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QantasLink Dash 8 Liferafts

Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:45 am

Up until the mid-late 2000s, the QantasLink Dash 8 operations to Lord Howe Island had some seats removed, and in their place a large (9-person?) liferaft was placed on a pallet, for use in the event of a ditching on this long overwater sector. A few years ago, I noticed this liferaft is no longer carried. Was there some change in regulations or certification that means that its carriage is no longer required? I can't imagine it would have been carried if it were at all avoidable in the past - removal of even a few seats represents a fairly large proportion of the capacity on a 37-seat aircraft!

In addition, I have noticed that on flights to/from LDH, the underwing exit row seats are never populated. Is this to ensure the path to the exit is clear in a ditching?

The liferaft is referenced in this old safety card:
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RE: QantasLink Dash 8 Liferafts

Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:07 pm

Correct, QLink both Sunstate and Eastern removed the life rafts back in 2006 or 2007 (I think).

From my understanding the reason why, was that CASA changed the rules on the requirements for the carrying of rafts and QLink could then remove the raft from its LDH flights.

There were two types life rafts the Aircruiser Heavyweight and Lightweight used with the Eastern Australia Airlines operation (New South Wales and Victoria division) both holding up to 46 people, one of these were carried on flights out to LDH. These were installed at the underwing exits at row 4 C/D. There was no pallet, all the engineers did was come in and remove one row of seats and the life raft was installed and secured in the area in front of the emergency exit.

Sunstate Airlines (Queensland division) used the Beaufort 20 person life raft and two of these were carried on flights out to LDH placed at row 1 C/D.

In the days where the raft was installed, they tried not to allocate pax in the row where the raft was, mainly for accessibility. Most flights out to LDH were weight restricted due to the amount of cargo carried in the back, so it was not uncommon for the flight leave the east coast with spare seats available.

I believe all they have now is a beacon and a survival kit stored in a box in the forward wardrobe, which is only carried for extended overwater flights e.g. flights out to LDH.
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Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:42 pm

RE: QantasLink Dash 8 Liferafts

Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:54 am

Thanks - just the explanation I was after! I didn't realise they were such high-capacity rafts.

Even now, row 4 is left empty on LDH sectors, which I've always thought weird.
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