June’s Mile-High Maiden
Naval Aviation News-- “NAS Whidbey Island, Wash., retired its 9E8E single-place underwater egress trainer on 14 November 2003. Capt. Stephen Black, above, is one of more than 8,300 aircrew personnel who trained in the "Dilbert Dunker" since it was put into use in 1984 as part of the Aviation Survival Training Center's curriculum. The device impacts the water, submerges and turns upside down while the student is strapped in the "cockpit." The 9E8E trainer was retired when the Naval Operational Medicine Institute opened a new $4.5 million state-of-the-art Aircrew Water Survival Training Facility at Whidbey Island in mid-January 2004. A multiplace underwater egress trainer that can seat multiple fliers; a parachute overwater trainer; and a parachute drag and helicopter trainer are part of the new pool complex.”
But here’s what they didn’t describe in the press release: an added level of extraneous, unexpected distraction for naval aviation cadets in training. You know, the kind of distraction we aviators must constantly overcome as we strive to aviate safely and effectively.
Here’s one training scenario. It could’ve been a high cylinder-head temperature reading or a sudden precipitous drop in oil pressure or a silently wind-milling propellor that interrupted your equanimity on this over-water flight. While preparing to ditch, you see something at the water’s edge, something astonishing....
Distractions added at poolside for “Dilbert Dunker” training for naval aviators, in which a mock cockpit is flipped upside down in a pool to simulate a ditching at sea...
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