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Palladium
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Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:50 am

Ok this might sound a stupid question but I'll go ahead with it

I was wondering... if life jackets are really that important issue? If I am not mistaken, I can't recall any tragedy or accident that involve passengers must wear life jackets.

OK I admit that we do have some plenty accidents that occurred on the sea but tragically 99% there were no survivors.
There was this only one event, long time ago, a Garuda 737 made emergency landing on the river. Somehow the pilot managed to successfully land the plane. Life boats deployed but again since the river is probably not that deep and the plane was well float above the water, no life jackets needed necessarily.

Since most people died due to fire or explosion during accident, why instead putting life jackets, why don't they put some kind of anti-fire suits, something that can protect your body and your head from fire. Wouldn't that be more useful that putting life jackets in the plane?

I can bet if there's some kind of suit protection from fire, at least these suits can save most passengers during fire or accident. Talk about SQ006 that got burned on the runway, if passengers can quickly put their anti-fire suits, that would help them or save some life at least.

what do you guys think?
 
777236ER
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:59 am

No, they don't. Smoke hoods would. Then again, independent power sources for data recorders, three point belts, external cameras, flight deck cameras and the abolition of grandfathered safety systems would also play an important role, and the safety boards bring them up again and again.

It's a shame the FAA and EASA don't listen.
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VC-10
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:10 am

1. People come in various sizes, what size suit do you put on the a/c? Do you have a rack of 450 suits at the back of the a/c to cater for different body shapes? What if you do not have enough suits of the right size? Someone puts a suit on that is too big, trips up during the evacuation and get trampled under foot.

2. Picture the scene in economy as 350+ people all try & put these suits on at the same time. You can be sure in an emergency situation they are not going to sit there and wait their turn.

I could go on.
 
57AZ
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:21 am

Well, there are quite a few incidents where aircraft did crash at sea or in the water with numerous survivors-KLM 633 at SNN (9/05/1954), NW 2 at SEA (4/02/1956), PAA Clipper Soverign of the Skies at sea between SFO and HNL (10/15/1956). In each case, there were numerous survivors (in fact, there were no fatalities in the PAA crash). In the Northwest crash, many of the survivors were saved by the seat cushion flotation devices and life jackets as there were no life rafts on board. For flights that cross major bodies of water, life jackets and life rafts are indeed important-they have saved lives in the past and will in the future.
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speedracer1407
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:52 pm

Quoting Palladium (Thread starter):
if life jackets are really that important issue?

They are if you can't swim, and you ditch in a body of water. A survivable ditching might be highly unlikely, but they've happened, and probably will happen in the future. If I couldn't swim, I'd certainly like a life vest, and in the likely even that I break my legs, I'd be needing one anyway. The vests are cheap, light, and take up virtually no space.



Quoting Palladium (Thread starter):
since the river is probably not that deep and the plane was well float above the water, no life jackets needed necessarily.

If you're injured or can't swim, all it takes is 6 feet of water to mean the difference between life and death in a survivable ditching. Any river large enough to "support" a heavy jet's ditching attempt will likely be far deeper than 6 feet, to say nothing of currents, bad weather on the open sea, and a potentially long delay treading water before rescuers arrive.
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Markhkg
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:53 pm

Quoting Palladium (Thread starter):
no life jackets needed necessarily.

Apparently, a flight attendant did drown in that accident. I have never found out exactly why this person drowned (due to the crash itself, or during the evacuation sequence?)

Quoting Palladium (Thread starter):
if passengers can quickly put their anti-fire suits

There are some concerns -- voiced after the British Manchester Air Disaster-- that equipping smoke hoods and fire suits could delay an evacuation. Considering that a flashover can occur in 90 seconds (or less), you want to people out rather than fiddling with their masks.

Having said that, quite a few corporate jets do equip their passengers with smoke hoods (such as the Essex brand).

Honestly, I actually do carry a smoke mask with me when I fly, but I seriously doubt I bother with it if we were on the ground an evacuating. I would only use it if there was in-cabin smoke while we were still in the air and it would be a while before we made it to the ground.

Quoting Speedracer1407 (Reply 4):

If you're injured or can't swim,

Also, you are very likely in a ditching to encounter fuel or hydraulic fluid...both are which are blinding and nasty stuff to deal with. If you jump into the water with an inflated life jacket, you may be able to protect yourself from these chemicals by staying above the surface of the water. TSO certified life jackets are designed to right a person face-up.

For land-based emergencies, life-jackets also can double as signaling equipment during the search and rescue phase. They are orange/yellow for a reason!  Smile

There are quite a few water related accidents that people seem to gloss over when it comes to this topic-- like the B-747-400 Air China aircraft which overran Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport. Everyone put on their life-jackets and boarded the slide/rafts...no fatalities. A flight attendant in the horrendous B-737 Air Florida crash passed the only life-jacket she could find to a female passenger, who later fell from the helicopter rescue line since she could not hold on. If the passenger was not wearing the vest, she probably would have died.

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 1):
It's a shame the FAA and EASA don't listen.

Amen!

Quoting VC-10 (Reply 2):
People come in various sizes, what size suit do you put on the a/c? Do you have a rack of 450 suits at the back of the a/c to cater for different body shapes? What if you do not have enough suits of the right size? Someone puts a suit on that is too big, trips up during the evacuation and get trampled under foot.

Actually, a company already has a design for it..."one size fits all"...kinda  Wink:

http://www.safetystrategies.com/aviation.html#TPG
Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
 
tu204
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:54 pm

Sure they do, they make nice wall ornaments  Smile
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tdscanuck
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:35 pm

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 1):
Then again, independent power sources for data recorders, three point belts, external cameras, flight deck cameras and the abolition of grandfathered safety systems would also play an important role, and the safety boards bring them up again and again.

It's a shame the FAA and EASA don't listen.

FDR's do have independent power sources.

Three point belts is an interesting one...what's the breakdown on how many crashes were fatal with a two-point but survivable with a three-point?

External and flight deck cameras are available now but not mandatory. That will probably come around as adoption picks up.

Abolishing grandfathered safety systems, although it sounds nice if you're the NTSB, isn't economically viable.

Tom.
 
777236ER
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:42 pm

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 7):

FDR's do have independent power sources.

Really? Do they have battery backups? I know the FAA last discussed this in 2006, but I don't think they did anything about it?

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 7):
Three point belts is an interesting one...what's the breakdown on how many crashes were fatal with a two-point but survivable with a three-point?

I don't know, but here's some analysis from the Kegworth crash of the motion of occupants with the fitted two-point belts and suggested three-point belts:



http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de/publications/Incidents/DOCS/ComAndRep/Kegworth/AAIB/COPY/ka5f5.jpg

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 7):
External and flight deck cameras are available now but not mandatory. That will probably come around as adoption picks up.

But the safety boards have been asking for them for decades.

Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 7):

Abolishing grandfathered safety systems, although it sounds nice if you're the NTSB, isn't economically viable.

It certainly is in some important cases. Boeing should definately have been forced to recertify the 737 L1 door on producing the 737NG. It needs power assist and a better method of arming the slide. Manufacturers still produce aircraft with heavy, unhinged hatches that significantly hinder evacuations. 747 upper deck evacuation untested, A300/A310 pressurisation etc.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
Markhkg
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:24 am

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 8):
motion of occupants with the fitted two-point belts

Interestingly, this graphic is of passengers in a brace position, not just with a lap belt. Considering that many people on board the BMI aircraft did not get into the brace position (with only a 10 second warning), the graphic only represents the "ideal" situation. Being unbraced would be even more horrendous!
Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
 
mandala499
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:33 am

Quote:
I can bet if there's some kind of suit protection from fire, at least these suits can save most passengers during fire or accident. Talk about SQ006 that got burned on the runway, if passengers can quickly put their anti-fire suits, that would help them or save some life at least.

No... you'll kill more that way! After crashing, and there's a fire, there's only 1 thing you should do... Get Out As Soon As Possible! Post impact fire can spread quickly and there is no method to determine the rate of spread or smoke contaminating the surviving cabin section, that you can only do if the aircraft hull isn't damaged/torn open.

You need to be able to evacuate the aircraft within 90 seconds after initiating the evacuation. Putting the anti-fire suits will take precious time. Pax aren't familiar to those things, it'll take a long time to put them on... Again, in economy, it'll be hard for the pax to put them on, no space! The killer is the smoke inhalation, I agree to the concept of having smokehoods (the practicalities of it is a different matter). If the actual fire is the one you're trying to protect yourself from, in a lot of cases, getting out within 90 secs is adequate to escape the heat (except if you're already in the hottest hot zone, which by then, do you have time to put on the anti fire suit?). Then, where are you going to pack these suits? And how much heat are you planning to protect them from with those suits? 400 celcius?

Anti fire suits is only useful if you have an uncontained fire whilst airborne and you land before the minimum structural aircraft strength has been compromised... But then, by the time you land, you're better off throwing the pax out with their normal clothes than having them stumbling over each other due to the firesuit...

Planes can float for a few mins, but in the case of GA152 river ditching, the aircraft did not float, it skipped over the bottom of the shallow river, which prevented structural breakup of the aircraft and impact injuries, which then rested in a place shallow enough for the pax to jump into the river and find it's only between knee deep to chest deep...

There is also a difference between an uncontrolled flight into water and a controlled flight into water (attempted ditching). Most of the crashes we remember are those of uncontrolled flight into water... in that case, it's the same as uncontrolled and uncontrolled flight into terrain (non final approach segments)... even the benefits of the seatbelt becomes academic in some of these cases (Silk Air crash, Helios, American 151, AA@ Queens, JAL tailess 747 (this one is probably the only one where UCFIT from cruise/climb yielded survivors due to seatbelt... which was how few survival?), Aeroflot A310). Now for the impacts into water, such as the AeroPeru & Birgen Air 757, Alaska [email protected] Mugu, Adam Air 574 and , Swissair @ Halifax do not count as attempted ditching.

However GA211 and that hijacked Ethiopian 767 and the cases cited by 57AZ are the ones where lifejackets did save lives, although it is ironic that most of the fatalities of the Ethiopian 767 were reportedly due to inflating the lifejackets inside the aircraft (which is a BIG NO NO and is suicidal!).
Taking lifejackets out of planes (and not fitting floating cushions) is equal to sentencing to death pax and crew in an aircraft where a successful ditching is made (and it ain't easy). If you take out lifejackets and other floatation devices, then you're violating the principle of "survival" when flying over water. What do you expect the crew to do then? Just give up, ask the pax to do their last prayers and dive into the ocean?

The three point seatbelts still yield risk to the lower limbs of the seat occupants. The drawings given in the 2 point seatbelt scenario also shows an incorrect brace position regarding the legs (as per FAA and TCA recommended position)... for both the standard seats and bulkhead seats, whose recommendation for the new position (I think JAA also recommends the revised brace position) was (partly) based on the Kegworth crash.
And out of curiousity, would a correctly tightened lapstrap yield such large bum/pelvis displacement during impact? Somehow seeing the 3 point seatbelt impact displacement drawings make me wonder about one's neck... I think I prefer the lapstrap with the head against a seatback with no breakover, or with the seatback leaned forward prior to impact.

Mandala499
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b6flyboy
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:24 am

Just remember....Listen to your flight crew....Never Inflate your vest inside the aircrat!
Your Seat Cushion Cannot Be Used As A Flotaion Device...
 
Markhkg
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:52 am

Quoting B6flyboy (Reply 11):
Never Inflate your vest inside the aircrat!

You have to remember that some airlines -- before the Ethiopian hijacking-- actually recommended inflating the vest inside the cabin! One of the most notable examples was...United Airlines. During the emergency briefing pre-ditching they actually told all the passengers to inflate one chamber of the vest. They've changed that now, thankfully.

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 10):
an incorrect brace position regarding the legs

European carriers typically recommend the "feet back" position that is different to the US as you noted, but the Kegworth study also suggested that high-friction carpeting would provide additional protection from limb flailing. I am still astounded that the brace position is NOT a required part of the pre-flight safety briefing in the US.

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 10):
Somehow seeing the 3 point seatbelt impact displacement drawings make me wonder about one's neck

For corporate jets, it's important that the headrest of the seat reaches the passenger head for this very reason, as many of these jets have 3-point belts. If you were in this type of forward facing seat and were commanded into a brace position, you would put your chin to your chest to protect against a snap-back as you noted. I kind of want to see what brace position the new herringbone CX J class recommends as the seat has a three-point belt.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:57 pm

Explain why Economy Pax have to use the "Floatation cushion" & Business class pax the "Life Jacket"
 Smile
regds
MEL
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longhauler
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:34 pm

The ONA DC-9 that ditched in the Caribbean on May 2, 1970, had 40 survivors. Most wearing life jackets.

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
Explain why Economy Pax have to use the "Floatation cushion" & Business class pax the "Life Jacket"

Its a tough, but class conscious world! LOL

But, in all honesty, do airlines still use Flotation Cushions vice Life Jackets any more? That's pretty lame!

[Edited 2007-09-02 15:40:01]
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mark5388916
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:25 pm

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 14):
But, in all honesty, do airlines still use Flotation Cushions vice Life Jackets any more?

I know B6 and WN still do at last check.

Mark

P.S. I've only been on a B6 Trans-con ONT-JFK so I can't vouch for there carribean links.
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Markhkg
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:00 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
"Floatation cushion" & Business class pax the "Life Jacket"

Which air carrier does that?

I know some airlines, like Frontier, equip only their flight attendants with life jackets on non-overwater routes, so passengers are to only use the seat cushion if they landed in, like, a lake.

But I'm not aware of any airline that provides seat cushions only to Y class and life jackets to J class.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:45 pm

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 14):
But, in all honesty, do airlines still use Flotation Cushions vice Life Jackets any more? That's pretty lame!



Quoting MarkHKG (Reply 16):
Which air carrier does that

Most carriers out here.

regds
MEL
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Jetlagged
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Mon Sep 03, 2007 7:23 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 17):
Most carriers out here.

I've been on flights in India where they only give you a life jacket on overwater legs.
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b6flyboy
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:33 am

All JetBlue aircraft have life jackets and life rafts to operate routing that takes our aircraft over deep water routes such as JFK FLL. Our aircraft our uniform in their set up so that if an aircraft is swapped out, be it an A320 or E190, the same routing can be used. Since each aircraft is equipped with rafts and jackets our safety demo always includes them...even if we do a flight that never goes over any water. It makes things uniform and consistent...especially when daily operations can be far from uniform and consistent.
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longhauler
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:02 am

Are JetBlue's E190's also life raft equipped? (You don't need rafts to fly JFK-FLL or JFK-BDA.)
If so, where are the kept on the aircraft?
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Markhkg
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:04 pm

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 20):
If so, where are the kept on the aircraft?

If I remember the safety briefing correctly, two in the forward closet, and one in the overhead bin at the aft of the aircraft.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:49 pm

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 18):
I've been on flights in India where they only give you a life jacket on overwater legs

True but in other Sector flights,the "special" class pax get Life Jackets while the "not so special" class have to use the floatation cushions on most operators out here.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/magazine/5402342.stm
Interesting link.
regds
MEL
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msllsmith
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RE: Do Life Jackets Really Play Important Role?

Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:51 pm

Quoting Speedracer1407 (Reply 4):
They are if you can't swim, and you ditch in a body of water. A survivable ditching might be highly unlikely, but they've happened, and probably will happen in the future. If I couldn't swim, I'd certainly like a life vest, and in the likely even that I break my legs, I'd be needing one anyway. The vests are cheap, light, and take up virtually no space.

I feel kind of foolish answering this question. When I have to give a cabin pjassenger safety briefing, I frequently end it by laughing and telling my pax that the life vest is my very favorite piece of safety equipment, because it is. Most accidents are survivable. A person can be unconsciouse and tossed into water, pull the tabs and survive. Call me a crazy optimomist, but I like to think they work. Not writing a thesis here, so won't talk about when and how to use them. My biggest concern is telling pax to "take it out from underneith (or above, where ever) and open the package.....". If money and time were no object, I would like to be able to demonstrate on each briefing exactly how to open one of the packages... not all that easy actually. But any ditching hopefully would be planned, however unlikely, the best scenario.

While we would all like something like a PBE for all pax, I also agree that the time wasted to put them on would be the reason not to have them. In an emergency, the best bet of survival is to Get Out!

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
Explain why Economy Pax have to use the "Floatation cushion" & Business class pax the "Life Jacket"

regds
MEL

Funny you should mention that! Recently I was on a trans Atlantic flight with Delta. Business only had life vests...... but us poor slobs in the back of the bus also had seat cushions which were floatation devices ..... (and I thought it was so funny that during the night I pulled mine up to check).
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