Would you know what to do if things go sour?

 - March 29, 2007, 1:29 PM

Emergency procedures training is offered by several business aviation OEMs and all of the major simulator training companies as part of their wide array of training products. But two smaller, independent companies–Stark Survival Training and Facts/AirCare–specialize in emergency procedures training, and their programs stand out among all of the offerings.

And to prepare for the rare event when things go really bad, Stark Survival Training (www.starksurvival. com) of Panama City, Fla., offers several highly regarded seminars. In the emergency crewmember training for international operations program, ditching procedures, water survival, cockpit fire and smoke management/evacuation are covered. The program starts with a review of pertinent accident/incident reviews and lessons that can be learned. In the ditching portion students learn aircraft ditching procedures, appropriate crew coordination, passenger preparation, cabin preparation and actual evacuation procedures.

The cockpit fire and smoke management portion deals with smoke and fumes toxicity and hazards. It includes hands-on use of oxygen masks and goggles, smoke hoods and other equipment in a simulated smoke-filled environment. The smoke evacuation training includes use of appropriate cockpit checklist, passenger briefing, crew coordination, hands-on use of exits and the practice of evacuation procedures from a simulated smoke-filled aircraft.

During the water-survival portion students get to practice using life vests, life rafts, ELTs and signaling equipment. There are practical exercises held in a water setting such as a lake, pool, bay or ocean.

The eight-hour course is conducted at the client’s location and includes information on new products available. The cost is $2,395 plus expenses per day. Class size is limited to 20 students.

A logical companion seminar is the eight-hour emergency crewmember training for domestic operations. According to Ken Burton, president of Stark Survival Training, this program includes an appropriate accident/incident review, psychological and physiological aspects of land survival, water procurement, fire building, use of signaling devices and improvisational techniques.

A field-training exercise includes hands-on use of all survival equipment, including flares, signal mirror, rapid deployment shelter and emergency blanket. Students are required to establish a survival platform consisting of shelter, fire and signaling method. Instructors try to hold this portion in a local wooded area. This seminar also includes cockpit fire and smoke management, smoke evacuation and new product information. The course is conducted at the client’s location for $2,395 plus expenses with a 20-student maximum per class.

The Mind Game

Stark’s eight-hour universal survival seminar deals extensively with the physiological aspects of survival. It also covers the physical aspects of surviving in the world’s various environments.

In the psychological aspects of survival the instructor reviews myths surrounding survival. The program specifically addresses the many myths and fears that prohibit a successful survival instinct. A water- and food-procurement section discusses locating and manufacturing techniques for water, as well as locating and gathering food in the wilderness and other harsh environments. Techniques of fire building are reviewed, with students being  taught what constitutes good tinder, where to locate fuel, how to start a fire, how large a fire to build and how to reflect fire-produced heat.

The shelter-building portion reviews the different types of shelter for various environments and terrain: arctic, desert, jungle and mountain. The concepts are then applied in a field-training exercise. Students are also given the opportunity to practice with various types of signaling device, including hand-held smoke and night flares, aerial flares, signal mirrors, dye markers and ELTs. The cost of the course held at the client’s location is $2,395 plus expenses. Class size is limited to 15 students.

A two-day, open-water training class is offered at Stark’s Panama City facility from April to October. According to Burton, the program is oriented toward jet ditching and emergency egress and includes concepts of ditching procedures, crew coordination, cabin and passenger preparation, pre-impact procedures and evacuation techniques.

There are also practical exercises in the use of emergency medical equipment such as AEDs, as well as hands-on practice with life rafts, life vests and signaling devices, ocean training including a night water exercise and underwater egress training using a dunker and HEED bottle. Cost of the course is $995 and the class size is limited to 15 students.

Additionally, Stark offers an emergency crewmember training FAR Part 135, 125 and 121 course. The 12-hour program includes comprehensive reviews of ditching procedures. A water survival portion includes familiarization with problems associated with hypothermia, dehydration, protective flotation, water procurement and other environmental concerns.

Water survival equipment is thoroughly reviewed, as well as cockpit fire and smoke management, evacuation procedures in a smoke-filled cabin and in-flight firefighting. A review of aerospace physiology includes discussions on hypoxia, hyperventilation, spatial disorientation, rapid decompression, evolved and expanded gas problems, physical/mental stresses and hands-on use of oxygen equipment.

Rounding out the course is hijacking and security information, including a discussion on mental stress, hazardous material identification, problems associated with hazardous materials and aircraft and personnel security issues. The course is offered at the client’s location for $2,795 plus expenses. Class size is limited to 20 students.

On-site Audit

A service that Stark provides to clients is an emergency equipment and safety audit. For $1,000 per day plus expenses the company will send someone to your hangar to review the available emergency equipment. Among the equipment audited will be life rafts, life vests, smoke hoods, masks, goggles, medical kits and fire extinguishers. The auditor will also discuss available new products and make recommendations for standardization. A thorough review will also be done of the over-water and ground egress sections of the company’s operations manual.

Burton said the company also offers a two-hour executive training seminar, which can be repeated up to three times in a given day. The program is designed for the executive who flies primarily on the corporate aircraft. However, information on both corporate and commercial travel is given emphasis on the specific aircraft owned by the corporation.

According to Burton, each cabin has its own idiosyncrasies so the program is held in the cabin of the client’s aircraft. The cabin-safety and preparedness portion covers proper stowing procedures; bracing for impact in both forward- and aft-facing seats; hazards of apathetic travel; a discussion of the typical corporate aircraft cabin scenario and its dangers; the role of the passenger in an aircraft emergency and other general cabin-safety tips.

Onboard equipment is also reviewed, including donning, fitting and activation of life vests, location and deployment of life rafts, donning smoke hoods, location and use of fire extinguishers, donning and use of oxygen equipment, location and use of all exits and proper evacuation procedures.

During the class students have the opportunity to apply information they have acquired and see the benefits of their training. A simulated smoke-filled cabin and emergency landing is staged. The cabin is filled with FDA-approved stage smoke and passengers are required to evacuate the aircraft using only the overwing exit. Cost of the specialized seminar is $2,395 plus expenses, with the class size limited to the passenger load of aircraft to be used.

AirCare Solutions (www.facts-aircare.com) of Olympia, Wash., also offers an executive frequent-flier program that highlights aircraft emergency equipment and procedures. The program integrates the human-factor elements of flying and air travel safeguards. According to Martin Hamilton, the company’s director of operations, the course is designed to build knowledge and confidence in emergency responses.

“The course covers an aircraft-specific survey and training in in-flight fire and smoke procedures, decompression procedures, land and water evacuations and personal travel security,” Hamilton said. “There is an optional module in the Facts emergency procedures simulator on in-flight fire and smoke drills and full-motion emergency evacuations on land and water.” Each program is scheduled for a minimum of three hours with a maximum of 10 participants. The cost is influenced by location because the company brings its simulator to the client. While the course is popular, AirCare Solutions actually specializes in crew emergency training.

“For most corporate aircraft the required number of crewmembers is two pilots,” Hamilton said. “A third crewmember, such as a flight attendant, is only required on aircraft with more than 19 seats. But what’s happening is that many operators want to define the third person on the aircraft as a food server, a caterer, host or hostess in an attempt to skirt the responsibility of training,” he explained. “The truth is when any operator employs a third person to work on the aircraft, that person is implicitly recognized as a crewmember in accordance with the general definitions in FAR 1.1.”

The FAA definition states, “Crewmember means a person assigned to perform duty in an aircraft during flight time.” According to Hamilton, that means emergency training requirements apply to all crewmembers, including that third person. Both CAR and JAR wording mirrors the definition in the FARs.

AirCare has developed fully mobile, corporate cockpit and cabin aircrew emergency simulators. They are trailer-mounted, full-motion simulators that allow students the benefit of putting the procedures they study into practice in an authentic aircraft environment. Each simulator includes a procedure cockpit and a full-size cabin with all corporate amenities. The simulator is capable of active pitch and roll, turbulence, dynamic sound effects, cabin, galley, lav and cockpit fires, live smoke and decompression.

Just Give Me the Facts

According to Hamilton, Facts (originally flight attendant and cockpit crew training seminars) is a human-factors-based program designed to train pilots, flight engineers and flight attendants in emergency evacuation and safety procedures. The curriculum includes crew coordination; passenger handling; safety and survival equipment; in-flight medical emergencies; defibrillation; in-flight fire and smoke procedures; high-altitude physiology; decompression; hazardous materials awareness; unusual situations; safety and security; and emergency evacuations (land and water). All procedures are practiced in Facts simulators and in a pool using the Facts underwater egress dunker.

Training is available at the client’s hangar or any of more than 90 scheduled Facts training programs conducted around the country at such places as Teterboro, N.J.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Chicago; Detroit; Dallas; and Seattle. The company has also provided onsite Facts training in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

The initial course for crewmembers with no previous Facts training is a three-day (24 instructional hour) course that includes classroom and simulator time. In addition, the student is to complete a Facts pre-class study and workbook before attending. An optional fourth- day program covers food handling certification, galley safety, as well as aircrew combative training, self defense and security training programs. The cost of the initial program is $3,250 per student.

The recurrent course is open to all current Facts graduates or those who have completed other Facts-approved training programs within the past 12 months. Training is two days (16 hours) in class and simulator, with the option of attending a prior-day program on food handling certification, galley safety and service training and aircrew combative training, self defense and security training programs. The cost is $2,250.

AirCare will also customize an on-site training program for light, midsize and cabin-class aircraft crewmembers. The two-day (16 hour) program includes both class and simulator time. The Facts AirCrew Emergency Procedures Simulator, trainers and additional training equipment are brought to the client’s facility. Cost is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the customer’s wants, location and number of students.