Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

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enbt
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Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by enbt » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:08 pm

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british- ... -1.5044938

It’s been a long time coming, so not a total surprise. Still, I don’t see how life jackets would have helped in the Lyall Harbour example they use in the article, or the many other cases where passengers are trapped inside and drown. Wearing a life jacket isn’t going to help with that.

I predict folks will panic and inflate while still inside and make the situation worse.

Focus should me on making egress easier IMO. Door handles, pop out windows etc. Heck, an oxygen canister in every seat pocket would give people more time to get past the panic stage and get out.

Interested to hear others thoughts on this.
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47north
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by 47north » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:12 pm

So on a Cessna or Beaver you will have to wear them. On an Otter or Twin Otter no.

Not sure if that makes sense.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by PilotDAR » Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:17 pm

Lifejackets, proper use of three or more point harnesses, and a good briefing on how the door operates, with the passenger practicing. I'm in favour. A life jacket made the life or death difference for me.

If passengers inflate the lifejacket in the cabin, or fail to use their seatbelt, or forget how to operate the door, what can you do. Anyone can misuse safety equipment. The duty is to provide and instruct it, not babysit it.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by JasonE » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:51 pm

I'm in favour. I always wear a life jacket in a boat.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by BGH » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:46 pm

Always have worn life jackets & so have my passengers in my 185,you don’t have to wear them if you don’t want to - but you won’t be getting in my plane.
Full briefing on doors,windows ,seat belts & life jackets prior to entry for every flight.

Daryl
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by C.W.E. » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:34 pm

I also am in support of wearing life vests, mine are top quality inflatable and are not uncomfortable to wear.
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PeterReid
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by PeterReid » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:00 am

Here's the publication for those interested.
http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/ ... 9-eng.html
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by HiFlyChick » Thu Mar 07, 2019 7:36 am

PeterReid wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:00 am
Here's the publication for those interested.
http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/ ... 9-eng.html
It is weird that they cite that example of people drowning in the aircraft - if you can't get out of the aircraft, it pretty much doesn't matter whether you're wearing a lifejacket or not.

In reading the feedback from the industry, I also found it interesting that those in favour of egress training included two companies that do that sort of training. Not exactly unbiased comment....
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by Daniel Cooper » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:30 am

How is Kirsten Stevens doing these days? Does anyone stay in contact with her?
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by TheRealMcCoy » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:42 am

Pros and cons to both sides of the argument. If used correctly I would be of the opinion that it's a good decision. But unfortunately I believe that predominantly people will panic and inflate the jacket inside, which as stated if one person in the back does it it can kill everyone else.

The bigger issue I believe is the egress, especially in todays society of obese human beings.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by Maynard » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:01 am

47north wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:12 pm
So on a Cessna or Beaver you will have to wear them. On an Otter or Twin Otter no.

Not sure if that makes sense.
Otter would also require them, 9 pax.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by 47north » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:05 am

Maynard wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:01 am
47north wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 2:12 pm
So on a Cessna or Beaver you will have to wear them. On an Otter or Twin Otter no.

Not sure if that makes sense.
Otter would also require them, 9 pax.
Harbour Air’s turbine Otters hold up to 14 passengers. Not sure about other operators.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by PilotDAR » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:57 am

So on a Cessna or Beaver you will have to wear them. On an Otter or Twin Otter no.

Not sure if that makes sense.
I opine that TC has the statistics, I imagine that there have bee a lot more Beaver and smaller floatplanes upside down in the water, than larger than Beaver. And, the larger planes tend to have an aisle, which probably increases exit opportunity.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by TWSC » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:42 pm

The mandatory egress training makes a lot of sense but the prior wearing of lifejackets makes absolutely no difference in whether you're gonna get out of the aircraft or not. Seems like a poorly thought out solution to me
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by valleyboy » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:11 pm

I find this a little ironic. I guess I will need to read the the gazette but nothing is perfect. I am going through the same thing in a jet boat. I always wore a vest while doing white water and rapids but I have since put a compression seat and harness along with a roll cage and it forces me to rethink the PFD I'm going to use. It has the same issues as an aircraft since if you are under the boat you certainly don't want positive buoyancy until clear. The life vests passed out by airlines are not built for that kind of use. A manual inflating type like a mustang is about $300 a pop and mighty prone to theft. I would like to hear solutions and if anyone has a good suggestion for a vest or do I add a new manual mustang to my inventory. Less productivity with new FTD coming and short trips will have longer briefing than actual flight time, all adding to your duty day.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by PilotDAR » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:56 pm

The mandatory egress training makes a lot of sense but the prior wearing of lifejackets makes absolutely no difference in whether you're gonna get out of the aircraft or not. Seems like a poorly thought out solution to me
I did not use my egress training, it was not needed, I was ejected through the windshield. I am a surviving expert to tell you that when you're injured, and loosing consciousness, having a lifejacket on, and only having to inflate it is life or death. It is very unlikely that you will take a packaged lifejacket with you when you leave the cabin underwater. Taking the egress training will teach you that - it did for me.
Less productivity with new FTD coming and short trips will have longer briefing than actual flight time, all adding to your duty day.
It'll immediately be worth it if one of those passengers must use the lifejacket after a splash.

Buy the manual Mustang or EAM, if you can afford the marine vehicle, you can afford the quality inflatable life jacket. For a rough ride boat, the proper thing would be a whitewater rafting PFD combined with a helmet.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by RatherBeFlying » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:15 pm

The accident Beaver was equipped with emergency exits by the military that the operator was forced to remove by Transport Canada.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by co-joe » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:44 pm

I find this stupid. 11 people now in total have died in the 206 because they couldn't get out of the airframe while inverted and submerged. We have to look like we're doing something...ok everyone has to wear life jackets now. WTF? Now we'll have dead people wearing life jackets in inverted submerged 206's.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by TWSC » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:23 pm

PilotDAR wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:56 pm
The mandatory egress training makes a lot of sense but the prior wearing of lifejackets makes absolutely no difference in whether you're gonna get out of the aircraft or not. Seems like a poorly thought out solution to me
I did not use my egress training, it was not needed, I was ejected through the windshield. I am a surviving expert to tell you that when you're injured, and loosing consciousness, having a lifejacket on, and only having to inflate it is life or death. It is very unlikely that you will take a packaged lifejacket with you when you leave the cabin underwater. Taking the egress training will teach you that - it did for me.
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Last edited by TWSC on Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by TWSC » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:26 pm

PilotDAR wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:56 pm
The mandatory egress training makes a lot of sense but the prior wearing of lifejackets makes absolutely no difference in whether you're gonna get out of the aircraft or not. Seems like a poorly thought out solution to me
I did not use my egress training, it was not needed, I was ejected through the windshield. I am a surviving expert to tell you that when you're injured, and loosing consciousness, having a lifejacket on, and only having to inflate it is life or death. It is very unlikely that you will take a packaged lifejacket with you when you leave the cabin underwater. Taking the egress training will teach you that - it did for me.
Less productivity with new FTD coming and short trips will have longer briefing than actual flight time, all adding to your duty day.
It'll immediately be worth it if one of those passengers must use the lifejacket after a splash.

Buy the manual Mustang or EAM, if you can afford the marine vehicle, you can afford the quality inflatable life jacket. For a rough ride boat, the proper thing would be a whitewater rafting PFD combined with a helmet.
What about in a situation where you're not ejected out of the aircraft and you have to get yourself out? Then it's not a situation where you can just pull the inflate cord. I totally agree in the ejection situation it is life and death but only once you're out. I can def see a majority of people not taking the packaged one so this would fix that problem, but I feel like at the same time it makes an egress inherently more risky because of premature inflation.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by PilotDAR » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:03 am

Sure, a person can impede their exit (and risk other people too) by prematurely inflating their lifejacket, or not opening their seatbelt, or a number of other foolish errors. And, yes, some people will. But we have to give everyone the opportunity (equipment) and basic training to help themselves. For those who have not taken egress training, there is a training element where you attempt to swim and exit with an inflated lifejacket - it's really difficult!

I remember coming to, hanging on to a sinking plane, unware or where the other pilot was, and calling out for him, as I planned to help him - I couldn't even help myself, it was all I could do to blow up my lifejacket by mouth, because my shoulder was too badly broken to enable me to pull the cord, and my other arm was busy holding on to the plane. I don't remember much after that.

So consider that you're the pilot, you're sharp, you were wearing your uninflated lifejacket, and you got yourself out, 'cause you've done the egress training. You're a little injured, and you're really cold now. You had three pax, where are they? Better hurry to find them. You find the first one floating nearby, but they are not responding to you. They are also wearing their lifejacket ('cause it's a requirement). You can swim to them, and you can inflate their lifejacket. Now, even if they can't take care of themself, they are floating safely, and findable later, while you help the others. How would you feel if you simply could not keep all three of your injured pax afloat for lack of their wearing lifejackets, and someone drowned?
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by enbt » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:26 am

In a floatplane accident, you are statistically much, much more likely to be trapped upside down in a cabin full of water than you are to be ejected. No doubt that in the rare ejection situation having the jacket already on is going to help. My issue is that they are using the many examples of people being trapped and drowning to justify the use of constant wear lifejackets, which doesn't make sense to me. It's a political move to make it look like something is being done, and which most people will accept at face value without a second thought.

I agree that everyone can and should give a good briefing, demo the proper use of exits, belts etc, and tell them not to inflate a constant wear jacket inside. But I feel we will be tempting people to use it improperly by giving them a piece of safety equipment (life jacket) for use in an emergency situation (like being upside down in the water), and then expecting them to have the presence of mind to delay using it until they are out. That is a lot to expect of someone who has rarely/never flown in a floatplane. I'm not aware of a situation yet where a plane full of people has gone over with everyone wearing a jacket, but I can already picture the outcome.
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Last edited by enbt on Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by enbt » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:41 pm

DAR, I appreciate your perspective as someone who has been through a real life situation. I don't know the specifics of your incident, but I am interested to know how you came to be ejected. Did a seat belt fail, or was the event just that violent? I presume the ejection path would be forward? On most floatplanes that would take you through the path of the prop, which may or may not still be spinning at that point. Most floatplane upsets I know of happen at fairly low speed and the impact is very much survivable - it's the getting out part that is the hard.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by PilotDAR » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:49 pm

My ejection was immensely violent, by the time I left the plane, the nose was no longer attached. My seat belt was ripped out of the plane with me wearing it.

Graduates of an egress course know that it's very unlikely that anything will leave the plane in your possession, unless you're wearing it before you leave. That counts for a violent ejection, or a slow rollover. You think you can find the lifejacket pouch, and take it - no you can't.

I was stunned at how disorienting an inverted cabin can be, let along under dark cold water. My first lesson in this was decades ago, when I had to swim into an inverted 185 at the dock to assist in righting it, I was amazed at how difficult it was to orient myself in the cabin, and I entered entirely on my own time, through a door I opened. Whe more pilots take the egress training, and begin to present their observations, the theme will shift to an understanding that wearing the lifejacket, and using it as intended is the most safe thing to do.
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Re: Mandatory life jacket wearing coming for most seaplanes

Post by TailwheelPilot » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:59 pm

I agree that the logic to require life jackets is a little out there. People drown in overturned seaplanes - only 2 of 27 fatalities in overturned seaplanes managed to get out of the cabin, 25 fatalities did not even get out. If they want to improve things they should have gone with improved or additional emergency exits - but that would cost a boatload of money for most types (if not each airframe).

I did an egress course a number of years ago. A few people, being reminded to grab the life jacket immediately before getting wet, brought it out with them but no one consistently grabbed the life jacket. That was in a clear, warm pool. Now that I have a constant wear life jacket I wear it whenever flying a seaplane with a four-point harness. I could see it perhaps being a little uncomfortable with a shoulder strap, although that is another issue. Where I got my float rating I had to wear the 'pouch attached to the waist'-style life jacket. A tiny bit in the way at times, but not a big issue and very quick to put on and off. Other than the logic, the only thing that I do not understand about this is why private seaplanes are exempt (and personally I would include all commercial seaplanes for consistency).

The theory of pilots doing egress training to help save the 25 fatalities that did not exit the overturned seaplane is at least flawed in some circumstances, like mine. I am not a strong swimmer, part of why I already wear a life jacket when flying floats. My mother was a lifeguard and I have heard from her and others how dangerous it can be being within arm's reach of someone panicking in the water. For my immediately family, sure I would risk my life to help them. For a stranger right after a traumatic event in cold water? Probably not.

At best I could help open doors, but on many seaplanes (ie piston Cessnas) if the doors are latched from the inside they cannot be opened from the outside. If they want float pilots to save people they should require training to life guard standards, if not higher since life guards typically do not rescue people from confined spaces. And since we generally operate from cold water, requiring wet (or dry) suits would also help. And SCUBA gear.

TC requiring jettisonable doors to be removed from Beavers in the past makes this all sound like hypocrisy. They should have been promoting their installation. I have flown a type with jettisonable crew doors (single pilot, so a passenger beside one door) that would fall off with the pull of a lever. That operator had had four or five come off over 20 years. All, except maybe one, happened because the door had not been latched and heavy braking plus reverse swung the door forward hard to twist out of the hinges - not because the jettison lever was pulled.

Small, portable oxygen cylinders readily accessible in the cabin would probably also make things a little easier, although I have never tried those.
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Last edited by TailwheelPilot on Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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