Thought Provoking-From Air Safety Week

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Fri October 10 2003, 03:10 PM
Thought Provoking-From Air Safety Week
Thought Provoking

Reader and engineer Lee Gaillard was struck by the recent compendium of in-flight smoke and fire events (see ASW, Sept. 22). He offered a few observations:

On the difficulty of quickly donning and communicating effectively using emergency oxygen masks: "Have the integral in-mask microphone as well as the oxygen connection permanently hooked up so oxygen and communications are both immediately available as they are donned. It also seems as if there's a good argument for a deployment method similar to that in the passenger cabin: drop from overhead instrument rack on demand or with smoke or low pressure sensors. Yes, some instruments would have to be moved, but mandate for new aircraft after date XXXX."
On the 'Mayday' language barrier encountered by the U.S. B767 crew at Japan's Narita airport: "All international pilots and controllers are supposed to be proficient in aviation English. Obviously not so. Just as WALK signs for crossing the street in New York City and elsewhere have been replaced by a fluorescent icon of a striding stick person, how about an emergency transmit button that triggers and emergency icon in ATC [air traffic control] consoles? There are equivalents for hazardous cargo, explosives, etc. Universal signage. The idiot emergency light."

On the arcing/smoking events involving in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems: "IFE systems mounted on the back of every seat are going to have planes making emergency landings with massive electrical problems as soon as those systems have been in service long enough to have accumulated condensation, chafing, insulation embrittlement, some maintenance jiggling, and so forth. And how many of these aircraft in service still have aromatic polyimide as the general purpose wiring insulation? Add all this stuff together, and there could be major cascading effects." >> Gaillard, e-mail <<

Fri October 10 2003, 03:12 PM
Just wanted to add that the IFEN thought to have caused the crash on sr111 was only installed for about a year.

This article is in response to this earlier one in AIR SAFETY WEEK:;f=1;t=000436