Re: Cabin Depressurization

Date:         03 Mar 2000 23:25:41 
From:         Pete Mellor <pm@csr.city.ac.uk>
References:   1
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On 10 Feb 2000, Pete Finlay wrote:
> It is a FAA rule. Doesn't apply as far as the CAA are concerned. We
> *only* ever use the masks for things like smoke in the flight deck or
> cabin, or if we depressurize, not as a matter of routine. On a
> commercial aircraft under CAA rules, there must be a mask available for
> every seat in the flight deck. They are nearly always quick-donning
> masks, and we can put them on in seconds. On Concorde, you have to be
> able to demonstrate that you can put the mask on (from a standing
> start!), breathe and talk within 11 seconds. 747 Classic masks are
> usually able to be put on a bit quicker because they are not pressure
> breathing masks, which Concorde's are.
>
> When you sat on the flight deck, the masks were there, they just
> probably didn't point them out to you. I think that they should have
> done so. I know we point out the masks if we have anyone sitting on the
> flight deck.

The flight that I wrote about (cruising at FL450) was Cathay Pacific.
I do not know which authority regulates them. (No doubt I'm about to
learn! :-)

Of the many occasions I have occupied a jump seat, only once was the
oxygen mask pointed out to me. (This was when a BA pilot kindly arranged
for me to fly on an A320 to Inverness and back, to give me a demonstration
of its control system's capabilities.)

He gave me a thorough safety briefing before take-off. This included the
location and use of the oxygen mask. (Yes, there is a mask for every
seat including jump seats, and mine was located in a box a mere couple
of feet at most from the seat - easily reachable and donnable.) He also
pointed out the safety escape ropes and how to open the window in order
to deploy them.

Given that an ancient motorcycle accident deprived me of the use of
my left arm, I might not have been too successful at escaping from
the window on the ground, but I am sure the oxygen mask would have posed
no problem even with one arm!

Regarding the escape ropes, in at least one hijack years ago, the crew
used these to escape as soon as the aircraft touched down at its first
destination. The crew of the Afghani aircraft at Stanstead adopted the
same tactic. This obviously makes sense, since the aircraft won't be
going anywhere else without a crew. It made me wonder why they did not
do this earlier (except that there might have been a hijacker in the
cockpit training a gun on them).

Pete Mellor