Alan & Brenda Millet
My wife and I own N1144P, a 1981 M20J based at W28 (Sequim Valley
Airport, Sequim, WA). I am a civil attorney with a practice in Sequim.
Brenda's sister lives in Anacortes, a 32 nm flight over the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We often fly with friends to Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands for dinner, which entails a similar over water flight. Last summer we attended the Penticton Flying Club flyin in Penticton, BC. The featured speaker at the Saturday night dinner was Bryan Webster who owns Aviation Egress Systems Ltd based in Victoria BC. Bryan explained his under water egress training. For Christmas, Brenda gave us certificates to attend Bryan's class. The class was held at an indoor swimming pool not far from the Victoria airport. On Friday evening, January 4, 2002, we flew our Mooney to Victoria International, rented a car and drove to a local B&B. We had a fantastic breakfast on Saturday morning and began the class at 9:30 am with two other couples from Seattle.
Bryan does a great job of explaining the need for the training and makes sure everyone is comfortable before beginning the in water training. We learned how to prepare for a ditching, how to get into and use our life preservers, and gradually progressed to simulated ditching in a two passenger simulator, learning to egress from the inverted cabin under water. The simulator had doors on both sides like a Cessna. Brenda and I ended up practicing exitting the right door as we would have to in our Mooney. It is amazing how your body goes into a panic mode when under water, upside down and belted into an aircraft cabin. The class teaches you to calmly do what is necessary to escape and survive a potentially deadly situation. Brenda was somewhat reluctant to experience the tandem simulator but Bryan and his staff helped her to reach that training level in small steps. She did great. Bryan said later he could tell Brenda had something in her water past so she could be really proud of her water accomplishment. Brenda loves the water and loves to swim but has a fear of drowning, which probably comes from an incident when she nearly drowned trying to surf in California. She hadn't shared that with Bryan before completing the class.
The customs people on both sides of the border were very courteous and prompt, each clearance taking only a few minutes.
We highly recommend Bryan's class to anyone who flies over water. It is a great weekend getaway with potentially life saving training.
Alan & Brenda Millet