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We flew to Panama City, Florida, to attend a survival seminar with STARK Survival.   

We signed up for an Underwater Egress and HEED training in addition to Emergency Water Landing training. This class was specifically designed to show us how to ditch an aircraft on cold water off of the North Atlantic Ocean in case we lose our engine and how to evacuate and survive until we are rescued.

We have a lot of confidence in our Aircraft’s engine, but engine failure could happen, so we wanted to be prepared.


 Also, it was a great opportunity to see the person who you will be flying with for the next two months in emergency action. Not to mention that it was a lot of fun.

Ken Burton was our trainer. He was a very sharp and personable trainer who had been training US Airforce and Navy personal around the world. He told us that he trained the last King of Iran in 1958 for 6 weeks. Mr. Burton is a pilot and he served in Vietnam.  

He even showed us how to make a reading glasses with a piece of paper, just in case you lose your glasses in an emergency. 

Reading the ditching and survival technique is more than easier doing that.

It was an eye opener for us to be in a cockpit simulator submerged, as we were strapped upside-down. It was humbling experience and you would not want to be in actual condition for the first time.

We were positioned in a very disorienting position and asked to find the exit from a submersed inverted cockpit while our buoyant survival suite was pushing us up away from the exit.

We never thought the survival suit that is supposed to save your life could hinder you from exiting, if you end up upside-down after ditching the aircraft.

The fun really started when they blindfolded us for a night cockpit escape simulation.

Knowing that you can stay under the water for a couple of minutes is comforting when you have HEED.

It seems like it is tough to relax, even when you have a little Spare Air, if your airplane is going under, however with practice we learned how to relax and use our resources.        

We can’t guarantee our survival or say exactly how we will respond in a real condition, but we are much more prepared than before.