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Aviation Learning Center Document Winter Flying Tips - P-8740-24
Author: FAA Date: 1996
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Survival
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After a crash landing, it is best to leave the aircraft as soon as possible. Take time to analyze the situation and help others. Take care of any injuries first. Stay away from the aircraft until all gasoline fumes are gone. Sit down and think. Keep in mind that survival is 80 percent mental, 10 percent equipment, and 10 percent skills. Since mental factors are the number one problem, establish a goal to conquer regardless of the consequences. Don't have "give-up-itis" or a "do-nothing attitude." Don't run off without taking time to think out each problem. Don't imagine things that are not there. There are basic fears in each of us. They are:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of darkness
  • Fear of discomfort
  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of animals
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of punishment
  • Fear of personal guilt

Points to remember:

  • Your MIND is the best tool for survival. USE IT!
  • The number one enemy is yourself.
  • The number two enemy is injuries.
  • The number three enemy is temperature.
  • The number four enemy is disease.

Whether to stay with the aircraft or start out on foot may be a major decision. Did you file a flight plan? If you did, it may be best to let them find you. Is your emergency locator transmitter operating? Do you have a survival kit? Don't fight a storm. Stay put and find shelter. Most storms are of short duration. What do you have in the aircraft that can be used to aid in survival? Other tips:

  • The compass will keep you going in one direction.
  • Gasoline will help make a fire.
  • Oil can be used for smoke signals.
  • Seat upholstery may be used to wrap around feet or hands.
  • Wiring may be used for tie strings.
  • The battery may be used to ignite fuel.
  • Use whatever is available to protect the body from the loss of heat; don't waste body heat by eating snow.
  • Make a fire and heat water before drinking.
  • You can conserve energy to last three weeks if you have water and stay dry -- body heat can escape 240 times faster from wet clothing than from dry clothing.
  • It is best to eat small amounts of sugary foods to replace the energy lost through body heat.

A good survival kit is well worth its weight. The following would be a useful kit; however, you can assemble an inexpensive survival kit of your own.

First you need a metal container with a lid. This container can be used to heat water, make tea, use as a digging tool or polished as a signal mirror. In addition, you need:

  • Boy Scout knife.
  • Small candle.
  • Box of matches (wrapped in plastic).
  • Leaf bag (pull over head, cut hole for face).
  • Garbage bag (step in, pull up and tuck in pants or tie around waist). You now have body protection from heat loss.
  • Sugar cubes (wrap in plastic, 6 to 12 cubes).
  • Plastic tape.

The list above is only a sample of what can be done. Use your own innovation and remember that survival depends upon you.

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