Slides are not always slide rafts

A slide is not the same thing as a slide raft, correct? 

Slides can be single-lane or dual-lane, however, most slides are single lane only.

Single lane slides can be used as a flotation device and may accommodate an injured person(s) depending on the size of the slide when no slide rafts are available, however, they are considered slides and not slide rafts for the purpose of extended overwater operations. A few key points are:

  • they aren’t structurally designed as slide rafts;
  • they aren’t rated as slide rafts;
  • they don’t have upper and lower chambers for buoyancy;
  • they don’t come equipped with a survival kit.

However, the primary reason they are designated as a slide and not a slide raft is based upon the FAA Technical Service Order (TSO) TSO-C69c, EMERGENCY EVACUATION SLIDES, RAMPS, RAMP/SLIDES, AND SLIDE/RAFTS.

For the slide to be dual-lane, to my knowledge it has a few variables; the width of the aircraft exits, the overall size of the plane (occupancy factor), and the purpose of the slides. If they are to serve as a slide/raft for extended overwater operations, the slide is likely to be a dual lane slide/raft. If not extended overwater operations, the slide may be either a single lane or dual lane. This is truer for the smaller aircraft, such as B 727, 737, A320 family as they may/not fly overwater Some aircraft within the A320 family have slide rafts as they are extended overwater certified and must have the appropriate survival equipment, which includes slide rafts. Larger aircraft, such as B747, 757, 767, 777, 787, A330, A340, A350, A380, etc. will always have dual lane escape slide rafts.

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