There is no doubt that Search and Rescue can be dangerous work and sometimes things can go wrong. When they do, we need to be prepared.
Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) as it is commonly known is a vital part of IntSAR training for both Helicopter Pilots and Aircrew.
HUET prepares Pilots and Aircrew in what to do in the instance of a crash landing into water. Knowing how to exit an aircraft that is sinking in water is not something that comes naturally to most people.
During a HUET course, participants are placed into replica helicopter cabins which are then lowered (generally by cranes) into deep pools. Participants must then wait until all movement stops, undo their seat harnesses and exit the cabin under the water.
As the training progresses, things get a little harder for the participant. The cabin is turned upside down once under water to simulate aircraft roll over. Then to make it even harder, participants wear blacked out goggles to simulate a crash and roll over in dark night conditions.
A number of escapes are conducted during the course.
For safety, some course instructors equipped with scuba gear remain under water to assist any participant who may strike difficulty in escaping the cabin.
HUET is a highly valued part of the training schedule for Pilots and Aircrew. So much so that it must be completed every 2 years to keep crews up to date and familiar with escape techniques.