Category Archives: Aviation

Surviving the Crash

This morning a little girl is lucky to be alive after her and her father went down in a small aircraft this weekend. She came out in good condition with only minor injuries. Unfortunately her daddy did not survive.

One of my fears is going down in an aircraft with Abby. We train so that we know what to do if something happens to me.

One of my fears is going down in an aircraft with Abby. We train so that we know what to do if something happens to me.

As a private pilot who travels with his daughter, this is the scenario that scares me. Often where we fly, we do not have cell reception like they did in this weekend’s case. Often, a survivor of back country aircraft accidents are  seriously injured and do not have immediate means for reaching the outside world. In many cases even if in cell range, phones are either lost, trapped, or damaged upon impact.

Abby and I have trained specifically for this scenario. Not only do we keep a survival kit in the plane, but each of us has a PSK (Personal Survival Kit) on us, so that if we or one of us escapes with just what we have on us- we have as a minimum the basics to survive. In addition, Adventure IQ offers aviation specific training to back country pilots and FREE training to General Aviation (non-commercial rated) Pilots. All they have to do is book with us.

Hard skills are just part of it. We also train the best we can for PMA- Positive Mental Attitude- this means training by herself on cold, wet, and rainy days with me observing from a distance.

Hard skills are just part of it. We also train the best we can for PMA- Positive Mental Attitude- this means training by herself on cold, wet, and rainy days with me observing from a distance.

We have the basics of what goes into a kit here.

For the PSK- it should be small and compact. A fly fishing vest is a great place to store all this stuff. Propper even has a tactical vest that we have been using in the back country for close to a year now and holds a decent amount of gear comfortably.

This is a sad case and hope my kiddo never ha s to face it. If you fly, please book training with us for both you and your family.

Here is the original article from this weekend’s crash

iPad Apps for the Business Side of Adventure

I wanted to put together a quick article on apps I use when on the go– mostly for international travel and not so much in my rig.  Having apps on the iPad really helps when negotiating a  price on a gift, finding a hotel, or just finding where you are. While there are productivity apps I use such as BossJock for the podcast and GeoCaching for well…geocaching, these are more to keep my business life going well so I can enjoy my adventure time. So here is a brief breakdown of whats on my pad whether I’m doing a workshop in Asia or meeting a client in Europe.

Concur

Concur

I suck at numbers and every admin I have ever had hates the way I keep track of expenses. This tool keeps me organized and even helps me set up AMEX payments. Now I can manage expenses as they occur on trips and in the field. I can even photograph and upload my receipts using the iPad camera and itemize charges to expedite the expense reporting process.

Maps

Maps

First, I miss Google Maps. Stuck with this on the iPad though, it works as a navigational tool, using GPS location to help map routes on highways and mass transit systems. nearby, saving time in the field.

Urban Spoon

Urbanspoonr

This has been more successful in the US and I honestly have not tried it abroad (yet). The app  searches the area for restaurants, cafes and other eateries. It leverages a ranking system and list  results by distance and price. I found I can even look for specific types of food as well as to rate and socialy share suggestions.

Currency

Currency

A must for international travel. It provides up-to-date currency exchange rate information for most common currencies.

Gate Guru

GateGuru

Remember O.J. running through the airport trying to catch a plane? That was before he was fleeing in a white Bronco or breaking into hotel rooms. GateGuru provides real-time flight status information including up-to-date information on security lines, just what I need…another reason to stress. 

Square Peg Expeditions

Tonight was answering an email from someone in the expo community I highly respect and growing friendship I cherish. I won’t let on who that was, if they chose they can post up on either the Facebook page or here on the blog.

An excellent point was made on fitting into the crowd. In Seth Godin’s work in “Tribes”. Seth contends that it is natural and in fact, people are desperate to believe in the elusive ‘something’ whether it’s religion, human rights, trail access, or in our case, adventure of places new and unique. unfortunately, there is a despair when the group is going nowhere, yet still committed to believing in the “one thing”. This is where it is essential for leadership in the Tribes equation.

There has been an exciting movement in the Overlanding Tribe, mainly with the Overland Expo event and the Expedition Portal forums. This has been a place for like-minded adventurers and expedition participants to meet and share ideas. But as many Tribes grow, there begins to be certain cliques that evolve. I have already noticed that in the forums there has been a minor divergence of “elitist” who have grown impatient with the weekend adventure postings, the “Jeepers”, rock-crawlers, and those mainly focused on just equipment enhancements.

This is an easy crowd to quickly feel like an outcast. Most of us have day jobs, work towards the few weeks a year we can get away from the boss, pull off an amazing adventure traversing a few states on dirt, maybe a smattering of weekend adventures, and all on a budget. Some of us get lucky and wind up doing a gear review or perhaps a sponsor. When compared to the guy who traverses Antarctica in a rig, the team that explores 5 continents in a year, or makes a pilgrimage to the Mayan ruins, well our feats can feel a bit small. On top of that, going to an annual rendezvous each year to learn about our discipline and not being accepted as equals can leave one a bit jaded.

Truth is for me, while it is a great commitment to unplug and travel the world, I have found it is even a greater commitment to stay plugged in. To be a father and committed husband. While I dream about going to great destinations, my destiny is to be there when my little girl needs a Daddy when she wakes from a bad dream.

I refuse to be labeled as an adventurer because of a $300 camp chair, $100 cooking pot, or $75 shirt. While we still use high-end gear where it makes sense, and will endorse high-end gear when it is something we honestly use, we will not allow product to define us. It’s not the vehicle, the rack, or even the places you go to explore. It is the spirit of adventure and exploration you choose to embrace.

I love the life I have and thankful for a company that financial supports my expeditions in exchange for my trade. I love being on the road with my family, but last night hanging out on a couch doing story time with my family was awesome.

We explore our backyards and backroads….we spend weekends not weeks on end. We traversed Idaho on dirt and probably had the same feeling as those who explored Africa by Land Rover.
In place of high-end sponsors, We have steady jobs that support our adventures, and in most cases understanding employers.
While the expo world has a standard for keeping food cool, we store our pantry in a Coleman we bought on sale, not a fridge from ARB unless we give up a few pleasures or get a great tax return.
Though an Africa to Asia tour may be not be on the horizon, just as many memories are made in finding a dirt road route to Arco a familiar place on a map.

There will be a day when many of us will do a third-world trip for an extended period of time. Some of us will get to spend several months traversing a new country. A few will have the opportunity to be professional transients. It is not those trips that make us explorers, for the adventures we live now will have already made us as that long before we step off.

No we don’t fit the mold…we are Square Peg Expeditions…we support our adventures through hard work and sacrifice…and we are about to ream out the round-hole world….

Our adventures define us…not the adventure cliques, clothes, or having the recognized brand…

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ACR Firefly Strobe- Product Failure

I take my survival gear very serious. When I product meets our demands, we let you know. When it fails….you get that side as well.

I have been a long time fan of ACR, and I am surprised that the Firefly strobe failed….epically failed.
The device is designed to be a beacon signal should you get in trouble when out doing any number of activites such as boating, skiing, hunting, hiking, etc. It includes a lanyard ideal for securing to your gear. It has an O-ring designed to keep it water-proof and the beacon is omni-directional to improve the odds it is seen by rescuers for a rated distance of two miles. It also tested true to the ability to float. It uses easy to find AA batteries, which is what most of my lights, GPS, FSR, and other electronics use. Easy to find anywhere or I can simply scavenge from another device.

Where the Firefly Plus has failed is in construction of the battery compartment. When any of my electronic gear is not in use, I store it with out the batteries (although I do velcro a fresh set to the device so I don’t forget them). This morning as I opened up the strobe to place a couple of AA’s in the battery tray, one of the springs popped out. Thisnunit is less than a year old. (4 May 2012).

After several attempts to fix it, I have determined that it is not repairable. So here is the issue: Imagine I was depending on this unit to signal a rescue craft it would have failed me. If I had been using the strobe to attract attention, and needed to change batteries, it would have failed me. If this was in my kid’s survival pack (and there is) and she needed it if she was lost….you get the point.

Like my Spot GPS and other devices, I have carried my strobe with me in the Jeep on overlanding trips, in the kayak on river expeditions and island hopping trips, in my back country aviation trips, even carry-on luggage when flying commercial aircraft (especially third-world trips).

Again, I think ACR makes great products and still have many in my bag. Unfortunatly, until this one is rectified, this one will not be in our survival kits, nor will we present it at our seminars. At present time we do not recommend. I have attempted, but not been in contact with ACR on the issue and the retailer has recommended I contact ACR since I could not find my receipt.

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The Adventure of…..Building Brands, Blogs, and Brains

So its been awhile since we did an actual blog. Still trying to figure out the best way to post the podcast on here…it does an autofeed so I really don’t see it until its posted up.

Much of our work has been focused on helping other adventurers with understanding their strengths, assisting in mind mapping books and articles for others, and helpingnteams set up their own personal branding.

All of this has been exciting to work in, and although it has taken us from our own adventures, we have grown from it as well.

This morning I worked with a client who has had a steady career, but due to the still struggling economy, has faced not only job loss, but a cut in hours at her new gig. All of this as she prepares for a major expedition. Our main focus shifted from understanding her leadership and thinking preferences to defining and communicating her personal brand.

Most of this has not been on the forefront of most adventurerures….but here is why we think it is important….

Personal Branding

For most of us, our expeditions and journeys are paid for through the hard work of our daily gig. Doctors, retail clerks, teachers, the guy who hands out baskets at the local discount store….we don’t have major sponsors, we work, save, take on extra hours, sell our stuff on craigslist. When we lose a gig it not only impacts rent, mortgage, and repayment of loans…it its our ability to do that trip we have been planning.

When we have to get a new gig, everyone out there has a resume. The difference maker is what we do while we have a gig. I strongly recommend networking, but more than that, getting involved in social media. Having a solid presence on Facebook, a sepperate page from your personal one, where you can share your insights, “like” pages that share your interest or places that could potentially hire you, network with others in your field, etc. On top of that, post often…if you are a mechanic or a welder, show off your work, post info about the latest trend in your industry, tell about a class you went to…. This is all good information for the next fab shop to have in the front of their mind when you post up after your shop closes down and you need a job.

Linking facebook, twitter, tumblr, and other social media is important. If you like to talk, do a podcast and publish that as well. Are you a nurse, do a youtube video series on packing a firstaid kit….and don’t forget about other sites such as Linked In.

The point is, be an expert. Have 15-20 topics you can easily discuss, and do a video, blog, or a podcast. Be sure your local network has access to this info…

Emergenetics

We have been intrigued by this work and use it specifically for helping both teams and individuals understand how they think and behave. I won’t go into detail here because we have already featured this, but it is a service we offer. We believe that this is the single best tool to help adventure and expedition teams as they prep for an upcomming journey. Our focus is specific to adventure and expedition, although the bulk of our work is in the corporate environmnet.

Strong Presentation Skills

The ability to talk about your adventure, an expedition you have just returned from, an elevator pitch to a sponsor, or asking someone for a gig is important. I am amazed the same people who polish their skills and expertise, travel the world with expertise, are sent out by churches, non-profs, and humanitarian groups absolutly suck when they are asked to present. At best you get boring, more boring, and completly disinteresting….

We recommend a presentation workshop that is tailored to your specific needs. Sorry, that org that has you mastering toast falls way short of the skills you need to present to a sponsor, give a mission recap to the folks that invested in you, or the 30 second pitch you need to give when walking a resume in.

Understanding how to sell yourself and your ideas, get a new gig, and building your own personal brand is just as important as knowing how to build an emergency fire, put in a clutch, or plan a mountaineering trip.

Basic Survival Kit (Aviation)

The last two nights I have taught a mini-seminar for my aero club. One of the request was for a survival kit list. After not finding one on my own website ( I was sure it was transferred … so I thought…) here is a basic kit. Most of this should be placed in the vest and the vest should be worn by the pilot. Auxiliary items such as fleece jacket/shirt and the 70 oz of water should be in a pack in the back of the plane.

The reason the vest is worn is in case the crew has to egress the aircraft and either cannot get to the survival bag or is too injured to do so. (Imagine trying to crawl over the back seat of a 172 and digging around for a bag with busted up ribs, etc)

Below id the basic list of we went through in class– and with all list like this– modify to your needs, experience, and terrain and weather you are flying in. Additionally if you have passengers, you will want to increase these items as needed.

  • Signaling
    • Whistle
    • Mirror
    • Strobe
    • Smoke
  • Shelter
    • Space Blanket (red or orange)
    • 25’ Para Cord
  • Fire Kit
    • Striker
    • Tinder
    • Cotton Balls/ Dryer Lint
    • Rubber Inner-tube (1×3)
    • Candles
  • First Aid Kit
  • Navigation
    • Map
    • Compass
    • GPS
  • Water
    • Minimum 70 oz
    • Ceramic Filter
    • Puri Tabs
  • Head Gear (fleece hat and/or boonie hat- should be hunter orange)
  • Solid fuel tabs
  • Small metal cup
  • Power Bars/ Energy Bars
  • Air Force Survival Knife
  • Multi-tool
  • 50’ Para Cord
  • Light-weight fleece shirt
  • Lights
    • Head Lamp
    • Small Flash Light

 

Aviation survival is often focused on the aircraft mishap- and we often forget that a survival situation can begin simply when we fly into the back country on a Sunday afternoon and when leaving a beautiful grass strip we had to ourselves for the day…becomes a little more permanent when the battery dies or the starter fails.

Firepuck Demo and Review

As many of you know—I have been burned (no pun intended) by survival products I have purchased in the past. Sometimes the concept is great, works well in the lab, works well in limited field testing, fails when you really need it.

I am also conscious of where I spend my hard-earned dollars. Sometimes though I have to be aware that there are guys out there that may not have the same experience as me, so I have to think about the guy or gal who is new to the woods, is cold in the woods, or the person who pulls up to a camp site and has to get it quickly situated.

Okay, enough of the prelude, let me tell you about a product we strongly endorse… Firepuck.

This is by far one of the coolest things (there is that pun thing again) we have tested in a long time. I can start fires with everything from shotgun shells to belly button lint. If you have been to one of my seminars we do just that. I will still carry a couple of these. This is a great way to get a fire started whether you are a survival expert or the guy who has to start the fire pit in the backyard.

Starting with the stats, this thing burns at 1400 degrees.  To get a fire going you need oxygen, fuel, and heat. If your fuel source is wet it is going to be difficult to light. Put yourself in a situation where you are hypothermic and all sources are wet, you are in deep trouble if you can’t get a fire going. I won’t matter how many cotton balls you can light with flint and steel, wet fuel source means trouble. The advantage of the hot temps produced by the Firepuck is that not only does it provide quick ignition of your fuel source, it actually dries your source.

For our test I soaked seasoned pine in a 5 gallon bucket for approximately 60 hours. (I had intended to do it for only 48 hours, but got side- tracked so the wood stayed submerged and extra day.) I then used a modified Tee-Pee build for the fire with no other kindling. Please check out the video for more perspective.

The Firepuck is easy to use. It has a friction based ignition system integrated into the cap. It took me three attempts in the video to light it…this is because I was a pansy and was over-cautious. In reality, like all of you laughing at my failure in the video.  I was impressed with how concentrated the flame source was, a feature you want in high wind conditions. Unlike all those cotton balls I fill with petroleum jelly, this product is petroleum free.

One of the points made about the product is that it is not water proof. Honestly, there are not a lot of products that are truly waterproof that are this easy to use when it comes to fire starting. This can be made water proof though by using either a Mylar bag also sold by Firepuck or a Zipper style baggie. I am currently testing one in a zipper baggie with two small moisture tabs (designed to pull moisture out) and will test that next week. They are sitting in a backpack in the downpour we have been receiving off-and-on the past few days. They show no signs of taking on moisture at all.

What I like about this product is that you don’t have to be an expert to use it. It takes the guess-work out of staying alive. I would ensure that I don’t use it at the back end of my jeep, in doors as a gag, or substitute it for birthday candles. I also like that it does not leave residue like a road flare would, and for the same size of a flare, I can carry six of these.

I will be carrying these in my EMT/ Wilderness Rescue bag, survival bag, and in my vehicles. If you buy anything new to go into your survival or camping kit, this should be first on the list. I would also include this on a list of something to keep on hand for those back yard parties where you have a firepit. This is a no hassle way to get a fire going for your guest.

Checkout the video on YouTube

 Be sure to check out Firepuck at their website for more info.