The Cutting Edge

Half Fast

Touchdown! Greaser!
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Half Fast
Looking for opinions and suggestions from the collective wisdom of POA.

For emergencies, I keep a knife clipped to a pocket on the center console of my plane, next to the fire extinguisher and within easy reach of either front seat. It's an assisted-opening folder, liner lock, with a half-serrated blade, a seatbelt cutter, and a hard point on the back of the handle. I'm mostly satisfied with the design, but it's an off-brand so I'm not sure whether it will hold together with hard use. I'd like to know that it's strong enough to help pry open a jammed door or cut through a tangle of wires, so I'm thinking about upgrading.

One of my EDC knives is a CRKT M16 with which I'm very satisfied. I've had it for 20+ years and it's still in great shape. CRKT makes a rescue version of the M16 that includes a belt cutter, and I've been considering it, but for this task I think I prefer something a bit "fatter" that has a larger handle.

Do any of you keep a cockpit knife in the plane? What did you choose and why? Have you ever had to use a knife in an emergency situation and what was your experience?

In a related vein, I'm also thinking about getting a fixed blade to stash in my RON bag along with my other emergency stuff. I'd also consider a Buck 110 instead (great knives; mine is probably 40 years old and still in perfect shape) but I think I want the strength of a full tang. Any opinions or recommendations there?
 
I keep a leatherman in my pilot murse but I have never used it in anger.
 
I keep a leatherman in my pilot murse but I have never used it in anger.

I have a couple of multitools, but I can’t see myself trying to open the correct choice while trying to force my way out of a twisted plane.
 
Not a bad idea. There was an off airport accident I remember where the pilot survived but was unable to open the door as it was apparently bent in the crash. Folks on the ground tried breaking the plexi but weren’t able to.
 
Have you ever had to use a knife in an emergency situation and what was your experience?
The experience was that the buck knife needed a bit of sharpening after being used to open a can because someone forgot to pack a can opener on a camping trip. I think that's the only time I've ever used a knife in an emergency situation.
 
The experience was that the buck knife needed a bit of sharpening after being used to open a can because someone forgot to pack a can opener on a camping trip. I think that's the only time I've ever used a knife in an emergency situation.

Frankly, I’m surprised a Buck didn’t hold an edge better than that. ;)
 
just off the top of my head, it seems like a multi-mission need. Maybe multiple tools would be better.

a multi-tool seems like a good fit mostly, But I agree that for an escape tool, it's not great.
A "z-knife" (or seat belt cutter) makes sense to have within reach.
+ maybe a separate window-breaking tool
There is no need for a deer-skinning knife for those close at hand missions.
I can see something like a small hatchet being maybe handy for getting out, in theory....but then I doubt if you'd likely be in a position to have room to swing it.

The multitool or a short bladed fixed blade knife makes more sense for the survival pack/go bag
 
Frankly, I’m surprised a Buck didn’t hold an edge better than that. ;)
I too have one of those 40+ year old Buck 110 folders. I haven't used mine in many years though. I used to keep mine sharp enough to shave with, back in my hunting days. With that fine edge on it, mine wouldn't hold the edge long. It was from that knife that I started seeing some advantages to a carbon steel blade. May not hold the edge as well as SS, but a whole lot easier to get the edge back.
 
I bought a window-breaking tool that has a seat belt cutter built into the handle.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I don't have any first-hand testimony about the effectiveness of either component however.
 
I keep a leatherman in my pilot murse but I have never used it in anger.
I also carry a Leatherman in my flight bag, but I'd never take it to a gun fight ... ;)
 
I bought a window-breaking tool that has a seat belt cutter built into the handle.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I don't have any first-hand testimony about the effectiveness of either component however.

The window-breakers I’ve seen break glass. Plexiglass, not so much.
 
Unless the airlines steal from me, I don't fly without a Leatherman Charge. When I think there might be an off airport landing over any kind of rough terrain I generally also have a Gerber Strongarm with me within reach.
 
If I were to pack a survival kit in my airplane, extrication isn't a primary requirement. I'm either going down in...

1. The valley. I'm going to be seen. I can probably land. Ugly maybe, but I'll walk from it and people will see me. My requirements are a medical card and a credit card. Maybe a cell phone.

2. The mountains. Desolation Wilderness. Assuming I even survive, which is doubtful, if the impact didn't kill me, I'll probably manage to get my seatbelts open and walk away from the split open carcass of a plane. I will have to tend with bear, deer, cold and no food and not necessarily in that order. I want a big assed Kabar knife, and a survival .22 rifle. And a lot of gin.

3. Downtown Oakland. Presumably I landed on a road. My survival kit will be a quarter key of coke and an AKM.
 
If I were to pack a survival kit in my airplane, extrication isn't a primary requirement. I'm either going down in...

1. The valley. I'm going to be seen. I can probably land. Ugly maybe, but I'll walk from it and people will see me. My requirements are a medical card and a credit card. Maybe a cell phone.

2. The mountains. Desolation Wilderness. Assuming I even survive, which is doubtful, if the impact didn't kill me, I'll probably manage to get my seatbelts open and walk away from the split open carcass of a plane. I will have to tend with bear, deer, cold and no food and not necessarily in that order. I want a big assed Kabar knife, and a survival .22 rifle. And a lot of gin.

3. Downtown Oakland. Presumably I landed on a road. My survival kit will be a quarter key of coke and an AKM.


What about extrication from the plane? My main desire for a knife in the cockpit is to help me get out of a wrecked plane. Seatbelt latch might be jammed or inaccessible, door might be stuck, debris could be in the way, a foot might be trapped, etc.

I like multitools, but I think it would be best to have something that could be deployed with one hand, and many things on a multitool would be unnecessary in that situation.
 
Small heavy duty hatchet with a sharp point on one end for breaking the canopy. Large knife in wing baggage locker along with other survival gear.
 
River kayak or scuba emergency gear requires similar utility- cutting straps, plastic in a hurry.
Might search for some of those.
 

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River kayak or scuba emergency gear requires similar utility- cutting straps, plastic in a hurry.
Might search for some of those.

Yeah, I'm considering something like that. I have a z-knife on my cave diving rig, and for open water I add a knife that has a line cutter and a serrated edge. Plus the knife is full tang and pretty strong for prying, with a squared-off blunt point, and it has a heavy steel pommel for pounding.

Sorta like this:
1708296459492.png
 
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