Emergency Oxygen Masks

From:         gjacobs@qualcomm.com (Gary Jacobs)
Organization: Qualcomm, Inc., San Diego, CA
Date:         Tue, 24 Nov 1992 07:43:50 GMT
Followups:    1
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Having just been involved in a flight where the oxygen masks
were dropped, I'm curious what the test criteria are and how
often is it done?  I'd also like to know what the failure rate
is?

On my flight, America West on a Boeing 737, an oil seal supposedly
failed on the APU for the air conditioning system.  This sent
oily smoke in the cabin.  I assume the cockpit crew decided that
breathing that air wasn't good for the passengers and dropped, or
should I say tried to drop, the emergency oxygen masks.  I'd say
that 1/4 of the overhead doors did not open until they were pried
open by a passenger and then a lot of the masks did not seem to
supply oxygen even after following the "pull hard to start the
flow of oxygen" instructions.  I looked at my mask which didn't 
work and could not tell what the "pull hard" did to start the
oxygen.

Gary Jacobs
gjacobs@qualcomm.com