View Full Version : Jet-refresher course rocks like a hurricane

07-19-04, 08:09 AM
Jet-refresher course rocks like a hurricane
Submitted by: MCAS Cherry Point
Story Identification #: 2004716154914
Story by Lance Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (July 22, 2004) (July 8, 2004) -- Waves crashed on the pilots, hurling them into an engulfing deep fog while they struggled to reach shelter from the storm. In the dark of night as the fog worsened and the sounds of thunder and gunfire grew more intense, the pilots were able to come together and help each other into the safety raft.
Seven pilots finished the jet-refresher training course July 8, here at the Aviation Survival Training Center. The pilots went through two different scenarios dealing with the worst possible consequences of aircraft crashes. The scenarios took much of reality into account and paid meticulous attention to details.
During the second day of the jet-refresher training course, the pilots first crashed from their aircraft in daylight, then crashed again at night from the rescue helicopter. “All the training we do here is scenario- based and gets pilots ready for the worst-case situations,” said Navy Chief Robert P. K. Craig, the administration chief at ASTC. Most of these situations will never happen, but it’s always important to have the pilots trained and ready if ever such an event took place, said Craig.
The second day begins with the pilots simulating an ejection from their aircraft landing in the water. The ejection process can be very violent and often knocks a pilot unconscious, said Craig. After landing in the water, pilots must practice the parachute drag after manually inflating their vests.
The pilots then swim, under stormy conditions, to a helicopter line. There the pilots attach the helicopter cable to their uniform correctly and are raised out of the water.
Then the helicopter crashes. To simulate this, the pilots undergo a helicopter dunker. During the helicopter dunker training, the body of a model helicopter slams into water and, while underwater, the pilots must climb out the windows to the safety of the helicopter’s emergency raft. “No one enjoys getting dunked, but it’s a necessary evil, and being prepared for it is a lot better then drowning,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tom Baker, the department head at FS-32 Oceana, Va.
Entering the raft is the grand finale of the training. The pilots then have to work as a team through dark confusion to accomplish the mission and safely enter the raft. They're once again raised out of the water, leaving no man behind. “The fog, thunder, lighting, sounds of gunfire and rain blowing all around made it extremely real and amazing,” said Baker. “The night training we did is as real as it gets, and I think this is the best non-flying training pilots do.”
The pilots are now trained and ready to go anywhere in the world with their knowledge refreshed. “We appreciate greatly the hard work the staff does here,” said Baker. “They are ultra-professional, did a fantastic job, just great training.”