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Sea-Air Survival Training Center Helicopter Underwater Escape Training :

Survival in the Water.:

The best way to prepare for the worst is in a realistic simulator. Unfortunately, most flight training emergency scenarios necessarily leave off at the end of the flight, meaning they offer little or no hands-on guidance on how to get out of a helicopter after it has ditched. Tragically, many pilots and passengers have drowned in shallow water after surviving a ditching because they panicked and could not clear the aircraft. Helicopters fly at low altitudes, often over water, are particularly susceptible to ditching hazards. 

Helicopter Underwater Escape Training

Emergency Training.:

That's the raison d'etre for School of Synergic Studies Trust - Sea-Air Survival Training Center. The school was founded in Mumbai in 1999 to address the dearth of quality marine training to the civilians, particularly with respect to marine and aviation water survival. SSS is approved for STCW courses by the Director General of Shipping, Government of India and also certified for ISO 9001:2000 by ABS Quality Inc. In 2003 the SSS introduces Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) Course at Mumbai for Crew and passengers traveling to offshore oilrigs, platforms and drill ships by helicopter. Within offshore and aviation industry, the potential customers include:

  • Crew and passengers traveling to offshore oil rigs, platforms and drill ships by helicopter.
  • Crew and corporate passengers traveling by private helicopter, with even partial flying over sea.
  • Emergency medical technicians, para-medics and marine police helicopter crews.

Meet the PETS.:

Helicopter ditching isn't the only program of its kind in India, but lays claim to being the most realist. As part of its HUET course at Mumbai, the SSS uses its patented Procedural Egress Training Simulator (PETSTM), a sophisticated single seat tubular mockup with safety belt, snap on / off window and buoyancy pods. When at rest, PETS floats on the water in indoor dunking tank. Upon splash down, the PETS trainer / operator can turn the simulator completely upside down as part of each simulated ditching.

A sea-air survival course stresses the philosophy that survivors must participate in their own rescue. The curriculum teaches how to cope with the physical and psychological stress of a sea ditching. The half a day basic helicopter-ditching course provides the training needed to safely evacuate the helicopter, inflate & board a life raft and assist others in the process of being rescued by a boat or helicopter.

Our Program Director.:

Capt Pratap Mehta, our Program Director is a qualified instructor, professional aircrew and a master mariner who has been flying since 1975 in the Indian Navy and later sailing as 'Master' on board Drill ships / work boats in off shore oil industry. In addition to his vast experience in over water flight operations, he has been the captain of the aircraft for both fixed wing and helicopters.

Pratap's extensive involvement in aircraft ditching and sea survival training started over 25 years ago when he was a Seaking (later Kamov-25) helicopter crew commander flying for the Indian Navy. He was one of the crew of first helicopter that landed on board Sagar Samrat in 1975-76. As a designated 'Flight Safety Officer', he took part in preparing and delivering this type of training to naval flight crew. He is also a trained anti-submarine, search and rescue (SAR) operator from Seaking (British) and Kamov-25 (Russian) type helicopters.

Pratap is an empanelled Master Trainer for DG Shipping (India) approved Training for Trainers and Assessors (TOTA) course. He is a Post Graduate in defense studies, graduate of Defense Services Staff College and honors diploma in Human Resource Management.

Pratap carried out the study of Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) project in the USA. The world-class programme has been designed and developed exclusively by him keeping in mind the requirement for such training in offshore oil industry in South Asia and Middle East. In addition to his CRM skills, Pratap has a detailed knowledge of over water flight operations, which is complemented by his experience in aircraft ditching, sea and land survival training.


Why is this program important? In 1999 Transportation Safety Board ((TSB, USA) reported that of 63 pilots / passengers who died after a crash into water, 78% were located inside the aircraft (only 22% died during impact or drowned as a result of non-fatal incapacitation). 

"Fatalities in seaplane accidents terminating in the water are frequently the result of post-impact drowning. Most drowning occurs inside the cabin of the aircraft. However, those who survived often found difficulty in exiting the aircraft. Over two-thirds of the fatalities occurred when occupants who were not incapacitated during the impact drowned". A Safety Study of Survivability in Seaplane Accidents Report Number SA9401 conducted by the Transportation Safety Board, USA.

Data from the Canadian military suggest that 92% of the time, pilots have less than one minute between recognizing the problem and touchdown. In 78% of the cases, the time is less than 15 seconds. That doesn't give the pilot or passenger much time to prepare. A nimble passenger who has been properly briefed might be able to brace up and recollect emergency exit locations. 

Very little emphasis is placed on aircraft ditching and survival techniques even though many people die each year as a result.

Must Do it.:

The underwater egress trainer (also known as the Procedural Egress Training Simulator, PETS or dunker) is designed to train flight crew and passengers in 'underwater egress' in the event of a helicopter sinking or rolling inverted upon water entry. 

With our expert instructors and safety divers, providing escort services and constant monitoring, trainees are given the chance to actually experience both physical and psychological stresses of underwater egress situations. The trainees can safely and effectively learn the skills that may one day save their lives.

This is a proven system, in both the military and civil aviation industry, of saving lives by training personnel in egress procedures and instilling confidence for a successful underwater evacuation.


"It's the type of training we hope people will never need," Dr Bob Cheung, Project leader & Scientist (August 1999) at Defense and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine, USA said. "But it's the type of training that, if people do need it, it's the most important they've ever had."

Please click here for further information on HUET Objectives, Registration, Procedures, etc.


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