Evolution UA-80 life vest provides under-arm floatation
When most people think of life vests, they likely picture yokes that are worn around the user's neck. Switlik Survival Products' new UA-80 Evolution Vest takes what is claimed to be a better approach, however, by going under the arms.
Reportedly the first FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)-approved device of its kind, the UA-80 is designed for constant-wear use by professional aviators and flight crews. It incorporates a two-chamber inflatable air bladder, which was inspired by one designed for the US Army Aircrew Combat Equipment (ACE) program.
When not activated, the UA-80 is simply worn over a flight suit, looking pretty much like a regular vest. Gear can be stowed in its front pockets and loops.
Should the wearer end up in the water, they just pull the vest's inflation handle. Doing so releases a compressed air cylinder, which inflates the bladder. That bladder goes across the chest and under the arms, providing over 80 lb (36 kg) of buoyancy.
The UA-80's design not only holds the wearer's head and arms higher out of the water than a yoke, but it also doesn't get in the way of a helmet or other head gear. Additionally, should the user be rendered unconscious, the inflated bladder will automatically bring them into a stable, face-up orientation. That bladder is protected by an abrasion-, fire- and puncture-resistant multi-layer Cordura nylon outer covering.
Other features include reflective patches and a locator light for spotting the user at night, along with a grab handle for pulling them out of the water.
The UA-80 Evolution Vest is available now for preorder, priced at US$795. Its features are demonstrated in the video below.
Source: Switlik Survival Products