Published on Saturday, 30 March 2013 09:07
Colin recounts his experience of a Dinghy training experience held at Andark.
My first trip with Hampshire Aeroplane Club wasn't in the Robin or the Cessna, it was a dinghy in the training pool at Andark!
I'd worn lifejackets for a few flights before, but like a beef lasagne I never really thought about what was inside. We started with a classroom briefing from Andy Goddard, the manager at Andark and helicopter pilot. Andy showed us how to open up the jackets, check them inside and out, and how to inspect and re-fit the cylinder and firing mechanism.
Down by the poolside Jeff our instructor gave us an explanation about the liferaft, and how to move through the water as a group without getting separated. Then it was time to jump in and hear the satisfying hiss of the lifejacket pull cord.
After an easy practise run with the liferaft Jeff created a more realistic scenario by closing the window blinds, turning on the rain sprinklers and hosing us down with freezing cold water. Even in the small pool it became more difficult to see and hear each other, and I ended up in a tug-of-war with someone who was also trying to right the capsized raft from the other side. During the practise I'd climbed aboard pretty easily, but this time I scrambled for the rope ladder, and arrived face-first in the floor of the raft. A few more squirts of cold water reminded me that I'd also forgotten to close the canopy behind me!
All in all it was as fun as it was informative, and I'm certainly glad that my first experience was in the training pool and not The Channel!