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aa777lvr
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Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:06 pm

Curious....

Recently I was going through security at JFK. Two male cockpit crew members were in front of me in line (full uniform). ID's appeared to be EK crew. I noticed that both had facial hair (well groomed, but still had noticeable beards). I was under the impression that cockpit crew (and jumpseaters) needed to be clean shaven due to emergency oxygen mask (tight seal) requirements.

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LGAviation
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:10 pm

Personally, I have never seen Sully without his moustache. Jokes aside, over here in Europe I frequently see cockpit crew wearing groomed facial hair and it would be very hard to justify under employment laws here to prescribe no (well-groomed) facial hair unless of course there were genuine safety concerns which I highly doubt there are. I would doubt that hygiene would be a major factor for masks that could easily be changed after use and concerning tight-fit, every face is shaped differently and I doubt that that would make that much of a difference.
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Armodeen
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:13 pm

I am not a pilot, but in my line of work mask seal is tested both on joining and periodically (a number of years later). If it seals with your facial hair, you are good to go. The vast majority of facial hair will be fine.
 
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LeCoqFrancais
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:36 pm

LGAviation wrote:
it would be very hard to justify under employment laws here to prescribe no (well-groomed) facial hair unless of course there were genuine safety concerns which I highly doubt there are.

Tell that to Disney, until a few years ago if you wanted to work a Disney park in a zone that was visible to guests you could not have any facial hair or visible tatoo. Made it look much better as I find facial hair unattractive and unhygienic.
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luftaom
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:21 pm

In every Australian jurisdiction, except Victoria you can generally discriminate on the basis of beards. In Victoria you can't discriminate on the basis of "physical features" (which includes beards) - although there are some limited exceptions.

I say this and I personally think that employee protections in Australian law are far superior to those enjoyed by workers in many other countries.
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modesto2
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:32 pm

Good question and something I've wondered myself. I was an airline pilot in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010, and we were always instructed that beards are not allowed to ensure a good seal with the oxygen mask. Mustaches are allowed because they would not interfere with the O2 mask. All my friends who still fly in the U.S. are always clean-shaven for the same reasons. However, I've noticed many international crews do not adhere to the same policies.
 
Billthe3rd
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:41 pm

Since your saying its an EK crew , MAYBE Neatly trimmed beards are allowed for religious reasons. As of a few weeks the NYPD loosened its rules on facial hair on the grounds of religion. I would love to grow a beard but my department doesn't allow facial hair other then a mustache.
 
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longhauler
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:19 pm

It is an old urban legend that facial hair will now allow a complete oxygen mask seal. Another, is that facial hair oils will explode with 100% oxygen.

I have heard it for decades. And maybe, in the past, older style masks may have been compromised, but ... today's masks form a very tight seal around your face as they inflate then deflate pulling the mask tightly. Facial hair does not affect the seal.

That is why some very respectable airlines like Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific allow neatly groomed facial hair. The restriction being neatly groomed. Where I fly, beards are not allowed. The reason quoted is that passenger reaction is not always favorable. The same reason why our uniforms must be buttoned up, our shoes shined and our pants pressed.

They pay my paycheque, I don't have a problem with being told how to wear my uniform, (or how I should shave). If other airlines have determined that facial hair is not objectionable, then so be it.
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AirPacific747
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:20 pm

In the airlines I've worked for, it's been allowed to have facial hair as long as it's well groomed.

Edit:

Look at this photo from Emirates' own recruitment website.

http://www.emiratesgroupcareers.com/eng ... ramme.aspx

Two bearded pilots.
 
soulbarn
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:24 pm

A mildly interesting and very tangential aside: prior to World War I, elaborate facial hair was very common for men. But chemical warfare made gas masks standard issue, and they didn't work if one wasn't clean-shaven. That meant that standard issue - along with those masks - included (at least for American and British soldiers) a Gillette razor. When the boys came home, they continued the grooming habits they'd been forced to develop in the trenches, and hence the asecendance of home shaving and the entire safety razor industry. Gillette employees on the front often wrote dispatches for the company newsletter describing their experience with mustard gas, protective masks, and shaving habits.

(if you're interested, here's an article I wrote that briefly discusses that history:

http://m.thesweethome.com/reviews/best-manual-razor/)
 
2175301
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:52 pm

The question is how good of a seal is needed. For an O2 mask, you don't actually need a really good seal. For chemical warfare or for certain industrial pollutants you have to have a really good seal.

OSHA in the USA started requiring mask fit testing for industrial protective masks I think about 20 years ago with equipment that measures seal leakage; and then adopted a mask leak standard in the US that cannot be passed with facial hair (I've seen many people try it). I personally think the standard should have at least 2 levels based on the hazard involved as while we wear protective or air supply masks for many reasons - only some of those reasons are actually a major or immediate health concern; but, OSHA did not do that. I suspect pilots in the US are subject to the US OSHA standard (no facial hair allowed in the mask sealing area). Other countries in the world allow minor leakage through facial hair unless the hazard really warrents a truly tight seal (and minor air leakage for an O2 mask does not).

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AirPacific747
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:01 pm

2175301 wrote:
The question is how good of a seal is needed. For an O2 mask, you don't actually need a really good seal. For chemical warfare or for certain industrial pollutants you have to have a really good seal.


Well, the masks in a flight deck should be quite well sealed due to the fact that there could be a fire in the flight deck which would potentially create toxic smoke.
 
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rjsampson
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:54 pm

Certainly in the United States, apparently beard discrimination is indeed still permitted. Most employees of UPS (from executives, to pilots, all the way down to truck drivers) and not permitted to have facial hair that extends below the lip-line (mustaches are OK). I always have found that interesting.

(BTW, I'm clean shaven myself. My avatar, as some in on the joke would understand, is not my actual likeness. Wish it could be!)

It is interesting though: I would imagine that seals are well-tested with facial hair. As 217530 mentioned, an airtight seal while breathing 100% oxygen should not be a big deal.

To AirPacific747's point: A fire in the cockpit (I'm guessing) is a whole different beast (and a far bigger issue than worrying about needing a chemical-weapon grade gas mask, provided that fresh oxygen is flowing).

I would imagine that the possibility of CO asphyxia would be quite low in fire circumstances, even without an airtight seal.
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Starlionblue
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:19 pm

Our ops manual states that beards are not recommended due to the oxygen mask. However there is nothing forbidding them. Modern masks stick to your face like an Alien Facehugger so I think you'd need quite the serious lumberjack beard for it to be a problem.

Picture shows modern cockpit oxygen mask:
Image
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thepinkmachine
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:23 am

longhauler wrote:
Where I fly, beards are not allowed. The reason quoted is that passenger reaction is not always favorable. The same reason why our uniforms must be buttoned up, our shoes shined and our pants pressed.


Maybe that's why I have never met any hipster-pilots :mrgreen:
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:27 am

longhauler wrote:
That is why some very respectable airlines like Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific allow neatly groomed facial hair.


QF Mainline prohibits facial hair. The regional subsidiaries do allow it, though.
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luftaom
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:51 am

Are the oxygen tanks in the cockpit 100% oxygen? Air at sea level is only ~21% oxygen.
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oldannyboy
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:03 am

A pilot with a moustache, or a goatee??.. mmm...sexy!! :-)
 
WIederling
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:33 am

Whenever did it start that a "beard" is called "facial hair".
(most everybody has facial hair. Even the ladies :-)

then "unshaven" would insinuate that this is not intended. "untidy" ..
while the OP obviously targets a concious decission to wear a (groomed) "beard".

strange.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:23 pm

luftaom wrote:
Are the oxygen tanks in the cockpit 100% oxygen? Air at sea level is only ~21% oxygen.


Cockpit oxygen systems are bottled oxygen, 100%. Passenger oxygen is either chemically generated or bottled but still 100% oxygen. We breathe air (as in the mix of gases in the atmosphere) in normal operations but that is continually brought in from outside. It is not stored on board in any way.

If we depressurize at 410000 feet, air is useless. At those cabin altitudes, the pilot masks would actively be pushing oxygen into us to pressurize our lungs. If we just aspirated the oxygen "normally" from the mask, there would not be enough pressure difference to move the oxygen into our bloodstream.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:20 pm

The reason behind operators not pushing for a clean shave could also be somewhere different.

Sometimes it's not worth doing a fully hermetic masks for two reasons:
1. Mask is to provide enough oxygen on cruise FLs. You clearly need a mask, but if it loses 1 or 2%, it doesn't change much. You still have to provide an ample extra, as pilots are different in terms of air usage.
2. The other reason is when there's something going on on board, which causes plenty of smoke/fume/dirt inside. However, if you put pressure in mask which is higher than in pilots cabin, then even if the mask is not perfectly fit, there's no risk of getting intoxicated. The air will go off, pushing fumes outside. You just have to generate enough pressure, which sounds like easy job - concerning regulations and security levels on planes.

Just two cents of outsider.

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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:39 pm

gloom wrote:
The reason behind operators not pushing for a clean shave could also be somewhere different.


You want a tight fit ( and potentially overpressure too ) for toxic environments.
keeping out lethal gases, smoke, ...

insufficient oxygen partial pressure is not in that class.
You just add enough oxygen to the mix.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:47 pm

luftaom wrote:
Are the oxygen tanks in the cockpit 100% oxygen? Air at sea level is only ~21% oxygen.


First, just to be clear, the oxygen tanks for the flight crew are below the main deck, not "in" the cockpit.

Second, although they contain 100% oxygen, it's a diluter demand system.

N (Normal) – supplies an air/oxygen mixture on demand (the ratio depends on cabin
altitude).
100% – supplies 100% oxygen on demand (not an air/oxygen mixture).

http://daerospace.com/OxygenSystems/Oxy ... ndFlow.php
 
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:19 pm

Thanks for that.
I know that this isn't TechOps - but it's kind of (maybe) on topic (or at least not too far off topic).
The article you linked to makes mention of a requirement for an oxygen mask to be donned if one of the crew leaves the cockpit. I've seen that mentioned before. Is that right? When one of the crew pops out during cruise to go to the loo, the other has to put the mask on?
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Starlionblue
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:41 pm

luftaom wrote:
Thanks for that.
I know that this isn't TechOps - but it's kind of (maybe) on topic (or at least not too far off topic).
The article you linked to makes mention of a requirement for an oxygen mask to be donned if one of the crew leaves the cockpit. I've seen that mentioned before. Is that right? When one of the crew pops out during cruise to go to the loo, the other has to put the mask on?


Country regulations probably vary, but in our case, the requirement when a single pilot is at the controls above FL300 is either mask worn OR that the mask be "at immediate readiness", meaning of the quick donning type. So no, we don't put the mask on if one of the pilots goes to the loo. Personally, I always double check that there's nothing on the mask compartment lid, though,
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YIMBY
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:43 pm

Recently saw Latin American pilots with a heavy dark beard. Kids said they looked like a drunk sea captain from the movies. Maybe does not help to raise confidence. For me it is OK, though, as I neither look very attractive after a longer journey.
 
benbeny
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:30 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
luftaom wrote:
Are the oxygen tanks in the cockpit 100% oxygen? Air at sea level is only ~21% oxygen.


Cockpit oxygen systems are bottled oxygen, 100%. Passenger oxygen is either chemically generated or bottled but still 100% oxygen. We breathe air (as in the mix of gases in the atmosphere) in normal operations but that is continually brought in from outside. It is not stored on board in any way.

If we depressurize at 410000 feet, air is useless. At those cabin altitudes, the pilot masks would actively be pushing oxygen into us to pressurize our lungs. If we just aspirated the oxygen "normally" from the mask, there would not be enough pressure difference to move the oxygen into our bloodstream.

My physiology textbook shows a diagram that shows 100% oxygen up to around FL300 has O2 partial pressure that is equal (or almost equal) to 21% oxygen at sea level... so that's why you don't need positive pressure oxygen up to FL300 if you inhale 100% O2.
At FL400 and above the oxygen partial pressure and arterial oxygen saturation drops rapidly, so that's why you need positive oxygen pressure at that altitude.
Interesting thing is, at FL400 O2 saturation is still 84%, but drops rapidly to around 50% at FL470. Because normal human being is able to maintain consciousness for short time period with O2 saturation up to 50%, that's why with quick donning mask and emergency descent that brings your altitude up to FL300 quickly can be done without positive pressure supplemental oxygen and from around FL400 pilot is required to wear O2 mask all time, in case of rapid decompression.
But my textbook could be wrong, though ;)
 
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:08 pm

luftaom wrote:
Thanks for that.
I know that this isn't TechOps - but it's kind of (maybe) on topic (or at least not too far off topic).
The article you linked to makes mention of a requirement for an oxygen mask to be donned if one of the crew leaves the cockpit. I've seen that mentioned before. Is that right? When one of the crew pops out during cruise to go to the loo, the other has to put the mask on?


in the us at least 14 CFR 121.333 says:

flight crewmembers on flight deck duty.

(c) Use of oxygen masks by flight crewmembers. (1) When operating at flight altitudes above flight level 250, each flight crewmember on flight deck duty must be provided with an oxygen mask so designed that it can be rapidly placed on his face from its ready position, properly secured, sealed, and supplying oxygen upon demand; and so designed that after being placed on the face it does not prevent immediate communication between the flight crewmember and other crewmembers over the airplane intercommunication system. When it is not being used at flight altitudes above flight level 250, the oxygen mask must be kept in condition for ready use and located so as to be within the immediate reach of the flight crewmember while at his duty station.

(2) When operating at flight altitudes above flight level 250, one pilot at the controls of the airplane shall at all times wear and use an oxygen mask secured, sealed, and supplying oxygen, in accordance with the following:

(i) The one pilot need not wear and use an oxygen mask at or below the following flight levels if each flight crewmember on flight deck duty has a quick-donning type of oxygen mask that the certificate holder has shown can be placed on the face from its ready position, properly secured, sealed, and supplying oxygen upon demand, with one hand and within five seconds:


(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (c)(2) of this section, if for any reason at any time it is necessary for one pilot to leave his station at the controls of the airplane when operating at flight altitudes above flight level 250, the remaining pilot at the controls shall put on and use his oxygen mask until the other pilot has returned to his duty station.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:16 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Our ops manual states that beards are not recommended due to the oxygen mask. However there is nothing forbidding them. Modern masks stick to your face like an Alien Facehugger so I think you'd need quite the serious lumberjack beard for it to be a problem.

Picture shows modern cockpit oxygen mask:
Image

Great photo. Just had a wicked thought, imagine when the cabin masks deployed and they were all "face hugger" designs. :rotfl:
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:11 am

benbeny wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
luftaom wrote:
Are the oxygen tanks in the cockpit 100% oxygen? Air at sea level is only ~21% oxygen.


Cockpit oxygen systems are bottled oxygen, 100%. Passenger oxygen is either chemically generated or bottled but still 100% oxygen. We breathe air (as in the mix of gases in the atmosphere) in normal operations but that is continually brought in from outside. It is not stored on board in any way.

If we depressurize at 410000 feet, air is useless. At those cabin altitudes, the pilot masks would actively be pushing oxygen into us to pressurize our lungs. If we just aspirated the oxygen "normally" from the mask, there would not be enough pressure difference to move the oxygen into our bloodstream.

My physiology textbook shows a diagram that shows 100% oxygen up to around FL300 has O2 partial pressure that is equal (or almost equal) to 21% oxygen at sea level... so that's why you don't need positive pressure oxygen up to FL300 if you inhale 100% O2.
At FL400 and above the oxygen partial pressure and arterial oxygen saturation drops rapidly, so that's why you need positive oxygen pressure at that altitude.
Interesting thing is, at FL400 O2 saturation is still 84%, but drops rapidly to around 50% at FL470. Because normal human being is able to maintain consciousness for short time period with O2 saturation up to 50%, that's why with quick donning mask and emergency descent that brings your altitude up to FL300 quickly can be done without positive pressure supplemental oxygen and from around FL400 pilot is required to wear O2 mask all time, in case of rapid decompression.
But my textbook could be wrong, though ;)


Sounds about right.

Our masks are always set to the "Emergency" setting, which gives 100% oxygen. If you set it to "Normal" it mixes in air automatically up to 30000 feet. Saves oxygen and you'll be fine anyway. Above 40000 as you say oxygen partial pressure decreases dramatically, which is why the mask will inflate the lungs like balloons in order to force oxygen to pass into the blood.
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Noris
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:03 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
If we depressurize at 410000 feet


Blimey! What do you fly? :shock:

Rgds.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:45 pm

Noris wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
If we depressurize at 410000 feet


Blimey! What do you fly? :shock:

Rgds.


Haha oops!

But you must admit that depressurising at 410000 feet would be quite hazardous. :D
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:02 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Noris wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
If we depressurize at 410000 feet


Blimey! What do you fly? :shock:

Rgds.


Haha oops!

But you must admit that depressurising at 410000 feet would be quite hazardous. :D


Definitely agree! :eyepopping:

Rgds.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:20 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Noris wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
If we depressurize at 410000 feet


Blimey! What do you fly? :shock:

Rgds.


Haha oops!

But you must admit that depressurising at 410000 feet would be quite hazardous. :D


I think such an incident would redefine "explosive decompression." May need to get the ISS to pick up your life rafts...
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:09 pm

77west wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Noris wrote:

Blimey! What do you fly? :shock:

Rgds.


Haha oops!

But you must admit that depressurising at 410000 feet would be quite hazardous. :D


I think such an incident would redefine "explosive decompression." May need to get the ISS to pick up your life rafts...


I watched a documentary on Chris Hadfield and ISS a while back. Their emergency oxygen masks seemed to be the same ones as we have in the cockpit. :D
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77west
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:51 am

Starlionblue wrote:
77west wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

Haha oops!

But you must admit that depressurising at 410000 feet would be quite hazardous. :D


I think such an incident would redefine "explosive decompression." May need to get the ISS to pick up your life rafts...


I watched a documentary on Chris Hadfield and ISS a while back. Their emergency oxygen masks seemed to be the same ones as we have in the cockpit. :D


I suppose the facehugger design is pretty robust... that said on a decompression on the ISS I would be more concerned with the fact my blood is boiling out of my orifices, than how tight the mask fits. Just a personal preference, really.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:09 am

77west wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
77west wrote:

I think such an incident would redefine "explosive decompression." May need to get the ISS to pick up your life rafts...


I watched a documentary on Chris Hadfield and ISS a while back. Their emergency oxygen masks seemed to be the same ones as we have in the cockpit. :D


I suppose the facehugger design is pretty robust... that said on a decompression on the ISS I would be more concerned with the fact my blood is boiling out of my orifices, than how tight the mask fits. Just a personal preference, really.


The masks aren't just for explosive decompression. In the instance I saw them wearing the masks, they were conducting a smoke drill.

You can actually survive a surprisingly long time exposed to a vacuum if you have oxygen. Explosive decompression is also just one of the scenarios. Slow decompression (in both aircraft and spacecraft) would still mean you need oxygen, but you won't get that boom effect.
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77west
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:14 am

Starlionblue wrote:
77west wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

I watched a documentary on Chris Hadfield and ISS a while back. Their emergency oxygen masks seemed to be the same ones as we have in the cockpit. :D


I suppose the facehugger design is pretty robust... that said on a decompression on the ISS I would be more concerned with the fact my blood is boiling out of my orifices, than how tight the mask fits. Just a personal preference, really.


The masks aren't just for explosive decompression. In the instance I saw them wearing the masks, they were conducting a smoke drill.

You can actually survive a surprisingly long time exposed to a vacuum if you have oxygen. Explosive decompression is also just one of the scenarios. Slow decompression (in both aircraft and spacecraft) would still mean you need oxygen, but you won't get that boom effect.


Care to test that? Lets pop up to the ISS and pop a hatch. Lol. No.. Not really. I believe you!...
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:18 am

Beard as long as it does not affect the function of the O2 mask should not be an issue
especially with the current O2 in tube face grabbing masks.
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Re: Unshaven Cockpit Crew

Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:14 am

FWIW, the captain on the LH flight I was on recently had a beard.

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