October 25 marks the 10th anniversary of an event that shocked the worlds of aviation and golf when one of the game’s greats–Payne Stewart–lost his life after the Learjet in which he was traveling suffered a loss of pressurization during a flight from Orlando to Dallas.
Altitude chamber training is now being offered by MedAire at Arizona State University. The Tempe, Ariz.-based medical emergency response firm said the stand-alone, five- to six-hour course–available on demand–costs $995 per person and covers physiology, hypoxia, oxygen systems, altitude sickness and the physical effects of flight and decompression.
For aviators and their passengers, oxygen means life at the high altitudes traversed by modern aircraft. True high-altitude passenger flight wasn’t really practicable until large-cabin pressurization was introduced during the halcyon days of aeronautical development surrounding World War II, most notably aboard the Boeing 307 Stratoliner and Lockheed Constellation transports and Boeing B-29 bomber.
RAYTHEON BEECH KING AIR B200, WERNADINGA STATION, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA, SEPT. 4, 2000–Investigators were unable to find the cause of the pilot’s apparent hypoxia incapacitation.
The good news about the proliferation of new high-altitude airplanes–turbocharged piston or turbine–is that they offer users the chance to experience the increased efficiency of an engine that likes flying where the air is thin.
Van Nuys, Calif.-based Corporate Air Parts is offering a new hypoxia training course to civilian pilots. Training includes a video segment and two 15- to 20-minute
FlightSafety International and the Mayo Clinic have teamed to develop a new training program for hypoxia awareness. Under the contract, FlightSafety will install Mayo-designed training equipment at some of its learning centers.
Traditionally, the term “safety standdown” refers to a temporary halt to military operations following a string of accidents. It is an opportunity to stop the frenetic pace of normal operations, take stock of what is and isn’t being done correctly and approach renewed operations with a greater degree of care and preparedness.
“We do many things for the industry throughout the year, but this is the one that makes me the most proud,” said James Hoblyn, v-p of Bombardier’s business aircraft division, during his opening remarks at the 2005 Safety Standdown held recently in Wichita. This year marked the Standdown’s ninth year, and the sixth year since it was opened to corporate pilots outside of Bombardier. “Safety Standdown continues to grow in size and reputation.
AirCare’s Facts program now offers hypoxia training at customers’ facilities. Instead of an altitude chamber, the Olympia, Wash. cabin safety and service training company uses a “reduced oxygen breathing device” to change the composition of the gas mixture inhaled to simulate altitudes up to 30,000 feet.