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Ditching accidents, life rafts and equipment, training and related discussion

For repacking we were very happy with these guys. We were there when they unpacked and inflated our Winslow. It was the first time we actually saw it. I don’t know if you can buy new from them, but asking won’t hurt.

EDFM (Mannheim), Germany

Winslow rafts can be serviced in Guernsey by AB Marine. https://www.facebook.com/ABMarineGsy/

EGBP Kemble, United Kingdom

Malibuflyer wrote:

Does anyone know a distributor/shop to buy a Winslow Life Raft in Europe?

In a PA46 I would not spend all that extra money and simply buy a marine raft for a fraction of the price for example from here:
https://www.awn.de/products/plastimo-rettungsinsel-cruiser

Sure it will be a little heavier and if the raft is on the back seat and you have to somehow get it out it really helps if it is small and light. But in the PA46 we put it on the seat next to the door and you can easily throw out a heavier raft once the upper part of the door is open.

Also I would not worry about the overhaul date too much. I have seen how the rafts are treated on boats with salt water etc. so I assume a raft for a plane which sits in a dry and warm hangar for most of the time will be fine a few years beyond the printed date.

www.ing-golze.de
EDAZ

Any particular reason for a Winslow raft? There are other brands which are “reassuringly expensive”

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I have also been considering a raft purchase for flights over the North Sea / Channel. It seems an enclosed raft would be a good idea, but I have no experience in this area and don’t know how to evaluate the options. Looking at the Winslow, it seems very simple compared to some of the self-inflating marine rafts which are covered and less expensive. I can see that weight is an issue, but what else should I consider?

EHRD, Netherlands

It should have stabilization pillars (downward anchors), a canopy and ensure easy boarding (= a ladder, ropes are very difficult if not impossible to use for boarding).

Also it should be as lightweight as possible to ease deployment.

Smooth
LOXX, Austria

Peter wrote:

Any particular reason for a Winslow raft? There are other brands which are “reassuringly expensive”

Combination of recommendation by experienced ferry pilots, weight and “perceived quality”.

Germany

That is probably true, especially the middle one. It’s known as natural selection: only those who do 1hr/day in the gym will survive

Probably ok in a PA46; 20kg is useless for most 4-seater types, and forget any 1-door type IMHO unless you are flying alone, which ferry pilots normally do.

Interesting most shops which used to carry them have dropped them.

Switlik stuff is very good – used in the US by the military. They do nicely priced lifejackets too; I tried to buy some years ago but they would not ship to Europe.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

Any particular reason for a Winslow raft? There are other brands which are “reassuringly expensive”

My club has the RFD Beaufort Pilot raft. It is also used by the Swedish Voluntary Flying Corps which flies extensive maritime patrols in SEPs at low levels.

It has the necessary features such as stabilising water pockets, canopy, ladder, emergency pack… but it weights 8 kg less than the Winslow (12 kg total). Not unimportant in a ditching situation.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

dutch_flyer wrote:

Looking at the Winslow, it seems very simple compared to some of the self-inflating marine rafts which are covered and less expensive.

No not buy a self inflating raft! It might very well kill you.

Imaging you ditch. Water starts coming in either immediately or as soon as you open a door. The water gets on the raft and it inflates, pining you in the cabin unable to move or take a breath! These are very dangerous in a small cockpit.

Also consider the possibility that you manage to get out. You want to tie the raft to either yourself or the aircraft to stop it blowing away in what is likely to be a strong breeze. But before you get it tied it starts to inflate and blows away.

Best to have a non-self inflating raft so that you can inflate it when you are ready to do so.

EIKH Kilrush
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