Archive for April, 2014

The list of survival items is long and has to be carefully reviewed as the weight limitations require us to carry only the essentials.  To that end, so far this is what we have ordered:

Survival

Full immersion suit, EPIRB, PLB, Tether Line, Sea Streamers, Sea Sickness tablets, Winslow 4 person ocean going raft with desalinator kit, medical kit, medicine kit….

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Digital Gizmos

Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone, Satellite modem, Ipad (Air + Mini), Garmin 796, Handheld VHF radio, InReach from Delorme, solar chargers, extra long life batteries, GoPro 3 & Garmin Virb Cameras, Canon EOS camera

 

During flight over vast expanses of water like the Atlantic and the Pacific, we will be wearing the orange Gumby suit while flying and we will be following a survival protocol that we learned while at the Sea Survival and ditching course at the Survival Systems school in Groton, Connecticut.  Likewise, the two type of PLB’s will be on our bodies, to be activated one at a time and each time the battery depletes we will activate the next one.  We plan to be able to broadcast our GPS position continuously for 7 days before the batteries run out.  The rechargeable items like iPads, cameras, Delorme Inreach, Satellite phone will all be charged using our solar chargers.  The InReach unit can broadcast our exact location continuously for 500 minutes, and with the solar chargers, we could extend that time…..this is all theory and I hope we don’t have to apply all of this knowledge in real life….

One of the things that i wanted to have with us was a small sized harpoon gun.  But the survival systems people told me that if I had it with me, to not try to scare away a shark.  Reason being, that the small size of the spear will probably make the shark real mad and things would then escalate with Shark coming out on top….same was the case with the sea dye.  Sounded like a good idea, but the dye attracts sharks….so, no go.

Planning – Enroute Planning

Posted: April 25, 2014 in Adventure

As the route of flight got finalized, we want to find out more about each of our destination airports.  We plan to do a flyby on google earth to get used to seeing what to expect prior to arrival.  We also found out that the airport we selected in UK does not have the kind of gasoline we use in our plane.  We had to fish around and find an airport that had the fuel, but they did not have customs and immigration.  But luckily we found out that UK allows pre submittal and pre clearance for immigration….

So, our final route of flight is :

KHFY (Greenwood, Indiana) – KBGR (Bangor, Maine)

KBGR (Bangor, Maine) – CYYT (St. Johns, Canada)

CYYT (St. Johns, Canada) – EGKT (Oxfordshire, UK) – had to change

EGKT (Oxfordshire, UK) – LTBA (Istanbul, Turkey)

LTBA (Istanbul, Turkey) – HEOC (Cairo, Egypt)

HEOC (Cairo, Egypt) – HESN (Aswan, Egypt)

HESN (Aswan, Egypt) – OMFJ (Fujairah, UAE) – had to change

OMFJ (Fujairah, UAE) – OPKC (Karachi, Pakistan)

OPKC (Karachi, Pakistan) – OPRN (Islamabad)

OPRN (Islamabad) – OPLA (Lahore, Pakistan)

OPLA (Lahore, Pakistan) – VTBD (Don Mueang, Bangkok, Thailand) – had to change

VTBD (Don Mueang, Bangkok, Thailand) – WADD (Bali, Indonesia)

WADD (Bali, Indonesia) – YPDN (Darwin, Australia)

YPDN (Darwin, Australia) – YBBN (Brisbane, Australia)

YBBN (Brisbane, Australia) – NFFN (Nadi, Fiji)

NFFN (Nadi, Fiji) – NSTU (Pago Pago, American Samoa)

NSTU (Pago Pago, American Samoa) – PLCH (Christmas Island, Kiribati)

PLCH (Christmas Island, Kiribati) – PHKO (Kano, Hawaii)

PHKO (Kano, Hawaii) – KMHR (Sacramento Mather, California)

KMHR (Sacramento Mather, California) – KHFY (Greenwood, Indiana)

Planning – Set Back

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Adventure

Minor set back.  In aviation, it is a good idea to shake things out well before a long trip.  With all new components, it is important to work them over to make sure one gets over the infant mortality phase, albeit safely…..

Last week, got ready to depart Birmingham area for a site visit.  Started up the engine, it sounded rough.  Taxied around, still sounded rough, did a complete run up, still rough.  Lined up on the centerline of the runway, full power – still rough.  At rotation speed (just prior to take off), pulled the throttle and aborted take-off as the engine did not “sound” right.  Taxied over to the mechanics hangar and called him on the phone to come out and “listen” to the engine.  As I pulled the throttle, it came out in my hand.  Showed it to my mechanic, who had a few choice words from the A&P’s extensive dictionary of terms.  This was a new throttle cable that had been replaced less than 50 hours ago…..in aviation terms, this is called “INFANT MORTALITY”.  So, this begs the question, what else do I need to shake out and make it fail now instead of failing over the Atlantic or the Pacific.

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Considering this failure in various phases of flight, if the throttle had failed when I was at full power, I would have had to get up to pattern altitude, shut down the engine and glide in.  If it had happened in cruise, I would have had to get to an airport and shut down the engine and glide to a landing.  The worst outcome would have been if it had failed while landing.  In a way this was a good exercise in how to handle an emergency, one that did not happen because the engine did not “sound” right !

The engine did not sound right because upon investigation we found out that the plug in the #3 cylinder had carbon deposit on it.  I could have cleared it up with some aggressive leaning, but I decided to abort the mission rather than take a bird in the air with a known/doubtful issue….. as the saying goes…. there old pilots or there are bold pilots, there are no old-bold pilots….

 

 

On March 31st and April 1st, Haris and I attended a two day aircraft ditching and Sea Survival course hosted by Survival Systems, Inc., in Groton/Mystic, Connecticut.  They have sites in Alabama and Kentucky as well, but those sites are strictly for use by the Military.  It was two days of grueling experiences that taught us how to ditch a plane, how to get out of the air frame, deploy the raft and what all to do to survive.  Interestingly, the instructors brought up things we don’t even think about and when they are brought out, the light bulb really goes on.

One thing we found out was that the water is the warmest in the top 12 inch layer.  Therefore, the best thing to do is to lay flat on one’s back and float to minimize heat loss.  The maximum heat loss occurs from the groin area, therefore, curling up in a ball is also a good idea.  Having a large contractors garbage bag handy to fill with water and then putting oneself inside the bag and wearing it up to the the neck creates a buffer around the body that slows down the onset of hypothermia.

When ditching in a private plane or a commercial plane, NEVER deploy your life vest until you can breathe on your own outside the water.  There are very serious implications of deploying the vest too soon that include death.  Above all, remain calm – panic kills.  If possible practice, practice and practice.

Now we have much better clarity of what all to carry in our survival bags.  We already have a Winslow 4-person ocean raft and canopy with a desalinator kit on its way.  The standard list for us now includes EPIRB, PLBs, 3 weeks of sustenance, green survival lasers, Mustang full immersion survival suits, life vests and a bunch of other stuff.

This course was well worth the time, effort and money.  Having had the experience of losing an engine and having to make an emergency landing, I have a much sharper focus on the importance of preparing for survival than an average person.  Luck favors those that are better prepared……

 

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Planning – Please Donate to TCF

Posted: April 5, 2014 in Adventure

Here is a shameless plug, please donate to the Citizens Foundation (TCF) in our effort to support and hi-light the mission of educating the underprivileged and disenfrenchised youth…..

http://www.razoo.com/story/Flying-Round-The-World-For-Education?referral_code=share