Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why was there no May Day on Air France?

My dad was in the Air Force. There was no may day on Air France Flight 447 because of the rapid depressurization of the air plane. He said that at the normal cruising altitude of 32,000 ft, if the plane is depressurized you have about 2 to 3 seconds of consciousness before passing out. The air in your lungs, intestines, and sinuses are sucked out. If you have any air pockets in the fillings in your teeth, the fillings will pop out.

He said at that altitude the temperature is -58 below zero. It would take 5 minutes to free fall from 32,000 feet to 14,000 feet where you would not need an oxygen mask.


Philip said...

The problem here is that all major aircraft are outfitted with oxygen masks that the pilots can use to prevent themselves from losing consciousness. I would also dispute the 2-3 secs (my dad was also in the airforce and *I* was an Airman in the Navy) as the loss of consciousness is due to a lack of oxygen at that altitude and even completely submersed in water the body has a 15-30 second supply.

I don't think there was a 'Mayday' call sent out because they were experiencing electrical problems and it is likely that they were not able to make such a call.

Greg Finzer said...

Maybe the electrical problem prevented the oxygen masks from deploying as well.