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RAF Beards...?

Old 31st Oct 2019, 19:22
  #161 (permalink)  
 
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Well here is another little FACT, ratter than conjecture. The Voyager aircrew O2 masks have written on the seals themselves “BEARDS WILL NOT SEAL” - so if you were going to be held personally responsible for the decision to allow Aircrew to go against the manufacturer’s warning, what would you do? I also understand that RJ has similar masks and probably other types too.

The latest dictat is supposed to be temporary until RAFCAM can scientifically quantify the risk, I don’t honestly believe there is anything more reasonable that can be done without the evidence. We moved away from “it’ll be alright” after the Nimrod et al and so this latest issue is no different.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 19:29
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Perhaps RAFCAM might ask the Saudis for some evidence, after all they have been flying in full sets using U.K. oxygen masks since Lightening days. Not sure how Typhoons ADOM masks sit with a beard but P&Q masks seem to work fine.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 20:13
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LJ - it appears that we agree; no one has yet scientifically quantified the risk.

MPN11 - conversely I think that the presence of a dense beard would lessen the risk of injury in a flash fire....but that’s just conjecture!
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 20:26
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Originally Posted by Stitchbitch
Perhaps RAFCAM might ask the Saudis for some evidence, after all they have been flying in full sets using U.K. oxygen masks since Lightening days. Not sure how Typhoons ADOM masks sit with a beard but P&Q masks seem to work fine.
Trouble is, ‘xx thousand hours of incident-free aviation with beards’ is not the type of evidence which counts for anything in matters of safety. Who knows how many near-misses went unreported or even unrecognised? And let’s not even ask about the reporting culture...

Sitting beard-wearing test subjects in a particulate-filled tent while feeding them 100% O2 through a standard regulator and mask and sending the exhaled air through particulate sensors (think respirator testing...) would be a scientific approach. Different conditions of head and jaw movement, mask toggle setting and beard length would need to be tested. I’m not aware of what RAFCAM is doing, by the way, just setting out what seems a cheap and easy experimental approach.

I very much suspect that the overpressure inherent to the 100% setting would render it totally safe, as everyone instinctively seems to know. It doesn’t seem like something that will take long to examine scientifically. But until that’s been done I can understand the unwillingness of Duty Holders to go against a HSE “will not”.
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 20:46
  #165 (permalink)  
 
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I may have missed this upthread, but is the RAF actually defining ‘beard’, rather than just long stubble?
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Old 31st Oct 2019, 21:27
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MPN11 - conversely I think that the presence of a dense beard would lessen the risk of injury in a flash fire....but that’s just conjecture!
[/QUOTE]

At the risk of lowering the tone, one of the acknowledged dangers of igniting flatus is forest fire.
Not, of course, that I have ever participated in, or indeed watched, said exhibition.
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 07:13
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Perhaps RAFCAM might ask the Saudis for some evidence, after all they have been flying in full sets using U.K. oxygen masks since Lightening days.
Just ask the Fleet Air Arm.
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 10:43
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And the air forces of the Middle East.......
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 11:11
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Originally Posted by Mil-26Man
Just ask the Fleet Air Arm.
I remember several Falklands Sea Harrier pilots (including one at the time on-loan RAF pilot who posts on here) carrying 'full set' beards by the end of the conflict.

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Old 1st Nov 2019, 13:38
  #170 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 57mm
And the air forces of the Middle East.......
Saudi Arabia is in the Middle East. My point was that there is no need to go so far afield when there is ample experience already within the UK military for the RAF to draw upon.
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 15:01
  #171 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mil-26Man
Saudi Arabia is in the Middle East. My point was that there is no need to go so far afield when there is ample experience already within the UK military for the RAF to draw upon.
and, frankly, who here would take safety advice from any Middle Eastern air force?
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 15:15
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Originally Posted by Davef68
I remember several Falklands Sea Harrier pilots (including one at the time on-loan RAF pilot who posts on here) carrying 'full set' beards by the end of the conflict.


OK, not the most luxurious growth!!
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 19:56
  #173 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, but without a look-down shoot-down RADAR the FRS1 wasn’t going to sit at FL nosebleed to detect targets - you could probably fly with the window open!

This was what kicked off this whole affair - a new beard wearer in a Typhoon started feeling a bit squiffy at FL nosebleed and it was deduced that his beard was the issue by the Squippers. The new, temporary, guidance followed shortly after with an expectation for a scientific qualification that beards should be safe, but until that is done by RAFCAM then it is time to go clean shaven for a bit. I also hear rumour that the poorly pilot had been putting some odd concoction on his face fungous that may well have caused the issue - although that is rumour (this is a rumour network, right?).
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Old 1st Nov 2019, 20:18
  #174 (permalink)  
 
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It must have been Brylcreem.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 04:19
  #175 (permalink)  
 
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I just hope the military have got it right on this one and aren't opening themselves up to legal battles.

For instance:

if this is flight safety, will our mil personnel be allowed to fly on air tanker if their civvy pilots have beards?

And I can only presume, we have grounded any students of religious faith from flying in the U.K. as well?

How, exactly do the Navy, the airlines and the rest of the world do it?

And that's just scratching the surface.......
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 08:29
  #176 (permalink)  
 
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It does seem that there is a great deal of emotional investment in this subject, which further undermines the idea that the dearth of reported occurrences proves safety. How many proud beard wearers would report a slight whiff of fumes or mild hypoxia if they thought the rules on face furniture would come under scrutiny as a result? I wonder if that was a consideration in the decision to get RAFCAM on the case with some science rather than relying on ‘incident-free’ history.

And if LJ’s rumour is correct, BZ to the pilot who reported...
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 08:41
  #177 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 3 bladed beast
I just hope the military have got it right on this one and aren't opening themselves up to legal battles.

For instance:

if this is flight safety, will our mil personnel be allowed to fly on air tanker if their civvy pilots have beards?

And I can only presume, we have grounded any students of religious faith from flying in the U.K. as well?

How, exactly do the Navy, the airlines and the rest of the world do it?

And that's just scratching the surface.......
Alternatively, might it be the case that 13 years after the Nimrod accident, the RAF is finally applying more rigour to some aspects of safety than other parts of the aviation sector? The 737 MAX saga shows clearly that civil aviation is not the paragon of virtue that you imply, and there are plenty of other examples. Of course I expect DV and Chug to point out areas where the RAF remains behind (Typhoon TCAS most obviously) but that doesn’t mean it has to lag in all areas.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 11:13
  #178 (permalink)  
 
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Easy street

thats one of the questions answered then.....

what's your thoughts on allowing people to fly on religious grounds, even though ( apparently) a beard is a flight safety issue?
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 12:07
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Originally Posted by 3 bladed beast
Easy street

thats one of the questions answered then.....

what's your thoughts on allowing people to fly on religious grounds, even though ( apparently) a beard is a flight safety issue?
I reckon that’ll be due to the HSE publication (quoted earlier) offering some legal wriggle room in cases where beards “must” be worn.
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Old 2nd Nov 2019, 12:19
  #180 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Easy Street


I reckon that’ll be due to the HSE publication (quoted earlier) offering some legal wriggle room in cases where beards “must” be worn.
for instance, on medical grounds?!

unless we put religion ahead of medical grounds!?
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