Sunday, April 3, 2011
Southwest Airlines Mishap
The lesson in Friday's Southwest Airlines incident is that it's absolutely critical that passengers put on their oxygen masks before doing anything else whatsoever. For example, instinctively putting the child's oxygen mask on first. In the emergency, a passenger tried to assist an elderly man who had fainted in the aisle only to end up fainting himself. Both hadn't put on their oxygen masks. By all accounts you don't have too much time to act either. When the cabin looses air pressure suddenly, air whooshes out of your lungs. The ambient air pressure outside your lungs is so much lower at high altitudes than the air in your lungs, that the air in your lungs becomes instantly high-pressurized. A passenger's pen exploded due to the same pressure differential. Secondly, to restore cabin pressure, or diminish the negative effects of low pressure, the pilot will immediately dive bomb the airplane to a lower elevation. Understandably, the emergency decent might be misconstrued as a crash trajectory especially since the pilot is too busy under the circumstances to get on the plane's intercom and brief the passengers of the safety maneuver.