Thursday, October 2, 2008

A beneficial suggestion for aviation

The discovery of Steven Fossett's remains and aircraft at 10,000 feet is, in my opinion, probably a consequence of altitude and his age. Reports of thunderclouds in the area are an alternative explanation. It is conventional for pilots to turn on oxygen at about 10K ft. He was at that limit. His age suggests the possibility that he was no longer capable of that degree of oxygen deprivation.

All this suggests to me a possible improvement for safe aviation. If pilots were required to don oxygen masks above a certain conservative altitude, let's say about 6,000 ft, but age dependent, and, if further, the mask does not switch on the oxygen until biological signs of oxygen deprivation, then oxygen supplies would be conserved until needed, but would switch from air to oxygen automatically when needed. I am not qualified to suggest exactly what biological signs should be used, but, surely they exist. Oxygen equipment does not currently have this automatic switch on capability. Perhaps it should. That is the beneficial suggestion made.

I don't like the idea of excessive regulation, but oxygen deprivation has figured in enough crashes, that this might be a good idea. It is time for discussion among the aviation community.

1 comment:

Lynnis said...

I too am against paternalistic laws, but it makes sense if you have passengers, or I suppose you could injure people on the ground too if you crashed.