How to Survive A Helicopter Crash: grab the clip and don’t let go
In Airspace Mag you can learn How to Survive A Helicopter Crash. The simplest way, of course, is never to get inside a helicopter. I once took a trip to an oil rig. After a spot of training, in which you slide down a chute into a deep swimming pool, get tipped upside down and around before punching the release clip on your safety belt and wriggling free, you get to fly.
Yep, exactly, the old hands press the releases clip as soon as trouble looms. And once aboard the helicopter you soon learn that the old hands invite you sit in the middle of the seats rows – furthest from the doors. You then spend an hour or longer with a hand on your own clip, like they do. You know, in case.
James R. Chiles:
At least a quarter-million people have passed through helicopter escape schools worldwide, mostly as part of offshore-oil employment. The degree of realism (and stress level) varies from school to school, as does the equipment. Why the focus on rotorcraft? Helicopters fly lower and slower than airliners, so when they hit the water, their cabins are usually intact enough to trap people inside. And because the heavy machinery (engines, transmission, and main rotor) is up high, helicopters tend to roll over quickly.
Over five decades, dozens of military and oil field transports have crashed in the water with passengers, and of the deaths that resulted, drowning has been a common cause. In one eight-year span, two big transport helicopters crashed into English waters, killing 74.
Being prepared is not enough.