Floatplane Safety for Passengers

Upside down floatplane

Any licensed pilot will tell you it takes a great amount of time and dedication to complete both the ground school and flight testing, which enables them to be the captain. From the time a person decides to take flight training through completion, there is a barrage of studying, testing and hurdles hoping to prove the individual is capable and competent to hold a pilot's license.

Once this phase has passed, many continue for years without re- visiting the POH (Pilots Operating Handbook). To refresh their memory on how to handle engine failures and other unscheduled conditions that may arise in flight, why not put the person at the controls to the test? On occasion, pull out the aircraft manual stuck way in the back of the glove box, and quiz your captain on emergencies and critical speeds, such as engine out descent rates which should be committed to memory. (If this upsets them more, the reason to continue).

Remember one thing about flying any aircraft you are suspended by thin air at great speeds without any brakes and, before long, guaranteed to be returning to mother-earth. This being said why is it so important frequent flyers of the aviators club be informed of what exactly to think about when going flying?


Because you are directly involved in all events which take place on any particular flight.

Unfortunately, even with high standards in flight training and maintenance, there are still many variables that contribute to damaged aircraft and injuries all over the world on a daily basis.

So what can you do as a passenger to aid in the safe uneventful return of each flight as you have?

Firstly, be a part of the flight crew from the point of helping organize the equipment for any flight and to keeping the captain honest in their duties by the occasional quiz. When planning a trip into far-off lands, be sure there is a lighter on board and emergency equipment, including bug spray in the summer for the unlikely event you find out the battery is dead late in the day at that wonderful remote lake you have just discovered.

Never ever wear anything that gives buoyancy in flight, such as a boater-style life jacket or floater coat. This is especially important for children! Simple logic for this is if an aircraft does end up inverted in water for any reason, it will be near impossible for the individual pinned to the ceiling to evacuate and equally difficult to aid in their Egress. As for life vests, next time you are over open water, think about where yours is, and know how to inflate it should your life depend on that knowledge.

Next time you are entering any aircraft:

  • Look around at things such as door handles and exits, touch them, feel them, and know how they work.
  • Shoulder harnesses in the front seats were designed and tested for forward impacts, wear them at all times without any exceptions.
  • When you wrap the seat belts around your waist and buckle them together, be aware of how they buckle up and be sure they are facing forward.
  • Get information on the brace for impact position, which in simple terms, means cross your arms and grasp the shoulder harness at chest level.

The last suggestion I have for you is, before long, to enroll yourself and your fellow flyers in Aviation Egress Training. My personal experience in warm pool Egress Training with over 9000 pilots and passengers is that none did well on the first few tries in our simulation equipment.

Close Encounter of the Watery Kind
Aircraft crashed into ice
Winter Flying Preparation for Float Plane Pilots
Students in pool
An Aviation Egress Student Story
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