Article reprinted with permission from the Transport Canada Aviation Safety Newsletter TP 185E Issue 3/2007 article available online here
Mr. Bryan Webster of Victoria, B.C., has received the 2007 Transport Canada Aviation Safety Award for his exceptional commitment to underwater egress training for pilots and passengers. The award was presented to Mr. Webster on May 1, at the 19th annual Canadian Aviation Safety Seminar (CASS) in Gatineau, Que.
Bryan Webster (left) receiving his award from Marc Grégoire, Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security.
Mr. Webster has accumulated over 11,000 hr of flying time in 35 different aircraft types over a 25-year commercial pilot career that includes bush flying, air ambulance, corporate flying and single-pilot IFR cargo flights. Being a ditching survivor himself in 1977, as a passenger in a Cessna 150, Mr. Webster was instrumental in not only saving his own life, but also the life of the unconscious pilot. He understood early the dangers associated with such a life-threatening situation because he had experienced first-hand the cold rush of water, the panic of disorientation, and the extreme difficulty of evacuating a dark, inverted and sinking aircraft.
After reading about a series of ditching fatalities across Canada in the mid-1990s, in which many had survived the initial impact, but later drowned, Mr. Webster took it upon himself to start an inexpensive underwater egress training program to help better prepare pilots and passengers on how to survive such a traumatic event. He designed specialized equipment to be effective and portable, and travelled across Canada to reach those unable to attend his training program locally in Victoria.
Emergency underwater egress training has proven to dramatically improve survival rates, and Mr. Webster’s program has been featured in several prominent aviation magazines. With his recent book, Survival Guide to Ditching an Aircraft, and his monthly column in COPA Flight magazine, he has been able to promote and demystify this field with such impact and effectiveness that other companies have followed his lead to provide this essential training to even more people. He is rewarded by countless letters of testimony from grateful aviation enthusiasts, both from the private and commercial worlds, who all confirm that 'Bry the Dunker Guy' has made an outstanding impact on Canadian aviation safety.