Flight crews given jungle survival training

8th Jan 2015
Written by: Dave Owen

Brazilian flight crew are hard as nails

You commonly expect flight attendants to be serving peanuts, fending off unwanted sexual advances, and stretching their production line smiles to breaking point while children (or adults) are sick on their shoes. It’s easy to forget that they’re also trained to save your ungrateful life if something goes horribly wrong.

Brazilian airline TAM has decided to robustly overhaul the skills of its flight crew by requiring all of them to complete hardcore Amazon jungle survival training before they can start work.

The Brazilian government requires any airline in the country to supply such training as, despite its depletion, the Amazon rainforest still covers 60% of the country. Were a plane to go down somewhere in the jungle, it could take a rescue crew days or more to reach them.

Given that most people’s idea of surviving in the jungle is eating a miscellany of animal testicles and trying not to punch Ant and/or Dec, you would probably need quite a lot of help were you to suddenly find yourself a resident of the Amazon.

TAM has spent a whopping $2 million on a training facility in Sao Paulo to turn its staff into ersatz Rambos. There’s a swimming pool to teach emergency landing procedures, a maze filled with smoke and supplied with a dummy to be rescued, and a large outdoor area where staff are taught to utilise plane debris to build attractive shelters and toilets, and to use flares and life jackets to draw a giant arrow on the ground to signal other planes.

On average, every TAM flight attendant undergoes one refresher course a year. Also, on average, every TAM flight attendant could kick your arse.

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