Surviving after a winter plane crash

Alyssa Miller has recently written a great first-person account for the AOPA Pilot Blog about participating in the Surratt Winter Survival Clinic in Marion, Montana. As part of the winter survival clinic, Alyssa spent one night inside an icy fuselage and another night in a survival hut to simulate what it would be like to crash in winter conditions and have to stay outdoors waiting to be rescued.

In this particular simulation, Alyssa got to choose the aircraft she would “crash in.” She opted for a Cessna 182 because in theory, the extra padding and insulation for noise reduction would also keep her warmer.

Thanks to plenty of warm clothes and a mummy sleeping bag, Alyssa wrote that she did not actually get too cold but it should be noted that sheltering inside a downed aircraft’s fuselage may not be your best option as its too large of a space to heat.

In fact, Alyssa wrote that she was warmer the next night in the survival hut but much lonelier as she was alone there. Hence, she noted that a key to surviving in such a situation would be to keep one’s mind occupied. In addition, she noted that having one’s back up against some kind of solid structure for security, even if it’s the cold fuselage or the side of a survival hut, will also help.

Nevertheless, Alyssa also said in the short video piece she made from her survival hut that she hopes never to have to put the skills she learned to practice in a real emergency. After all, spending a January night outside in Montana is not particularly fun!

Sleeping in an icy fuselage during winter survival clinic

Photo by Cameron Lawson

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