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Here’s a an example of something I heard today: “How do you deal with in-flight scares – emergencies with aircraft or passengers?”

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What kind of training does a pilot go through to prepare for an evacuation? If any. (Does the pilot have particular instructions on what to say?)

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Good question.

Evacuations, planned or unplanned, are difficult and risky events to handle.

We train with very strict guidelines with the flight attendants about how evacuations in general unfold. The evacuation checklist has to be performed methodically and carefully to clear the way for passengers to get out: engines shut down to stop the jet blast, lights on to show the way to the exits, wing configured for safest egress, cabin inspected to make sure nobody is left behind.

Communications with ground safety personnel and the control tower is critical. Yes, there is a script and we practice saying our lines clearly every time we go to class.

How do we train all this? Drilling the scenario over and over until the distraction of the event itself has a lower effect on us. Simulations, written material and thought experiments run a hundred times. Classroom discussion and reading case histories, too.

Whether an evacuation is a surprise or planned ahead of time, the flight attendants are your heroes: your pilots try to give them every advantage to clear 200 panicked people out of a crippled jet in 60 seconds or less.

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