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Home > Emergencies > Is it true that you would pass out within 15-20 seconds when an aircraft loses pressurization?
Is it true that you would pass out within 15-20 seconds when an aircraft loses pressurization?
Flying - Emergencies
Friday, 04 July 2014 13:09

Cabin Depressurization Causes Release of Oxygen Masks
 
Hi Capt Lim,

I read,

"…That if the oxygen masks drop down, you only have about 15 minutes of oxygen from the point of pulling them down. However, that is more than enough time for the pilot to take us to a lower altitude where you can breathe normally.

More important - at altitude, you have 15-20 seconds before you pass out. Put yours on first and then do your kids. Passing out for a few seconds won't harm the kids. "

Is it true?

Joseph

Hi Joseph,

I am not sure where you read those facts, but they are basically true.

Inside the cabin, the oxygen masks would drop from the ceiling once the cabin altitude is above 14,000 feet. The oxygen would be either be from a chemical generator or a gaseous system that lasts about 15 minutes.

A pilot would take around 5 minutes to descend from 40,000 feet to 10,000 feet where oxygen is no longer required. So there is still a buffer of 10 minutes in case the emergency descent is delayed for whatever reason.

It is true that at around 40,000 feet, if pressurization in lost you have about 15-20 seconds before you passed out. Therefore a mother must naturally don the oxygen mask first before attending to the child.

For Time of Useful Consciousness (TUC) take a look at this chart below:-



Qantas Boeing 747 Explosive Depressurisation

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