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Old 16th Sep 2008, 14:25   #41 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by empacher48 View Post
Yeah, I do passenger briefings on small aircraft everyday. I explain that the seat belts are exactly the same as they found on the airliner they flew to NZ on. But I would say 50% of the passengers actually struggle to be able to put them on, and need some form of assistance.

It may be patronising to you, but in my observations, the travelling public can be be quite.... ummm.. thick..
I would go along with that. I reckon on every civil flight I have been on that someone in close proximity has got it wrong. Either sat on their belt, failed to tighten it or tried to use my belt.
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 15:32   #42 (permalink)
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I was for several years flying as SLF upwards of 100K miles a year. I ALWAYS listen to the briefing for 2.5 reasons:

0.5 - I want the crew to know I pay attention
1 - I may learn something new that will help in an accident
2 - I don't want new flyers around me thinking that it's OK to ignore the briefing then fing up in an emergency and placing me in additional danger.
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 21:50   #43 (permalink)
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Good call Juud

I fly weekly, this week 4 flights, two short & two long hall, on your line, as normal Juud.

Yes, I listen, yes I watch, and yes I take it seriously. I try and catch the cabin crew's eye, to let them KNOW I'm watching, it doesn't cost me anything, and I think it makes them feel a little happier knowing at least one of us can wait for the contents of the latest edition of the Holland Herald or the daily Blurb.

The only time I didn't take it TOO seriously was one hop from HUY to AMS, sat in 1A, when the flight attendant put all of the safety equipment on 1B (or C) anyway the seat next to me. The temptation to plug the demo seatlbelt into the spare fixed seatbelt on the empty seat, and loop the tapes of the lifevest around the chair arm were TOO tempting.

Made us both smile though as she tried to pick up said items in turn, of course, I denied all knowledge, it must have been the fairies !

Nowadays, I'm older for sure, and wiser, perhaps, so no messing around, one day I might just need your help up there !
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Old 16th Sep 2008, 23:42   #44 (permalink)
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SNS3Guppy - A question for you.

I read a firefighters hotel survival quide and it had similarities to aircraft.

Count the doors between your room and the fire exit ON ARRIVAL as it may be the last time you see them. You can then count them as you crawl along the floor in the smoke.

The guide also stated that after 15 seconds in smoke your eyes shut and stay shut. This is certainly my experience when the smoke from a tiny bonfire in my garden suddenly came my way.

I keep a pair of swim goggles in my pocket / on my hotel bedside table in the belief they will enable me to keep my eyes clear of smoke.
A very cheap, minimum bulk, hopefully security cleared safety aid.

Question. As I have never seen anything at all regarding my goggles approach, are there any serious downsides ?
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 00:35   #45 (permalink)

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Question. As I have never seen anything at all regarding my goggles approach, are there any serious downsides ?
I am sure SNS3Guppy will reply when able. In the meantime allow me to give you an example of what I experienced in an exercise of evacuating a smoke filled airliner cabin.

The airport fire/rescue department filled the cabin of a Boeing 727 full of smoke. Very dense heavy smoke, the only difference being that it was white smoke rather than the usual black smoke that usually occurs in an aircraft accident and obviously the smoke was non-toxic. As I was a PIC in the 727 I acted that part with a standard cockpit crew, with the exception of a observer from the fire/rescue department sitting on one of the jump seats.

Upon a signal from the observer I ordered the evacuation. At that time the cockpit was relatively free of smoke. The flight engineer was first out of the cockpit, then the co-pilot followed by myself. After two steps visibility was zero, I mean zero, I was wearing the full face mask with attached oxygen bottle. I am sure you have heard the expression of 'you can't see your hand in front of your face'. The only way I could see my hand was by placing it on the face mask. I could not see the cabin floor, the overhead or any of the seats. I thought I knew the cabins of our 727s like the back of my hand, after all I had been flying them for over 7 years when this happened. For this exercise the only exit that we were allowed to use was the mid-cabin right wing emergency window exit. I went right by the exit row, never saw it, I had to backtrack to get to the exit. In an actual accident that could have cost me my life. By design and SOP I, as the PIC, was the last person off the aircraft. Also for this exercise we had positioned four people to remain in the cabin, as if injured, for the fire/rescue personnel to find and remove.

They only found one. The other three came out after the exercise was declared over, much to the chagrin of the fire/rescue personnel. But all was forgiven as the firemen had to buys beers for the three guys not rescued.

The point of this story is that your goggles will help you keep you eyes free of toxic fumes/smoke for a short period of time, but do not depend on them to help you see in heavy smoke. One other thing to consider is the material around the goggles, probably rubber, rubber melts, no a good thing.

I would recommend to you and everyone else here in PPRuNe that you purchase a proper, certified and approved smoke hood. Carry them on board the airlines with you. My wife and I do and we also keep them close to us when staying in hotels.

I hope this helps answer your question beamender99.
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 00:38   #46 (permalink)
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are we here not preaching to the converted? I mean, SLF visiting PPRuNe are more likely to understand
Reading the posts since then, it seems there's a pretty steady stream of posters that not only listen attentively to every word of the briefing but also even 'try and catch the cabin crew's eye, to let them KNOW I'm watching, it doesn't cost me anything, and I think it makes them feel a little happier'. All very cosy.

The reality is obviously different - hence this thread I assume- commercial aviation is dependent on bums on seats, and the airline knows that there is a serious marketing and P&L downside to their customers dying unnecessarily as a consequence of using their product.

They also know that the perception of the vast majority (I'd estimate about 95+% at least) of their customers is that if there's a serious problem then they will die - i.e crash into a mountain/ocean, etc). Combine this with the actively promoted and therefore for same majority accepted mindset of 'flying is the safest form of transport' and bingo, we have a risk vs worry mindset of most passengers which is that the safety briefing is superfluous - i.e. the probability of it being useful is so remote I'll ignore it, especially if I've heard it before. They probably feel that the lottery ticket in their pooch is a bigger concern - and to be honest why wouldn't they?

Air travel is a commercial operation remember so the customers take a risk assessment themselves (flying is safe so I'll do it) when they buy the ticket even if those in the commercial airline biz feel the risk/ survival reward of the current briefing format differs between them and the majority of customers. To the customer they buy the risk when they hand over they're hard-earned cash for the ticket not when they're taxiying.

Where is the right balance between spooking the majority of airline customers by explaining clearly the what-if scenarios against the probability of their occurrence?

If they weren't required to by law, how many airlines would ditch the safety briefing as part of the job-spec for crew? How many airline employees would go on strike to argue to their employer that the pre-flight briefing should be reinstated on the grounds of risk vs reward for the $ the passengers put up?

Why not have a safety briefing before boarding? Why not at random times during the flight? Why not have key points printed on the same page as the boarding pass in this age of e-tickets? Why not vary all of the above and more?

My point is, it's more down to the biz than the passenger. If safety/survivability REALLY is your priority then MARKET it. Don't fall back on what you're compelled to do by law. Cabin staff simply going through the motions because they have to is commercially equivalent to passengers not being interested. Both parties are expending the minimum effort for what they perceive as minimal reward.
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 01:17   #47 (permalink)
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Many thanks for such a prompt reply

The point of this story is that your goggles will help you keep you eyes free of toxic fumes/smoke for a short period of time
That is exactly what I was trying to achieve.
From my bonfire smoke experience I recall wanting to just rub my stinging eyes rather than get out of the way. Goggles may just buy me a little more time.
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 01:29   #48 (permalink)

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I would still highly recommend that you acquire a smoke hood. Much, much better, they are not that expensive.
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 02:32   #49 (permalink)
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Getting out

What you were saying about finding the overwing exits in a smoke filled cabin, the old 737s used to have 2 buttons on top of the hatrack in line with these exits. ( don't know if the later models have them). One airline I used to work with; I asked the cabin crew if they knew about these buttons and they had never been told about them.
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Old 17th Sep 2008, 05:07   #50 (permalink)

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Con-Pilot is absolutely correct. I've never thought about swim goggles, but I suppose they might stave off the stinging effect in your eyes. Remember that you'll have the same effect with your nose, and with your lungs...and the airway (mouth through lungs) is the most critical component on your body...and the most vulnerable in a fire.

When I did structural firefighting, one of the basic skills of working inside a fire was doing it blind. If the fire is in the early stages and one can get below the "thermal balance," or the level at which the smoke stops...it's clear beneath and one can see a little. However, once the balance gets disturbed, all bets are off and one can't see at all. One of the techniques we were taught, and used, was to lay on our side (being on the floor makes a world of difference between being roasted and living..the temperature difference between the floor and standing up can be hundreds, and even thousands of degrees). We couldn't see the fire, but to detect flame above, pause and listen, and see if we could feel our ear burn. That was the test. Another involved shooting a burst of water in a fog stream up, and seeing if any came back on our mask...if it didn't, we knew it had vaporized right away and that it was HOT.

The point is we couldn't see to tell. We had to be able to find out way in and out of a structure by feel. A search of a building for survivors during a fire is often conducted the same way; completely blind. Finding one's way out of a fire may involve following the hose back out and having to feel the fittings on the firehose to determine which way one is going...one can't see.

When I did that, I was on self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) gear. Without it, I wouldn't have lasted ever a very short period in the smoke. Aside from the high carbon monoxide content, numerous extremely toxic components are in that smoke. As mentioned before, hydrogen cyanide is one of them. Contact with mucus membranes also creates hydrochloric acid...that's the burning you're feeling as irritation and pain in your eyes, nose, and lungs.

Commercial smoke hoods like the EVACU8 are available, but there's been considerable controversy over them through the years. Some insist on carrying them, some don't. If you're wearing synthetics and fighting the mases to find an exit in the wreckage, and there's a real fire around...you have very little time. It may or may not buy you that time; I can't say. Nobody can, really, because the dynamic nature of such an emergency means anything is possible or could happen.

In hotel rooms, I keep my shoes near the bed and handy, and a flashlight (torch) always nearby. I always note the exits. Counting doors is good, but exits are nearly always at the end of halls. It's very easy to go the wrong direction in the smoke, and when you're staying in hotels much of the year like I do, they start to appear alike. Use the right hand or left hand rule; when you go out your door, all you need to know is whether you go right or left, and keep the right or left hand on the wall, touching it, as you move, until you reach the exit. I've had only one emergency egress of a hotel over the years, and that was during an earthquake in California years ago. I was glad my shoes and gear was handy and ready to go...shoes are important because most people (myself included) don't sleep fully clothed, and burning material or sharp material may be on the floor on the way out...you need your feet to get there...and you need your shoes.

Back to the airplane...if there's a crash (or whatever emergency may occur), you can only count on having available to you what's actually on your person. If your things are in a purse or bag, under the seat or in the seatback ahead of you, there's a high probability you won't see them again or be able to get them or use them in flight. Things move and shift. Seats detach. Airplanes break up. Forces that move things around are considerable. If it's not on your person, directly under your control, you probably won't have access to it once the emergency really begins in earnest (part of the reason that when a ditching is going to happen, it's best to have the vest out of the bag and on you...you really don't want to be looking for it and opening it when the airplane is filling with water).

I think I've rambled enough in this thread, but it's always been a very important topic to me. I think having your own personal emergency equipment isn't a bad thing...obviously if you show up in a nomex flight suit with a survival vest on, to take a commercial flight, you might appear out of place. But dressing properly, taking precautions such as listening to the briefing, and preparing mentally will do a lot to give you the best opportunity to survive the unthinkable.

A few years ago, I carried a fire shelter in the airplane when fighting fires. I don't know anyone else who did, and I'd been encouraging the practice for several years without success. (A fire shelter is an aluminumized blanket one wraps over one's self when being burned over in a wildland fire; it's strictly a lifesaving item). Most who worked in that vocation felt that if one crashed during a fire mission, one wouldn't survive anyway...which is often the case. However, I found myself on a hillside during a very active fire, downwind of the fire, having experienced an engine failure. I was very much alive, but was downwind of the fire, in a field of cheat grass on a mountainside, with 40 knot winds...a fire can race through that at 30-40 knots and grass fires kill more people each year than any other kind (a little known fact). This was exactly the reason a fire shelter should have been carried. Fortunately, I didn't need mine...but thinking ahead and planning for our own needs is prudent...that could include the type of footwear you'll have on, the makeup of your clothes (synthetic vs. natural fiber), etc.

On a commercial flight, your tool for survival is getting clear of the airplane, following the directions that are given...and that's it. The briefing provides you most of the tools you need, if not all of them, to have the best chance to survive. Follow the briefing.
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Old 19th Sep 2008, 13:53   #51 (permalink)
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My thanks again to con-pilot & SNS3Guppy.

It is so helpful to a SLF to get feedback from those that have "been there done that"

I have been very close to quite a few horrible events (including quite a few aviation ones) and that does focus the mind on what can I do to reduce my risks.
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Old 19th Sep 2008, 21:23   #52 (permalink)
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Maybe lots of people ignore the safety briefing because not many people on god's green earth can easily tolerate the patronising, nasally tone with placing the accent on every word in the sentence, which hosties the world over inevitably adopt when speaking on the PA.

Here's a good safety briefing.
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