16th CAB aviation water survival training
1 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB aviation water survival training
2 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army AH-64E Apache pilots assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade submerge in a simulated aircraft during water survival training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015. This training prepares pilots to handle emergencies in a... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB aviation water survival training
3 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army AH-64E Apache pilot assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade takes a deep breath after surfacing during water survival training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015. This training prepares pilots to handle emergencies ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB aviation water survival training
4 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army AH-64E Apache pilot assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade practices swimming in flight gear during water survival training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015. This training prepares pilots to handle emergencies in... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB aviation water survival training
5 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army AH-64E Apache pilots assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade submerge in a simulated aircraft during water survival training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015. This training prepares pilots to handle emergencies in a... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB aviation water survival training
6 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army AH-64E Apache pilots assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade receive instruction from a U.S. Navy diver during water survival training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015. This training prepares pilots to handle emerge... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB aviation water survival training
7 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Army AH-64E Apache pilot assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade practices swimming in flight gear during water survival training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015. This training prepares pilots to handle emergencies in... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB aviation water survival training
8 / 9 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army AH-64E Apache pilots assigned to 16th Combat Aviation Brigade practice emergency oxygen use with the assistance of U.S. Navy divers during water survival training at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015. This training prepa... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
16th CAB pilot water survival training
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NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. - As the Army increases its mission in the Pacific, pilots used to flying over deserts or mountains are suddenly confronted with open water on all sides, and they have to prepare for the unique challenges of an emergency in that environment.

"Seattle has some of the busiest airspace in the country. Eventually you're going to be over the water. This makes you more comfortable," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shawn Witt.

Wearing all of their normal flight gear, the pilots learned how to remain calm in swirling waters even while wearing blacked-out goggles.

"It was tough. There's no substitute for being put in the dunker and being turned upside down and having water up your nose and then having to find your way out," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chris Muir.

Some of the pilots struggled to master the skills required to safely get out of the simulated aircraft while it was diving and spinning underwater, but the training was invaluable.

"We're giving them survival skills," said Lt. Cmdr. David McEttrick, the director of the Aviation Training Survival Center at Whidbey Island, "God, you hope they never have to use it, but if they do, they have it."