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I once read somewhere that pilots can go to some facilities so get trained for crashes.

I actually went to a facility in New London, CT where they actually dunk you in water strapped in the seat of an airplane upside down and with your eyes closed in a big pool.

Is there any formal training for the commercial pilots to be prepared for crashes? If yes, how far do they go in training pilots and for what kind of crashes?

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  • $\begingroup$ Mind sharing the name of the place? You've caught my interest :) $\endgroup$ – codedude Dec 15 '15 at 3:05
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From my research to date it seems that most general aviation and commercial fixed wing pilots are instead trained rigorously in crash avoidance rather than crash escape. Flight attendants and other cabin staff drill regularly in crash preparation and cabin evacuation in several situations (gear-down landing, belly landing, water landing, fires blocking escape doors X, Y and Z, etc) but in an emergency, the job of the people behind the yokes is to first make sure the plane gets back on the ground in as close to one piece as possible; nobody's walking away from a nose-down dive into a mountain.

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    $\begingroup$ General aviation pilots are pretty much on their own for seeking out this kind of training. There are companies that do the underwater bit, and I'd bet there are companies that do smoke chamber egress training in stuff like a Gulfstream or Citation mock-up (for the light GA crowd it's generally assumed you know where the doors are in a 4-seat Cessna or Piper…) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jul 7 '15 at 16:06
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I've seen pictures of this sort of training for helicopter underwater emergency training.

Training link

This is given to offshore oil rig crews, who will be passengers on the helicopters, as well as the pilots who will be flying them.

As offshore crews fly so frequently in helicopters, it's worth the time giving them this sort of emergency training.

I've never heard of it being used for fixed wing plane crews though.

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    $\begingroup$ I saw an episode of "Dangerous Flights" where the flight crew prepared for a trans-Atlantic ferry flight with training similar to what the question described. They were ferrying a single-engine Cessna. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Jul 7 '15 at 17:29
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They send you up in a small airplane and turn off the engine. Just kidding.

There is no formal training, except in the use of standard emergency equipment such as evacuation slides and the emergency oxygen system.

Every aircraft has an elaborately detailed set of emergency procedures which are kept in binders (although this is shifting to iPads). When something bad happens, you are supposed to turn to the relevant section of the binder (there are quick reference tabs) and follow the instructions. In theory, you are supposed to memorize all the procedures, but in practice most pilots just know the critical ones, like fires and engine failures. Even if you think you have the procedure memorized, you are still supposed to use the checklist.

One problem with simulating emergencies is that it is dangerous. For example, the FAA used to mandate spin training for all pilots. Then, years later, they found out more people were getting killed in the spin training, than were getting killed in real, actual spins. That put an end to the spin training.

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