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Ditching accidents, equipment, training and related discussion

Hi,

I'm looking for recommendations for a life raft. It should fulfil all legal requirements and host 4 passengers. Given that it contains a pressurized CO2 bottle and needs regular maintenance, a source in Europe would be preferable. The less weight and size, the better of course.

Thanks!

Seconded, I've been thinking about this for the last couple of weeks - since my last trip to Colonsay where the water was absolutely freezing.

In the US, Winslow seem to be the market leaders - does anyone know if they have a European branch/distributor which can also perform regular maintenance?

EGEO

From what I gathered, there is no need for any certification to comply with regulations. In Germany it's § 15 of 3. DV LuftBO which only talks about a life raft capable of carrying all occupants when more than 50 NM away from a suitable land area for a forced landing.

The cheapest option I found with a canopy and space for 4 is from Plastimo. 12 years warranty. It retails for 879 € including VAT here. It's a French company so probably not too bad.

Comparing the Plastimo to Winslow in size and weight, there doesn't appear to be a significant difference.

The one I have had for a number of years is this one.

A friend of mine ditched a TB20 in the Med recently and, obviously with good luck, only got his feet wet, so it definitely does work.

I like it because it's light and compact. The better ones (e.g. RFD) are all much heavier and would IMHO be a lot harder for one person to move them out of the back seat.

I get it serviced here, for about £100 depending on what needs doing.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

A friend of mine ditched a TB20 in the Med recently and, obviously with good luck, only got his feet wet, so it definitely does work.

Wow, is there a more detailed report of this available? Would be interesting to see why he had to and how he did it. I keep reading that one has to be trained to enter a life raft.

The Survival Products Inc. rafts are interesting, very lightweight.

No; he would rather not talk about it. The experience scared him a bit, especially as the sea around him was a shark breeding area. I don't think he is flying anymore.

The general idea with ditching is

  • ditch the right way up
  • get the raft outside the cockpit
  • lay it over the wing
  • activate it with the cord, but never let go of the cord (any wind will blow the raft away fast)
  • when inflated, step into it and wait for the aircraft to sink away underneath

Obviously also grab an ELT etc on your way out

That's my passenger briefing, anyway

This method will work perfectly, without any training, but you need to do all above steps correctly.

A high wing aircraft isn't going to make this easier, IMHO.

Getting into a raft (which has nobody else in it) from the water is quite difficult. Even in calm water (a pool) it is hard, and most people will never get into a small raft like these, because the raft just tips back onto you. There is a technique, which I have done in a pool, but it's hard to describe without pictures (basically you bounce yourself in).

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The one I have had for a number of years is this one.

@Peter: Do you carry life jackets as an addition or you rely on raft only?

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Both.

But I rarely wear the life jackets, which is probably not smart!

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

But I rarely wear the life jackets, which is probably not smart!

You've established that the TB20 has a habit of burning its autopilot servos over a specific location in France. Maybe there is another location in the Med where the engine fails?

I am not going to test that one... not sure I would have the GPS log to prove it!

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
545 Posts
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