Tips to survive life-or-death situations

August 28, 2012

A pilot and three passengers walk away after crashing into trees, landing inverted on the ground. A pilot and co-pilot ferrying a PA–46T JetProp over water to Brazil suddenly become pilots of a glider after an engine malfunction—they have a 60-nautical-mile glide path, but the nearest land is 148 nm away.

Pilots have accidents every day, and many, thankfully, are able to walk away. Learning how to manage risks, mitigate in-flight emergencies, prepare for an emergency landing, and exit the aircraft safely can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations.

That’s why AOPA is devoting a track of safety seminars at AOPA Aviation Summit to emergency survival and risk management. Popular seminars such as “How to save your life in an aircraft accident,” “What went wrong?” and “The Kings on risk management: Practical tools and essential tips” will be returning. A new feature, “Never Again/Real Pilot Stories,” will allow fellow pilots to share their own stories about mistakes and emergencies in their flying experiences, and learn from one another.

The Fries Technique

What speed do you nail ASAP after an engine out? Most pilots are taught to establish best-glide speed. But Dr. Ian Blair Fries, a pilot and aviation medical examiner, recommends a different approach in his seminar, “How to save your life in an aircraft accident.” It’s called “The Fries Technique.” In a nutshell, Fries suggests practicing his technique for gliding in the event of an engine out by simulating the conditions. Reduce the power to idle, maintain altitude as long as possible only by trimming the aircraft, not moving the yoke. That, he said, will give you as good of an airspeed as any other technique when you start descending and allow you to look outside more.

Find out what other emergency survival recommendations Fries has at Summit. Fries’ interactive style will keep you engaged—make sure to bring a pencil and paper or iPad. Attendees in the past have jotted notes for techniques to practice or tips to commit to memory.

Conquer aviation’s serious airborne problems

Properly handling an in-flight emergency comes down to training. Flight instructor, author, and aviation humorist Rod Machado will provide tips to help make you knowledgeable about potential in-flight emergencies and provide solutions for handling some of aviation’s most serious airborne problems. Adding this seminar to your must-do list at AOPA Aviation Summit will help prepare you for those rare in-flight emergencies.

With the Air Safety Institute’s “What went wrong?” seminar, step into the shoes of an accident investigator to analyze a chain of events working backward from the end. This will test your aeronautical decision-making skills and help you see critical areas where troubleshooting or better decisions could prevent an accident.

Risk management

Aviation safety legends John and Martha King, of King Schools, will share their insights for managing risk. Known throughout the aviation industry from their instructional videos and DVDs, the Kings will lead their risk management seminar by pulling insights from their cross-country experiences and helping you apply it to your everyday flying.

Never again

New this year, AOPA Aviation Summit is bringing the popular print and online “Never Again” and “Real Pilot Stories” series to life. During these talks, pilots will share stories of how they pushed boundaries, and important lessons they learned to prevent themselves from getting into dangerous scenarios again. Lessons learned from these real-life scenarios, told in the first person, can help you avoid the same mistakes. If you have a “Never Again” story to tell, send it to AOPA, and you might be selected as a speaker.

Also, listen to air traffic controllers assist and talk down pilots in emergency situations thanks to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. The group will host “ATC playback: Emergencies and real life situations,” in which attendees can listen to recordings of winners of the Archie League Award. The awards, named for the first air traffic controller, highlight cases in which ATC was crucial in helping a pilot.

Help ensure you don’t experience a “Never Again” moment by honing your skills on emergency procedures and a variety of simulated scenarios in a full-motion Redbird flight simulator: Experience an engine failure after takeoff, visual flight into instrument conditions, crosswind landings, an ILS with a full missed approach, and more. Training will be located in Mesquite G at the Palm Springs Convention Center. To sign up for a one-hour training slot, stop by Mesquite G on the day you plan to take the training.

Take advantage of life-saving tips and techniques for emergencies all in one location during the three-day AOPA Aviation Summit—the gathering for active pilots—Oct. 11 through 13, in Palm Springs, Calif. Register today.