On Saturday, August 19, Group 3 held an Extended Over Water Survival (WS) pool session. Eight participants completed the requirements to earn this certification, which include classroom training, an aircraft egress exercise, on online test, and a practical exercise in a pool. U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater provided the pool and a rescue swimmer, also known as an Aviation Safety Technician (AST).
All aircrew personnel (mission pilots, observers, and scanners) who will be operating outside of gliding distance from shore are required to complete this training every three years. This is particularly useful in the Tampa area as crossing Tampa Bay while staying below Tampa Internationalís Class B airspace means you are outside of gliding distance to land much of the trip.
Safety is one of CAPís top priorities, so this training is critical because using the techniques included in this training offers an expected 88% survival rate in the event of a ditching (water landing). Practicing the skills in a pool, wearing a flight suit, boots, and a personal flotation device (PFD) helps reinforce esprit de corps as aircrews work together to demonstrate treading water, swimming (together) 50+ feet, and climbing into a raft, which is harder than it looks. Most importantly, participants are able to experience the power of a PFD, particularly when their boots fill with water and feel more like lead than leather.
Group 3 hosted participants from the Legislative Squadron and Group 5 in addition to our local, Group 3, members. All participants completed the program successfully and demonstrated that we are proficient and ready for over water missions. This is just one of the many training programs Civil Air Patrol uses to stay proficient and to mitigate the risks inherent in flying our missions for America.