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Old 25th Mar 2015, 22:52
  #798 (permalink)  
TheInquisitor
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: In Hyperspace...
Posts: 395
As a pilot of the sort of aircraft that is often flown considerably above 10,000ft with no oxygen (or indeed engine), I agree that different pilots report being very differently affected and onset beginning at widely differing altitudes.

Most of this discussion, however, has focused on rapid decompression and therefore rapid onset of hypoxia, way above any altitude where conditioning or physiological factors might come into play, so no difference in onset rate or effects would be noticeable.
I would respectfully disagree.

I recall during chamber runs that we unmasked in small groups, and were encouraged to observe (whilst lucid and full of O2) the effects of hypoxia on others. Not only did everybody react completely differently, the rate of onset person-to-person was wildly different. Body type, body mass, fitness, smoker vs non-smoker - there appeared to be no correlation that would act as a reliable predictor. One or two people displayed hardly any symptoms at all - and reported feeling little to no different.

Your hypoxia onset rate & symptoms are personal - and that was partly the point of doing chamber runs; to recognise not just generalised symptoms in others, but your own personal symptoms - in order to aid recognition for real.

Right from the outset, I've found the 'hypoxia' hypothesis unlikely. I've even been dubious about incapacitation at all. But in the absence of any solid evidence in another direction, I'm happy to be proven wrong.

I think we've become a little fixated on "Lack of R/T call must mean incapacitation" scenario. I see it as a 'possible' rather than a 'must'.

I said it earlier, but FD capacity completely sucked up in dealing with any extended or complex emergency could also explain the lack of call.
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