Cabin Depressurization

Date:         31 Dec 99 02:09:40 
From:         "P. Wezeman" <pwezeman@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu>
Organization: The University of Iowa
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	Following the ValueJet fire and crash in Florida there was
an article published in a magazine, it might have been the Atlantic
Monthly, in which the author stated that at any given time there
was a maximum atainable level of safety in aviation. There was
a point of diminishing returns in adding safety features and
equipment, since the safety equipment could itself malfunction,
as had happened in the case of the ValueJet.

	The author also stated that emergency oxygen systems
on airliners had never saved a single life. Is this true? Any
counterexamples? I know of at least three explosive decompressions
where most of the passengers survived: the DC-10 where the cargo
door blew out over Canada, the Aloha Air 737 where the top of the
forward fuselage came off, and the 747 that lost a cargo door
over the Pacific. Did oxygen systems help in any of these cases?

                             thank you,

                        Peter Wezeman, anti-social Darwinist

                             "Carpe Cyprinidae"