Skip to main content

Dunker-[betes]

This week I learned and practiced how to egress from a helicopter crash in water. My sinuses were flooded 15+ times and I was completely strapped in on 8 simulated helicopter crashes...underwater, upside down, without an air source for 5 of the runs, in simulated night conditions, and simulated storm conditions (complete with 85 mile an hour winds, rain, and choppy seas). My goal was to stay calm, quickly locate and/or open my exit, use a reference point, unbuckle my straps and, quite frankly, get the hell out.   

I wouldn't exactly describe it as "enjoyable".

The right term would probably be something more along the lines of "effective".

As in, it was the "effectiveness" of the simulator which granted me greater confidence and fortitude - things most of the trainees already possess, but are attitudes I am still working on, still molding.

I learned a lot about myself during the training - what my body does and does not like to do, how long I can hold my breath, why staying calm is so important, how diabetes and adrenaline are not exactly buddies, and how much of a weenie I am at jumping off a 14 foot platform (yes, complete jumping-from-heights-weenie right here).

But, I also thought a lot about why I was there. In the moments leading up to the simulated crashes, I talked myself through the scenario and tried to focus on someone I knew personally engaged overseas as a member of the United States Army. If they have enough confidence to complete all of the requirements to be a soldier and then are brave enough to serve in a hostile environment, then by golly I could muster up the courage to exit the sinking helicopter...run after run.

I realized that this training was for me - to save my life in the event of an emergency. But the testing I am a part of that requires this training can save hundreds of lives when implemented.

So it isn't about me, or the test pilots up front, or the design engineers at all. 

It's about them

It's about believing in your work and doing whatever it takes (helicopter dunker training included) to do your job to the best of your ability.

Confused when I say "helicopter dunker"? The Discovery Channel video below was taken at the same facility where I had my recent dunker training. This video shows just a small part of the two day adventure.

Comments

Post a Comment

Who has two thumbs and loves comments? Nerdy April!!! Type one out and hit publish!

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution? On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there i

What it's really like being a woman engineer in 2020

Today is International Women in Engineering Day (#INWED)! This year marks a full decade since earning an Aerospace Engineering degree, launching my journey as a woman engineer. So, what does it feel like as a woman engineer today, in 2020?  It probably comes as no surprise that women are still the minority in most engineering fields, mine included. The real statistics? At my first job out of college , women made up 10% of my group and that percentage came from only one woman: me. There were a handful of other women scattered throughout the rest of the organization but it was probably around 10% at best. I relied solely on men to teach me how to interact with military officers, when to speak up in meetings, how to don and doff flight gear and talk on the radio, how to avoid red-out during aerobatics, how to take engineering notes during night flights, how to setup and run data, how to run a pre-flight and post-flight briefing, how to conduct myself at customer sites, how to layer up an

The Diabetes Transportation System DTS-T1

I was looking forward to the Space Shuttle launch on Monday, then it was pushed to Wednesday and now it is scheduled for Thursday due to several electrical issues from a main engine computer controller. Ironically, our little MH-47G (due to start testing on Monday originally) has been having it's own issues and it is still unclear exactly when we will start testing. And all of this uncertainty, schedule changes, and issue-working reminds me of my little friend Diabetes [come on, you knew that was coming :-)]. Even with hard work, super awesome bolusing skills [ check out Holly's blog today, the number crunching is very impressive] and constant blood sugar checks, Diabetes can still be unpredictable, necessitate schedule changes, and cause the carrier to work through the issues. I have been lucky today, even after a late-night cocktail last night, I woke up this morning at 112, and before lunch I was an amazing 113. I love being steady like that, cruising along with hardly an
01 09 10