Most UK based pilots probably aren’t flying to the types of remote “back country” areas that North American pilots may fly to or over but General Aviation News has recently profiled the so-called Aviator Tactical Vest (or Rescu-Me Survival Vest) that still might be worth considering as its designed for the worst case aviation scenario – a 72-hour stay in the roughest terrain after an off-airport landing in a remote area. Its designer, Jim Herbert, who has more than 40 years experience as both a pilot and a back country guide and firefighter, noted that most of the crash sites he has seen involves a tail that might be separated from the cockpit by as much as 400 feet. And if all of your survival gear is in that tail (like in the movie Alive about the 1972 Andes plane crash of the Uruguayan rugby team) , you will have a big problem.
Hence, Jim has designed a vest made of 1000 Denier Cordura, a very heavy weight nylon with a urethane coating that will protect against hypothermia in winter as well as reflect summer heat away from the body. The vest, which comes in black or a woodland camouflage design that reverses into a high visibility orange, has the following features:
- “Prioritized pockets” in which equipment necessary for survival are arranged in the order of usefulness with the upper left pocket intended for a navigation compass, flash gear and a small first aid kit while the larger right hand pocket which can hold a Personal Locator Beacon, a radio and a fixed bladed knife. A 3,600-calorie food bar also sits in a pocket opposite a water purification filter, water purification tablets and heavy duty ziplock bags.
- Included with the vest is a shelter blanket, a micro-fiber blanket that is intended to wick moisture away from the body, a hood stowed in the collar and 50 feet of military spec chord.
- Each vest has a high visibility RESCU ME panel to signal search and rescue aircraft.
- For the pilots who don’t want to wear the vest in the aircraft, there is an egress pack designed to drape over the seat consisting of a nylon pouch that can be removed with one tug of a release rip-chord.
And while buying such a vest might seem like a precautionary overkill if you are a pilot who flies around the UK, the vest was also designed with outdoorsmen like hunters, boaters or hikers in mind – meaning pilots or non-pilots alike who engage in outdoor activities might want to consider getting one.
A basic Aviator Tactical Vest sells for $260 while a fully loaded one weighing 11 pounds sells for $440. For more information, visit Jim’s website at Rescu-me.com.