posted on Mar, 29 2017 @ 11:00 AM
a reply to: introvert
Basically, the way that a fighter's air-supply system works is like a fancier version of the CPAP mask that your uncle uses to sleep at night (more
realistically, it's probably closer to the acute in-hospital CPAP system that your grandmother is hooked up to after she goes into flash pulmonary
edema on Monday because she ate a bit too much ham at Easter lunch).
Like any CPAP system, there's an inlet through which it takes in air to compress and send to the facemask. I'd imagine that on an aircraft,
especially an old one with leaks and such, that that inlet and the filters involved with it are
1: More prone to randomly clogging, at which point the pilot starts feeling lightheaded and turning the color of the girl who ate the bad bubblegum in
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. This is that much more likely if the system uses chemical filters to concentrate Oxygen, as those are just as
likely to clog at the Brita in your fridge.
2: More prone to start taking in various hydrocarbons that are leaking from elsewhere inside the aircraft as its fuel and hydraulics systems
inevitably start to shed fluid after a quarter century worth of use. This also makes the pilot lightheaded for a bunch of much nastier reasons (have
you ever smelled Sevoflurane, Desflurane, Isoflurane, or any other anaesthesia gas as it spills and starts vaporizing? It smells EXACTLY like brake
cleaner or throttle body cleaner, because it's just another VOC. Volatile organics do nasty things to the brain, which is why they can zonk you out
so hard that you have no recollection whatsoever of your surgeon digging around in your chest for three hours during your quadruple-bypass procedure.
It's also why gasoline smells so good...). Furthermore, it also clogs up those filters and makes #1 that much more likely to happen.
So yeah, either of those aren't something that you want to have happen when you're behind the wheel of a $50 million aircraft the size of a tennis
court with as much horsepower as a midsize airliner.
Looking at this issue and the F-22's problems, methinks there might not be as much medical oversight of pilot air-delivery systems as there probably
edit on 29-3-2017 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)