The FAA has just released a fact sheet on surviving a general aviation accident.
“Every pilot needs to prepare for the unexpected. Although surviving a crash is one of those ‘I hope it never happens’ events, it’s something you need to consider both for yourself, and your passengers,” the fact sheet begins.
Accidents can happen quickly, so being prepared is key. Three factors will impact your ability to survive: Knowledge, discipline, and planning.
Here are some quick tips to remember:
- Know your aircraft. Do you know which way your seatbelt unbuckles? Have you checked your seatbelt placement to ensure it’s unobstructed during an emergency?
- Upgrade your equipment. Installing four- or five-point seatbelts and using a helmet might save your life. Also, fire prevention fuel tank inserts can significantly reduce the chance of a post-impact fire.
- Within the first five minutes of landing, exit the aircraft and account for the occupants. Check for breathing, bleeding, and injuries — in this order. Activate your ELT (and personal locator beacon if you have one), and use your phone to call 911.
- Know what roads are along your route and what direction they are in.
- File a flight plan even when flying VFR. This enables flight tracking and means that emergency services will be alerted should you not arrive when expected.
- Don’t panic. Calm, thoughtful action is what will help you survive until you’re rescued.
- Most importantly, have the will to survive!
Read the rest of the fact sheet for survival training, what to include in your survival kit, and more.