By the time hypoxia is detected, it’s often too late, and the higher the cabin altitude, the less time pilots have to realize that they need to don oxygen masks.
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive for the Boeing 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, and -900 series. The AD was prompted by a report of cracks found in the skin at body station 540 just below stringer S-22L on a 737-700.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded that the improper installation of a fuselage crown skin panel during the manufacturing process was the probable cause of substantial damage to a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 during a rapid decompression incident in April 2011.
On September 26, the Canadian Coast Guard recovered an MBB BO105 helicopter that crashed and sank in the M’Clure Straits of the Arctic Ocean earlier in the month, killing all three men aboard. Post-mortem examinations of the victims revealed that the three likely survived the impact but succumbed later from the effects of cold-water induced hypothermia. The commander of the icebreaker Amundsen was among the victims.
The U.S. Air Force approved a resumption of flight operations by the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, ending a four-month standdown ordered after pilots experienced symptoms of hypoxia. The suspected source of the problem, the aircraft’s onboard oxygen generation system (Obogs), remains under study.
The U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor fleet remains grounded into a fourth month as the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board conducts a study of the F-22 and other aircraft using onboard oxygen generation systems (Obogs).
In recent months FAA Administrator Babbitt has promoted specific tailored hypoxia training, along with high-altitude handling, for commercial and private pilots who want to fly at high altitude. Indeed, FAA Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR) establishes mandatory requirements for high-altitude training using military altitude chambers at 15 U.S.
More than 60 percent of business jet pilots do not use oxygen masks when required to by FAA regulations, according to a survey conducted by corporate pilot Chris Shaver for his master’s thesis at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the Payne Stewart accident, in which the 42-year-old professional golfer and five others aboard a chartered Learjet 35 lost their lives after the jet suffered a loss of pressurization during a flight from Orlando, Fla., to Dallas. All aboard the Learjet fell unconscious from the effects of hypoxia about 15 minutes after departing Orlando International Airport.
October 25 marks the 10th anniversary of an event that shocked the worlds of aviation and golf when one of the game’s greats–Payne Stewart–lost his life after the Learjet in which he was traveling suffered a loss of pressurization during a flight from Orlando to Dallas.
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