Some multiplace aircraft carry the seven-man raft. It is a component of the survival drop kit (Figure 16-12). This raft may inflate upside down and require you to right the raft before boarding. Always work from the bottle side to prevent injury if the raft turns over. Facing into the wind, the wind provides additional help in righting the raft. Use the handles on the inside bottom of the raft for boarding (Figure 16-13).
Use the boarding ramp if someone holds down the raft's opposite side. If you don't have help, again work from the bottle side with the wind at your back to help hold down the raft. Follow the steps outlined in the note under raft procedures above. Then grasp an oarlock and boarding handle, kick your legs to get your body prone on the water, and then kick and pull yourself into the raft. If you are weak or injured, you may partially deflate the raft to make boarding easier (Figure 16-14).
Use the hand pump to keep the buoyancy chambers and cross seat firm. Never overinflate the raft.
Twenty- or Twenty-Five-Man Rafts
You may find 20- or 25-man rafts in multiplace aircraft (Figures 16-15 and 16-16). You will find them in accessible areas of the fuselage or in raft compartments. Some may be automatically deployed from the cock-pit, while others may need manual deployment. No matter how the raft lands in the water, it is ready for boarding. A lanyard connects the accessory kit to the raft and you retrieve the kit by hand. You must manually inflate the center chamber with the hand pump. Board the 20- or 25-man raft from the aircraft, if possible. If not, board in the following manner:
Approach the lower boarding ramp.
Remove your life preserver and tether it to yourself so that it trails behind you.
Grasp the boarding handles and kick your legs to get your body into a prone position on the water's surface; then kick and pull until you are inside the raft.
An incompletely inflated raft will make boarding easier. Approach the intersection of the raft and ramp, grasp the upper boarding handle, and swing one leg onto the center of the ramp, as in mounting a horse (Figure 16-17).
Immediately tighten the equalizer clamp upon entering the raft to prevent deflating the entire raft in case of a puncture (Figure 16-18).
Use the pump to keep these rafts' chambers and center ring firm. They should be well rounded but not overly tight.