After reading about our friends David and Gay being involved in a crash, I figure it's time for this post.
I have been in an aircraft for over 4,000 take offs. That's just in small planes like Cessna Caravans, Twin Otters, 182's, Pilatus Porters, etc. I figure I have been in over 30 different types of airplanes, including airliners and helicopters. I hold a commercial rotorcraft license also and have flown 6 different models of helicopters.
Fortunately I have never been in a crash, but have come close. I was in a Twin Otter that lost an engine at 1,110ft. We landed safely. I have also experienced a sudden zero-G in flight and a hatch flying open on take off.
Here are some tips to help your survival.
1. Dress for the worst! When I travel I always wear sneakers. Flip flops do you no good if you have to crawl over and out of a crash. If it's cool wear long pants and long sleeves.
2. Pay attention. Listen to the safety briefing. Look for the exits. In a small plane plan an escape in case of a forced landing. Look at the door or hatch. Know how it works.
3. Wear your seatbelt, tightly! A loose seatbelt won't do anything for you.
4. Don't fly in crappy weather! If you are flying on a small airplane especially! I was on a flight from Belize to Toronto in a 737. We encountered horrendous weather. It took all of the runway to stop after some skidding. I really don't like to go when it's crummy. Sometimes we don't have a choice as we encounter the weather mid flight. If you have the time, stay put on bad weather days.
5. If you crash, stay calm! I know it's easier said than done. Thinking calmly and clearly may just be the difference between life and death.
6. Save yourself, not your carry on.
7. If the airplane looks a bit suspect, ask! Ask to see an airworthiness certificate. Look at their operating certificate. Ask to see the pilot's credentials. Most aviation worldwide is very regulated for safety, but there are still some "Fly by Night" airlines out there.
8. Keep your parachute under your seat. Well, I always do!!
I'm sure I have forgotten a tip or two. The pilots lurking here can feel free to chime in. Be safe out there you guys.
p.s. I fly Tropic and book all of my jumpers on them. 650+ safe round trips to date.