Sunday, May 23, 2010

Landout / survival kit

At our club meeting yesterday, I led a discussion about landout & survival kits, and opened up my kit to show one can look like. The idea is that when you're engaging in cross-country soaring, there are several scenarios that could place you in the wilderness on your own for some time, so you should take along some gear to make your stay more comfortable... or even survivable. And even on our "local" flights, we go over some fairly remote areas of the Santa Ana Mountains. A bailout or crash there could mean a long walk or an overnight stay. My kit is full of stuff I'll probably never need, but it's all so small and light that I decided it's worth including I take the kit along on nearly every flight in the PW5.

There are three scenarios I can think of where landout/survival gear would come in handy:
  • A routine, safe land out on a remote airstrip, dry lake bed, or other flat place in the desert or mountains. Even if the crew knows where you are, if it's late in the day, you may be staying overnight. In this case, you and the glider and the kit are together. Landout gear is important to protect the glider. Survival gear can make you more comfortable, first aid gear is probably not needed.

  • A survivable crash. These happen... pilots fly into trees or get forced down by mountain downdrafts. Rescue can take some time. In this case, you probably have access to the kit. Landout gear is not important, but first aid supplies might be, along with survival gear.

  • A bailout, due to collision or mechanical failure. You may or may not land close to the glider and your kit, so in this case your "survival kit" includes whatever minimal stuff is on your person, and your parachute and whatever's attached to it.
There are lots of resources on the web and in books and magazines to help you select landout and survival gear for your kit, so I won't go into the "why" for any of this stuff. If you have any questions or comments, please post a reply.

All this stuff fits into a single cloth bag which fits under/behind the seat in the PW5. It would just as easily fit in the cargo area behind the rear seat in our Blanik L13 or Grob 103. It weighs 4 pounds (of which 1 whole pound is a windbreaker jacket) and takes up 0.4 cubic feet. I started with a survival kit and a first aid kit I bought at a sporting goods store. I added tent stakes and ropes (the "landout" part), a flashlight, some granola bars, and personal items such as contact lenses.

I always wear "cargo" pants which provide some additional pockets. I should get a very small bag which fits into a leg pocket, and transfer some of the very small essential stuff into to cover the bailout scenario. There are also small packs that can strap onto a parachute, and I should look into that as well. On one side of the chute I strap my Personal Locator Beacon, but there's room on the other strap.

Here's the list of what's currently in my bag:

Main bag
Stakes - 2
Ropes - 3
LED flashlight
Windbreaker (stuffed in quart Ziploc bag)

Waterproof bag - commercial survival kit
Small multitool
Light stick
Bright vinyl tape
Fire starting sticks - 2
Candle - heat-resistant
Tie-wraps - 2
Space blanket
Pad of paper
Tape strips
Plastic bag

Smaller Bag
Chemical pocket warmer
CD for signal mirror
Batteries for flashlight
Space blanket
Sunscreen packets - 2
Wipe packets - 3
Vinyl tape
Contact lenses
Eye drops
Trail mix bars – 3

Little stuff in Ziploc Bag
Waterproof matches
Golf pencil
$20 bill
Nylon rope
Safety pins
Razor blades
Fishing line

First Aid Kit - store-bought
Gauze pads - 2
Non-adherent pads - 2
Various adhesive bandages - 12
Tape strips - 2
Alcohol pads - 4
Iodine pads - 2
Sting pads - 2
Antibiotic ointment - 2
Advil - 8
First aid pamphlet
Gauze strip
More band-aids and alcohol pads


Roger said...

I've moved some essentials into a little flat first aid bag that fits into a pocket on my cargo pants. Just first aid supplies, sunscreen, money, contact lenses and drops, and a "space" blanket. Now the list of things usually on me include: parachute, cell phone, multitool, personal locator beacon, and the stuff listed above.

Anonymous said...

Get a good CAT style splint. It could save your life if you need to self rescue (not recommended of course. Also a rescue hook or rescue knife like Victorinox makes with a seat belt cutter glass saw and breaker is good for extricating others or yourself. It can be manipulated with one hand.