February 2011 Issue

Overwater Gear

If you plan to spend any significant time flying over water, you need to think about what survival gear to carry and how it will fit into your overall operation.

On December 4, 2010, a Piper Malibu, re-engined with a PT-6 turboprop under a supplemental type certificate, took off from Cozumel, Mexico, heading north. It never made it. Instead, according to press reports, more than two hours after takeoff and while in cruise at FL260, the turbine engine stopped producing power, turning the pressurized single into a glider. It took about 25 minutes for the Piper to glide down to the Gulf of Mexico, where it was successfully ditched close to an oil rig. The ditching site was some 170 miles south of New Orleans, the plane’s destination.

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