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Rapid Decompression from 8 to 45 kft: Experimental Results from 10 Human Trials

Wenzel, J. and Luks, N. and Plath, G. and Wittkowski, M. and Deutscher, W. and Bloch, N. (2011) Rapid Decompression from 8 to 45 kft: Experimental Results from 10 Human Trials. 82nd Annual Scientific and Human Performance Meeting, 8.-12.5.2011, Anchorage. (Unpublished)

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Introduction: In case of pressure loss of an airliner's cabin the initiation of immediate emergency descent is the primary task of the flight deck crew, supported by quick-donning oxygen equipment. For very rapid decompression < 5 s prebreathing of oxygen enriched gas is necessary to prevent transient unconsciousness of pilots as only exhalation is possible due to the expansion of alveolar gas. Flying at e.g. 45,000 ft, a mixture of 52% oxygen before pressure loss will be necessary for this scenario. For large transportation aircraft, a typical time interval of 10 - 20 s minimum can be expected for depressurisation, which allows the top-up of alveolar oxygen by several breaths if pure oxygen is provided early after start of events. Material und Methods: 10 subjects aged 29-71 yrs were decompressed from 8,000 to 45,000 ft. cruising altitude within 20 s, initially breathed air via a modified cockpit mask. After start of depressurisation the mask was switched to 100% oxygen. Subject oxygenation status was monitored via pulse oxymetry and oxygen partial pressure in the mask. Results: Minimum values during decompression and stay at maximum altitude for 10 s were an end tidal oxygen partial pressure of 43 hPa (41-62) and an arterial saturation of 77% (62-92). Middle ear pressure equilibration was performed without problems, none of the subjects showed any incapacitation during runs. Conclusion: By immediate switch (t = 2 s) to pure oxygen in a 20-s depressurisation prebreathing of an oxygen enriched gas is not necessary. The data can be used for model validation in this highly dynamic process, as proposed in the SAE A-10 Aircraft Oxygen Equipment Committee, opening the way to estimate crew and passenger hypoxia protection with different types of equipment. Learning Objectives: To understand the role of depressurisation time in protection strategies for flight deck crew against the threat of hyper-acute hypoxia.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/70625/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Rapid Decompression from 8 to 45 kft: Experimental Results from 10 Human Trials
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Wenzel, J.juergen.wenzel (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Luks, N.norbert.luks (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Plath, G.gernot.plath (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Wittkowski, M.martin.wittkowski (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:Rapid Decompression, High Attitude Chamber, Human Trials, Pilot Oxygen Supply, Quick Donning Manks
Event Title:82nd Annual Scientific and Human Performance Meeting
Event Location:Anchorage
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:8.-12.5.2011
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation (old)
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human Factors and Safety in Aeronautics (old)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Flight Physiology
Deposited By: Sender, Alina
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:12
Last Modified:20 Sep 2012 10:47

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