Plane & Pilot
Sunday, June 1, 2008

Getting Out Alive

Survival experts show pilots what to do when the propeller stops spinning

Getting Out AliveFew topics in aviation are as popular as that of survival after a forced landing. Since the tragic September 2007 disappearance of adventurer Steve Fossett, the topic has been the subject of countless hangar flying sessions and pilot’s lounge discussions.
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Prepare Early
Finally, all of our survival experts recommend that pilots prepare early by gaining knowledge before they’re forced down in an emergency.

Storey explains preparation steps, “The first is to admit to yourself that ‘it can happen to me.’ The next step is to prepare both mentally and physically. By improving your knowledge and physical capabilities, you’ll also increase your confidence. The more informed you are about your own capabilities, and about the climate and terrain over which you fly, the easier it will be to decide which equipment to take aboard your aircraft.”

Both Stroud and Smith suggest that pilots “stick to the basics.” Stroud concludes, “Survival isn’t about building fancy shelters and tying complicated knots. It’s about getting out alive.”

Classic Survival Guides

It’s beyond the scope of one magazine article to teach you all aspects of survival. Pilots are encouraged to reference survival manuals for more information. While there are thousands of survival books, our experts agree that certain classics are considered “bibles” of the survival world. We’ve listed some here. Note that some of these books may be out of print.

Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills by John and Geri McPherson
How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier
Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen
SAS Survival Guide by John Lofty Wiseman
Peterson Field Guides Series—Edible Wild Plants by Roger Tory Peterson
Peterson Field Guides Series—Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Roger Tory Peterson

Contact Information
Les Stroud Online
Includes links to Les Stroud’s new survival book, to be published by HarperCollins.
Jack Mountain Bushcraft & Guide Service (Wolfeboro Falls, N.H.)
Tim Smith offers practical wilderness survival courses, traditional bushcraft and guided trips.
The Boulder Outdoor School of Survival (BOSS)

One of the nation’s oldest outdoor survival schools, BOSS offers varied survival and outdoor skills courses.


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