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S Switlik

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Life Raft Inflation: Air vs. CO2

by S Switlik on 23. Jan, 2015 in Marine, Life Rafts, safety

What things do people consider when picking a life raft? The list typically includes capacity, service interval, equipment, etc. One item that hasn’t been on the list—but should be—is the inflation system. CO2 has historically been the only inflation system option for marine life rafts…until now.  Now consumers have the option to choose between a raft inflated with Air or CO2.

What’s the advantage of using Air instead of CO2? There’s several. First and foremost is that air isn’t affected by temperature.  When you compress CO2 into a cylinder, the pressure changes based on temperature. This can affect the speed of inflation—at low temperatures, the gas compresses (which lowers the pressure), and your life raft will inflate slowly. In some cases the CO2 will even solidify into dry ice which slows inflation even more. Air, on the other hand, is not affected by temperature. Your raft will inflate with greater speed than CO2, regardless of the temperature. 

Are you prepared to meet the NEW FAA Helicopter Rules?

by S Switlik on 30. Jun, 2014

On February 21, 2014 the FAA  published a final rule updating the equipment and operational standards for helicopters. This final rule addresses Helicopter Air Ambulances, Commercial Helicopters, and Part 91 Helicopter Operations. 

To address an increase in fatal helicopter air ambulance accidents, the FAA is implementing new operational procedures and additional equipment requirements for helicopter air ambulance operations. This final rule also increases safety for commercial helicopter operations by revising requirements for equipment, pilot testing, and alternate airports. It increases weather minimums for all general aviation helicopter operations. Many of these requirements address National Transportation Safety Board safety recommendations, and are already found in FAA guidance. Today's changes are intended to provide certificate holders and pilots with additional tools and procedures that will aid in preventing accidents.” –Excerpt from the FAA  Final Rule


Life Rafts: Determining your capacity needs

by S Switlik on 29. Jan, 2014 in Life Rafts

Looking at life rafts and trying to determine what the capacity is can be confusing. There are several questions that you could ask. Is it simply based on passengers:  6-man, 8-man? Is it about the total weight of the passengers? Does it change depending on what type of trip you take? The short answer is, yes, to all of those questions. There is no one universal method of rating life raft capacities.

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