INFLATABLE SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT
Learning Objective: Upon completion of this chapter, you will be able to
recognize, inspect, and maintain inflatable survival equipment.
Since naval air operations are predominantly
over water, the Navy has developed highly reliable
and versatile inflatable equipment designed to
meet the needs of aircrew personnel in a water
The versatility seen in current inflatable
survival equipment meets the ever increasing and
diverse needs of the fleet. For example, the life
preserver provides more than enough buoyancy to
support a person with all survival gear donned,
but not sacrifice comfort or adversely restrict
movement in the water. It does not interfere with
the aircrew members ability to perform his/her
duties aboard the aircraft. The life preserver
is flame resistant, lightweight, and has the
capability to contain certain survival items.
The life preserver is reliable and will save a life,
if used properly.
Life rafts provide protection from the cold and
hostile environment of the sea. For single- and
dual-seat aircraft, a one-man life raft adequately
fulfills this function. However, for large aircraft,
the 4-, 7-, 12-, or 20-man life rafts will be
used. In addition to providing protection from the
these rafts carry an adequate
number of survival items for their capacity, but
are still light enough to carry.
Naval aircraft making operational flights over
water are required to carry rafts that will
accommodate all the assigned crew, plus pas-
sengers. These rafts are manufactured in various
sizes and configurations to meet the demands of
all type of aircraft.
Pneumatic rafts are compact assemblies,
which can be stowed in a small area. They should
be stowed so they are readily accessible, preferably
near an emergency exit. Never stow a raft under
other equipment or cargo or near batteries. Pro-
tect them from heaters, engines, auxiliary power
units, electronic tubes, or other sources of heat.
If the aircraft flight manual designates a
storage place for rafts, this space will be used,
unless you are otherwise directed by competent
authority. Whenever possible, stow rafts in the
same manner in all aircraft of the same model.
This enables the crew to become familiar with
their location, and thus avoid confusion in the
event of a ditching.
Rafts are constructed of rubber-impregnated
nylon fabric; therefore, they are susceptible
to damage from maltreatment. However, when
afloat at sea, they are surprisingly strong and
durable, and have a tenacious stability. It is your
responsibility as a PR to inspect, pack, and
maintain all of the various types of rafts and
related equipment carried in aircraft.
All inflatable survival equipment will be
subjected to periodic maintenance under the
direction and control of the maintenance/material
control officer of the activity to which the
equipment is assigned. Maintenance must be
thorough at all times. No instance of careless
treatment or willful neglect of inflatable survival
equipment will be allowed to go unnoticed. The
vital function of this equipment must be upper-
most in the minds of all personnel concerned. The
periodic inspection cycles should coincide with the
specific aircraft inspection cycles specified in
OPNAVINST 4790.2 (series), or personal issue
equipment cycle, as applicable.
To meet unusual situations and aid workload
scheduling, a period of plus or minus 1 week,
or portion thereof, may be applied to the
authorized inflatable survival equipment calendar
maintenance interval. A period of plus or minus