Never Leave Home Without Them

Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 years, 5 months ago to Going Galt
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I always have a knife and a way to make fire.

Back in 2000, I was working for a firm that ran a series of management training Monday Mornings. We were six or so to a table, eight or nine tables, the entire staff, pretty much. Most of it was basic team-building, getting to know the people you work with, some creativity exercises, etc., etc. Then, on the sixth Monday came the final exercise.

You and the people at your table are coming back from a vacation in South America. Over the Caribbean, you hit a storm. The plane crash lands. The pilot is killed. The plane is unflyable. You all are all right. You have no idea where you are, but you can see that you are in a jungle on a mountain. You take everything out of the plane. Here is the inventory. You all have to come out alive together.

First of all, let me say that one team did not come out at all. They settled down where they were.

I said to bring the large Christmas candle so that we could build a fire. My team mates said that being in the jungle, it would be easy to start a fire, so we don't need the candle. I said to leave the revolver and rum behind because with that combination, someone is not coming home. My team mates said to bring the revolver because you can fire it into the air to attract natives who will help you. I said to head downhill. My team mates wanted to climb higher to get a look around. It was a long morning...

At the end of it, the mentors gave us the answer from the back of the book, the US Army Ranger book.

Always have a knife and way to make fire, say the Rangers. So, since then, I always have.
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Epilogue. The Rangers also said to stay with the plane for 72 hours because you know that someone will miss you and come looking for you. Setting the plane on fire would be a good signal, they said. And head downhill.

So, at the time, I was learning to fly. I had not yet soloed. One landing was a bit short and the instructor corrected me. When we were down, he asked, "Now what would have done if you landed in that bean field?" I said, "Wait 72 hours, set the plane on fire and walk into the airport." He did not get it, but I still find it funny.



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  • Posted by salta 3 years, 5 months ago
    Good luck carrying a knife onto a plane today! But good point for other modes of travel.
    Something I learned from a wilderness first aid course years ago is to save drier lint (from a mainly cotton load) and keep in a sealed bag. It makes perfect emergency fire lighting tinder. I still carry some in my pack on day hikes just in case. It weighs nothing.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 5 months ago
      Thanks for the advice. I will put some in my go-bags.

      One thing about this is that the wilderness scenario is interesting but unlikely. One time (after that job; and after 9/11), I was working as a security guard. On break, some of us were standing outside the back door and the conversation turned to survival gear. Right there, we had fire starters, rabbit traps, you name it... Our supervisor laughed. "If anything like 9/11 happens again, you are not going to be caught in the desert. You are going to be caught in an elevator." From the leg sleeve of his BDUs he pulled out a 6-inch pry bar. Now, I have one of those, too, but it is in a go-bag; I do not carry it, I confess.
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 5 months ago
    Sounds like the Survival Schols and SERE combined but the latter hurriedly got less and less funny. Walking down hill no matter how the terrain changes will eventually bring you to an ocean coastline. Eventually is a very long word. Check the plane for any sort of compass or charts.Jeppson Bag. Staying with the plane beats walking check local area food supplies. If the plane had not strayed off course the flight path will be overflown. Like a single white light seen from a life raft in the ocean think about the direction of movement of the sound you hear especially aircraft. That white light means the stern of a ship. that sound could be at the edge of your circle of ability to see and be seen. Check the plane for any functioning beacons or radios.

    The list is long of things to do mostly stay busy and keep the panic level down. I't mostly common sense. You aren't a Ranger Team. Never leave behind nor throw away anything. Determine directions as soon as possible. Sun up sun down is the start point and starts a map drawn in the dirt or on bark. Collect local information some might have on the area you were flying over. Think before doing. Anyone speak the local languages? Western Hemisphere three Spanish, English, Portuguese. that's right for the whole hemisphere except Tahiti and a couple islands and a few spots here and there then French.

    You can't carry a knife this time unless it's a private flight and unless you didn't take off or were headed for a non USA destination.

    But you can pack some small odds and ends in the suitcase and maybe find it in the wreckage. Water purification tablets? Something from the wreck that will allow carrying water? so. knife, compass, any medicinals, spare clothing, which means you may have to strip off and bury the dead. Get their ID. No Ranger Team damn. Check the others may be no Ranger Team but you might luck out and have someone whose been through the schools. The revolver besides wasting it on sound which won't be heard in an overflying aircraft is your food supply provider. The matches are to kill the germs by cooking. That container from an airplane part? Useful for boiling water. Now you are thinking! no room for subjectivism in this situation.


    TSA is not your friend.
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    • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 5 months ago
      Depending on the tiype of flight when you check the bodies for useful items consider some of them will be some form or another of federal agents. Ask the attendants if they survived. That's you other source of weapons to use or control

      Now here's an easy item to carry.

      EPIRB Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.with GPS and something called an 'I'm OK Button.

      Not sure what TSA would make of it but if one survives a crash definitely sit by the site of the wreckage doing all the other stuff but turn on the EPIRB and the whole world will instantly know two things. Your location. You need help. Coupled with an overdue flight report the rest of the stuff other than emergency medical etc. is a matter of a wait for a known rescue.

      the other problems are solved as a result.

      Most if not all aircraft and boats to ships carry these devices and they come in personal sizes.Good for 24 to 96 hours of transmitting time.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 5 months ago
      All good advice, Michael. You are right: no Rangers on that team, just your average persons.

      This was before 9/11, so bringing a pocket knife and cigarette lighter was allowed. And even today, a charter would be different. The storyline was that this was a small plane: we six were the only passengers.

      I like the line from The Edge: People caught in the wilderness die from embarrassment at not doing the one thing that would have saved their lives.

      For a gun to provide food, you need to be able to actually use it that well: six shots is all you get. How do you feed a handful of people from squirrels and monkeys? Again, these were just plain folks, right off the disaster movie screen.

      One of my team mates was a bit different: blue collar machines manager, a tomboy. She wanted to leave us all behind and head off on her own. I leaned over and said that in real life, she and I were out together, but for this, we had to bring all of them with us. I was looking at at least one overweight out of shape coronary in group. So, she sat there with us but did not say much.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 5 months ago
    I have always carried a pocket knife ever since I was a boy scout. So has my son, and my grandson. Unlike me, however, they have both taken survivalist training and would be good people to have around in an emergency. I'm not sure whether or not I am prone to falling into difficult situations, but having that pointy folding thing in my pocket has helped me many times in the course of my life. I highly recommend it, even before I'd recommend a gun.
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  • Posted by mia767ca 3 years, 5 months ago
    i was an Air Force/Airline Pilot for 40 years...the airplanes have a locator beacon which should activate on crash landing and stay on for a number of days...unless you are in a multidimensional pilot for "Lost: Part II", you should have help arrive within hours...there should be flares in the airplane and a hatchet and other survival gear...but always bring hot dogs and marshmellows...and remember the Captain's last duty is to make sure the liquor cart survives...that was the only thing "Captain Scully" did wrong landing in the Hudson...he forgot to bring the liquor cart onto the wing as he exited...lol
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 5 months ago
      I have a story about the locator beacon... I must have covered it in the reading, and I had two different ground schools, but I never experienced it until one night... After I was signed off to solo at night, I reserved a plane. When I got there, the office was closed and the plane was on the ramp. So, I let myself in with the key code, got the key for the plane, did the pre-flight, etc., and took off. But there was this annoying ping-ping-ping in the headset. I got into the pattern and began fiddling with the radio, but I could not shut off the ping-ping-ping on any frequency. I was circling the airport doing this and that for long minutes. Then I saw a car pull up, drive to the runway, and a guy get out. Well, OK, who is that at this time of night? So, I landed and taxied to the office. After everything was off, I got out and walked over to him. He introduced himself as an FAA guy dispatched from Virginia because of an emergency beacon at this location. It did not take him long to show me how to shut it off.

      When I got home, my wife was sitting in the kitchen wide-eyed but happy to see me. She had been asleep when the FAA called to ask her my whereabouts.

      That incident was after the survival exercise, or I would have been very smart by experience about an otherwise arcane fact.
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  • Posted by  $  Stormi 3 years, 5 months ago
    I usually have a knife in my purse and car. However, as a reporter, I found the worst lit parking lots were at the law enforcement facilities I had to frequent late at nite in two towns. My knife would get me stopped at the door, so I always had to leave it in the car. My solution to being safe was a very nice sharp hoof pick, which make it through everywhere. Airlines will take your mace, pepper spray or knife, but usually not your hoof pick. On a note about these exercises, which our daughter had to do in health class, they went farther, into who would be sacrificed for food, based on who could reproduce to form a society, and how to barter sex to get what you wanted. It told them which individuals to value. Tax dollars at work, disgusting.
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 5 months ago
    I haven;t had a reason to fly for years.
    But for GP leaving home in a car, I think I'll start carrying pocket knife which I have and lighter which I also have since I quit smoking five years ago.
    I carry a concealed pistol but that alone can't solve every unforeseeable problem that may unexpectedly crop up.
    Better to carry more than you need than what may prove to be less,
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  • Posted by term2 3 years, 5 months ago
    We should carry a few things in the trunks of our cars ALWAYS though. A knife is a good thing, as well as a few basic tools like screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrenches (2), duct tape, electrical tape, a few bottles of water, and a first aid kit. There are a few others that would be handy, but I cant remember them right now.
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  • Posted by  $  Snezzy 3 years, 5 months ago
    We did this exercise where I worked a great number of years ago. One of my buddies disagreed with everyone else. His plan, his answer?

    "The pistol. Once I have that, everything else is easy. There will be no arguments."

    In my regular work now, working with horses, I always carry a knife, even when providing pony rides for little children. There is usually a cheap cigarette lighter in my truck, too. They're tools for making repairs to rope and cord, among other things.

    Some fine day I may discover that in order to bring my pony ride in to a public school, I must surrender my knife. What will happen? I'll simply take my ponies and leave.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 years, 5 months ago
    After that answer...did you get your license?
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 5 months ago
      Yes. I soloed there. In all, I had a dozen instructors, mostly Michigan and Ohio, but also Texas and Florida. I was visiting flight schools, and writing about them for regional pilot periodicals. Although I logged 100 hours, 50 of them solo, I never completed the certificate. I ran into a medical problem, and ran out of money.
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 5 months ago
        One of my customers was a flight instructor. It occurred to me that a 20th century man should know how to fly. I took my lessons and finally did a sweaty solo that I thought stunk, but the instructor said was great. I never went further than that since I was too busy, but mostly couldn't afford a plane and all that went with it. (Two kids for college I thought. As it turned out, they took care of it themselves.)
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        • Posted by  $  TomB666 3 years, 5 months ago
          As a former flight instructor I can tell you: any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.
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          • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 5 months ago
            I was flying a little Buccaneer. As I was trying to land the wind kept shifting forcing me to continuously line back up on the runway. I later found out that because the airport was surrounded by lakes this was a common thing. Anyhow, halfway down the runway I was still 10 feet high and I thought now or never pushed the stick down hit the ground and rolled to a stop. Good thing they had long runways. I thought for sure I would need a change of underwear.
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        • Posted by  $  3 years, 5 months ago
          It is the flying itself that is the reward. Once you get in the cockpit, you enter a different world. It is a known that people take lessons until they solo, then being satisfied that they did it, they move on.
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          • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 5 months ago
            Exactly what happened to me. I don't regret one moment of the experience, but I do fantasize now and then about getting a refurbished older plane and taking out once in a while. But I'm not wanting to get a divorce.
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      • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 5 months ago
        Hah much the same. A matter of eyes and depth perception at speed. Ultra Lites were no problem nor were parachutes. but something like hitting a baseball. I was told an eventual cataract operation would solve all that. Either way the cataract operation is still unavailable in the US due to cost and lack of the requisite Size Three. In Mexico such conditions are treated at 40% of US pricing at age 19..Thank your tort and trial lawyers for that. You get to have perfect eyesight just in time to navigate a wheel chair.
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      • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 years, 5 months ago
        When in the service stationed in Colorado I wanted to take flight lessons...it was cheap but couldn't muster the time...probably a good thing...I was kind of a dare devil in those days.
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        • Posted by  $  3 years, 5 months ago
          There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots. Flying and daredevilling are contradictory, sort of the way that the discipline of martial arts changes a bully. In the same vein, where I work right now (National Guard armory), they have "Murphy's Laws of Combat" on the wall: Do not stand with the bravest guy, stand with the oldest one.
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