(Our FIELD REPORTER is standing in the foreground, there is a small plane behind him. Throughout the entire video, he addresses the camera directly.)
When most people think of airports, they think of big, busy terminals that see thousands of passengers each day. But that’s not the only way to fly. Smaller aircraft such as light twins, business jets, floatplanes and helicopters all take off from airstrips like this one…
(As he speaks, shot of a light single engine plane taxiing on an airstrip with a forest in the background. Shot of a helicopter getting ready to land on another airstrip. And a shot of a plane that has just taken off while a light twin engine plane is taxiing on the airstrip.)
Or this one.
(Shot of a floatplane alongside a dock.)
Like any other airport, you’ll find crew, baggage handlers, fuel trucks and aircraft moving about. What you may not find are flight attendants—and that means when it comes to safety, you need to take the lead.
First you need to get from Point A—the terminal—to Point B—the aircraft. Without an enclosed walkway to shelter you, there are a few things to keep in mind.
(A small group of people holding their carry-on luggage are waiting at a doorway leading to the airstrip terminal. A young lady leads them to a small airplane.)
First, the most direct route isn’t always the safest. Always follow the directions given to you by the crew and, if there is one, follow the painted walkway—that way, you can be seen by any moving aircraft and you’ll stay clear of hazards like propellers or wings.
And make sure you have a firm grip on your belongings at all times—even something as small as a hat could cause significant damage if it’s blown into a propeller.
(Close-up on a scarf. A woman takes it off to put it in her purse.)
It’s also important to never smoke near any aircraft or refuelling station—the fuel is extremely flammable and can ignite instantly.
Above all, be aware of your surroundings at all times. This means not listening to music or using your phone while walking across the airstrip or boarding the plane. It also means watching out for propellers, rotor blades, exhausts and intakes—all of which could cause serious injury.
Different types of aircraft have different boarding procedures—make sure you know in advance how to approach and leave your aircraft. This is particularly important for helicopters and floatplanes. With a helicopter, for example, you should always approach from the front.
(A couple of people approach a helicopter from the front and start to board.)
Of course, safety doesn’t end once you’re inside the plane. Without any flight attendants, it’s up to you to understand the ins and outs of the aircraft you’re flying on.
Part of that understanding will come from the pilot’s briefing. Your pilot is experienced and well trained—so be sure to not only listen closely to what they have to say, but to carefully follow all of their instructions. If at any point you feel something has been left unsaid or is unclear, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
This briefing will change depending on the type of plane you’re on, but it should cover:
- how to safely store your carry-on luggage if there is room for it in the cabin;
- how to use your seat belt;
- how to operate the door in case of an emergency landing; and
- where to find fire extinguishers, first aid kits, oxygen masks and life preservers.
The briefing should also include the emergency locator transmitter, or ELT. It transmits a radio signal that allows rescue workers to find you in the event of an emergency landing.
(Close-up shot of the ELT on a plane.)
Now, don’t let all this emergency talk scare you. Canada has a strong aviation safety record. But the best protection is good preparation.
That’s why every aircraft carries a passenger safety card, like this. It should include all of the information from the pilot’s briefing as well as additional details about the plane’s safety procedures—so make sure to look it over before you take off.
(As our FIELD REPORTER mentions the safety card, one of the passengers takes it from the seat pocket in front of him and shows it to the camera.)
Once you’re in the air, you still have a big role to play.
First, make sure you know how to quickly fasten your seat belt at any time during the flight—this includes during take-off, if the pilot turns on the safety belt sign or instructs you verbally mid-flight, and prior to landing.
Second, ensure that all carry-on bags are stowed away, loose items are secure and that the cabin is free from obstruction. This will help make an emergency evacuation easier, if needed.
Third, don’t distract the pilot. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever talk to the pilot—in fact, if you notice something out of the ordinary, by all means, tell them.
Finally, don’t interfere with the operation of the aircraft. This means not touching any controls, knobs or gauges, and waiting for the pilot’s permission to open any windows or doors.
Also, because some items can interfere with the plane’s systems, always ask the pilot which electronic equipment you can use before you take off. If in doubt, don’t use it.
(A passenger is holding a smartphone and puts it in his pocket.)
Remember, comfort and safety in the air is a partnership between you and the pilot. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to have a safe and memorable trip. Be informed. Be prepared. And be safe.
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