Valorien
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Which North American Routes Require Rafts Onboard?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:19 pm

My post got deleted by the moderators so I am sorry if any of you responded--I didn't get a chance to read anything.

I was wondering which routes within North America (U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and Central America) require aircraft to contain Life Rafts.

Anything to Hawaii is a given, I know, I'm just wondering what else.
 
Mir
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RE: Which North American Routes Require Rafts Onboard?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:38 pm

Anything further than 50 nautical miles from shore will require rafts, at least in the Part 135 world. However, there aren't a lot of routes that fall into that category. The first routes that come to mind are routes between Florida and points west that pass over the Gulf of Mexico. The other would be flights between South Florida (PBI, FLL, MIA, etc.) and the northeast that go overwater between Florida and North Carolina. But taking the longer route along the coast doesn't add all that much distance - maybe 50 or 60nm. So you're not at too much of a disadvantage if you don't have the rafts onboard.

-Mir
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N62NA
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RE: Which North American Routes Require Rafts Onboard?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:50 pm

I'll add that it is interesting that AA usually flies MIA-EWR over land, while UA flies MIA-EWR over water up to Wilmington NC.

Also, flights from South Florida to MSY, IAH, DFW, PHX, LAX take the short cut over the Gulf of Mexico, so those would be "overwater" flights.
 
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longhauler
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RE: Which North American Routes Require Rafts Onboard?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:53 pm

Canadian rules are a little different.

No water emergency equipment is required up to 50 nm from shore. Over 50 nm and up to 400 nm, then life jackets are required, beyond 400 miles life rafts or slide/rafts are required.

For Caribbean flying, that would mean that lift rafts are generally required for routing's from JFK to the outer Caribbean. Technically, from JFK to BDA, no rafts are required, but south of BDA they are. I say technically, only as HF is required for routing's south of JFK into New York Oceanic, so our HF equipped aircraft are also raft equipped, so it is never an issue.

For non HF/raft aircraft flying to the Caribbean (it does happen) they are routed south of CLB to 190nm north of NAS, then they follow the islands to the Caribbean. It adds about 300 nm to an ANU flight, and is about the same for the other end of the Caribbean, AUA.

Within continental North America, no rafts are required ... however, Life Jacket Demos are required for Florida flights, as well as flights crossing the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of St Lawrence and Lake Superior.
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Valorien
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RE: Which North American Routes Require Rafts Onboard?

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:31 pm

Thanks for the information guys. One of the important things to note, N62NA, is that American, unlike most carriers, keeps their domestic and international fleets separate. They consider "International" as any routing that requires "over water equipment and qualification. So, that means that the aircraft and the crews are completely separate in the two operations. I hear that they're going to try to change this (meaning, combine the domestic and international operation) after they emerge from bankruptcy.
 
AAR90
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RE: Which North American Routes Require Rafts Onboard?

Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:14 pm

For AA (and most if not all USA airlines), only life vests are required for...

Limited Extended Overwater Operations are authorized to the offshore areas adjoining the 48 contiguous United States, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Islands within the following geographical areas / offshore distances:

1. The west coast of the U.S., no more than 100 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline. (Alaska coast is excluded; 50 N.M. limit applies.)
2. The east coast of the U.S., 35 degrees north latitude and above, no more than 100 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline.
3. The east and south coasts of the U.S., below 35 degrees north latitude, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, no more than 162 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline.
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fxra
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RE: Which North American Routes Require Rafts Onboard?

Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:25 am

FAR 121.339 spells out the requirements for extended overwater safety euipment requirements. Extended overwater is defined to be more than 50 NM from land.

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 5):
For AA (and most if not all USA airlines), only life vests are required for...

Limited Extended Overwater Operations are authorized to the offshore areas adjoining the 48 contiguous United States, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Islands within the following geographical areas / offshore distances:

1. The west coast of the U.S., no more than 100 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline. (Alaska coast is excluded; 50 N.M. limit applies.)
2. The east coast of the U.S., 35 degrees north latitude and above, no more than 100 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline.
3. The east and south coasts of the U.S., below 35 degrees north latitude, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, no more than 162 nautical miles from the nearest shoreline.

Those requirements are provided by exemption from 121.339, and I'd imagine most every air carrier has the exemption. In addition to the distance requirement, it has to be less than 30 minutes flying time with an engine inop. Usually the mileage is the restrictive limit. The difference in mileage are based on the average ocean temps of those areas of the world. Interestingly, at least for us, the exemption only applies to off the coast of the US, thus anywhere else int he world, the 50 NM rules (per the FAR) are in effect.
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