This includes a life raft incident here on the BC coast where one of our life raft trainers assisted and was able to haul out a large individual from the water at winter temperatures, who was near drowning after falling out of her boat at anchor.

FOA: If you had a wish list for improving on safety in aviation in particular with egress knowledge and training; what would that be?

Bryan: First off , good quality seat belts with well-designed double strap shoulder harnesses save lives by avoiding head injuries and possible incapacitation during the high G force impact rapid deceleration phase of any ditching. I truly believe all commercial float operators across Canada should be Egress Trained at least every three years to be proficient in this area, not only for their benefit but to assist their untrained passengers.

FOA: A majority of people trained would be the crews themselves. Are there any plans/ incentives or ideas on how to get the traveling public on board with this type of training?

Bryan: We are working with insurance companies at present to offer discounts for aircraft owners who have taken Egress Training and expect this to be available in the near future. The traveling public has now been well educated as to the merits of this training by referring to the recent high profile media attention on aircraft safety and they are contacting AES at a higher rate than ever before.

FOA: It is agreed that there can be no cost too great if it involves the saving of lives. What are the costs for this type of training? Is the time required to take egress training very time consuming?

Bryan: We have maintained our AES policy with an affordable one day course, here in Victoria BC where we are based a rate of $295.00 per student plus applicable taxes and $385.00 per student plus taxes in most Canadian communities with a reasonable distance of air travel support.

FOA: What is it that makes it so hard for someone to get out of an aircraft underwater/inverted? How do you address these challenges with the training you provide?

Bryan: Most individual are completely disoriented once inverted as their normal reaction is to immediately release their seat belts which causes the problem, then panic sets in and Egressing becomes a challenge. Our program demonstrates a four part series which when followed and understood keeps the individual calm and able to identify the exit prior to releasing the seat belts and greatly increasing their survival rate.

FOA: Do you see this training as being regulated in the near future?

Bryan: Yes as mentioned earlier Transport Canada has indicated this training is now being seriously considered for mandate to commercial floatplane operations partially due to the AES pioneering spirit of hard work and dedication for nearly 14 years.

FOA: As a member of the Floatplane Operators Association, you are in touch with a great deal of people actively involved in the industry you are providing a service for. Are there benefits from being involved with this Association you would otherwise not be privy to otherwise? Does being a member give you an advantage in this industry by being involved with the very people you are providing a service to?

Bryan: I have been active in aviation since 1978 and have flown for and met a great number of operators and pilots who are personal friends and acquaintances from every corner of Canada. As well I am a B C Floatplane Association member plus a BC and Yukon COPA director dealing with situations involving pilots and policies on a regular basis. In 2007 I received the Transport Canada Safety Award for an exceptional contribution to the promotion of Canadian aviation Safety. Being a member of these associations puts me in touch with people of the industry and gives recognition plus respect toward my passion and drive to take Egress Training to the next level.

As we have been in business for over 14 years and travelled from Inuvik to Quebec and everywhere in between the only way I can see to be better connected would to be employed by Transport Canada and offer a similar program on my days off.

Aviation Egress Systems

Victoria, BC, Canada
Phone: (250) 704-6401
Toll Free: 1-877-463-4824 (GO-DITCH)
Booking Hotline: (250) 704-6403
eMail: info@dunkyou.com

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