Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

By Nick Modders
CFI,CAP,FAAST 

Remember Carla Corbus

 

October 1, 2017

Do you remember Carla Corbus? You should. She helped play a part in keeping you safer on every general aviation flight. Thoughts of Carla should include ELT's, preflight preparation, flight plans, flight following, survival preparations, aeronautical decision making, operational risk management and anything else you can do to survive every flight.

So you don't remember Carla? Carla was in the news in 1967. She was 16 years old. Let me tell you about Carla and why remembering her should be important to you.

Carla's step-father had a really nice Cessna 195 that he used frequently for family travel. In March they took off from Oregon to go to San Francisco. Weather was deteriorating, but off they went. Finally the clouds were in the trees and so was the 195. All on board survived the crash. After a couple of days in the snows of northern California Carla's step-father struck out through the waist deep snow. He was never seen again. Carla's mother died many days after the accident. It took Carla 54 days to starve to death. When a hunter found the downed aircraft and the two skeletons six months later they also found letters and a diary describing their ordeal, which included hearing search aircraft overhead.

So what should Carla's trial mean to you? Think about it. What survival preparations do you take for every flight? At the beginning, do you file a flight plan? Do you carry a portable aviation handheld radio? It could be very handy if you are on the ground listening to search aircraft overhead. What frequency would you use? 121.5 could be a starter but how about the frequency that you were using for Flight Following? You were on it and so is everyone else in that sector.

Do you dress for success? What do you look like when you get into your aeronautical steed on a cold February day. Light clothes? How about something a little more appropriate in case you have to walk home. Survival situations don't have to start in mid-flight. How about if the engine quits during run up and you have to walk back to the FBO? It will be really cold and into the wind. Now nobody wants to look "geeky" and negative. Only negative people would carry a survival kit. How about a small metal container with survival items of your choice. A couple of Granola bars could be worth a million bucks in the right situation. Water? Always good. Something to start a fire? Every little bit of preparation helps

Remember Carla. She's one of the reasons we have ELT's. Think ahead. Be prepared, it makes life a lot easier.

 

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