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Tue, Nov 29, 2011

FAA Orders Oxygen Masks Removed From Airliner Lavs

'I Can't Breathe In Here' May No Longer Be A Joke

The debate about whether overreaching airline security measures have gone to far has some new fuel. The FAA has ordered airlines to remove the emergency oxygen generators in airliner lavatories out of fear they were, quote - "...easily accessible and could have been manipulated to create a flight hazard." The agency tells USA Today that coming up with a secure system to replace them could take as long as four years, leaving passengers who happen to be in the lav during a decompression event vulnerable in the meantime.

In Advisory Circular 25-30, issued in 1996, the FAA noted the effects of altitude on TUC, or time of useful consciousness. "At 25,000 feet, the TUC for most people is about 3-10 minutes. At altitudes above 25,000 feet, the TUC decreases very rapidly,  becoming only a few seconds at 40,000 feet."

There have been a number of highly publicized airliner decompression events in flight in recent years. If you find yourself in the bathroom when it happens, hope the pilot makes a steep dive. The FAA says it made its decision in cooperation with the TSA.

FMI: http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/list/AC%2025-20/$FILE/AC25-20.pdf

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