Re: So, how safe are oxygen generators in their INTENDED location?

From:         gsmoff@Mcs.Net (Gary S. Moffitt)
Organization: MCSNet Internet Services
Date:         01 Jun 96 16:27:11 
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In article <airliners.1996.829@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
(Daniel P. B. Smith) wrote:

The newspaper stories say emergency oxygen is generated
> by a chemical system, and the generators get as hot as 500 degrees Fahrenheit
> in use.

> Naturally, this leads me to wonder: if it is dangerous to carry them as
> cargo, just how safe is it to have them "stored" in the overhead
> compartments?

A good point.  I am an airline mechanic and have never been able to
recieve a satisfactory for that question although I have sought an answer
from our maintenence training department for several years.  I can say
this, accidental mask deployments and subsequent activation of the oxygen
generators, while rare, are not especially uncommon.  And none of these
accidental deployments has ever led to any fires on our aircraft.
Additionally, it would be difficult for a cannister to activate
accidentally since it is the pull on the lanyard attatched to the mask
that fires them, so the chance of a cannister going off without first
dropping the oxygen masks is pretty small.  Lack of incidence on an
installed cannister would indicate that they are safe when installed,
especially when the number per aircraft and number of hours flown is
considered.  I have been tempted to discharge one myself to see how hot it
actually got and how hot it made the surrounding area, unfortunately I
think my boss would not approve of the experiment.

Gary S. Moffitt