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Catastrophic Decompression; Small Place Solo



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 30th 03, 09:38 PM
Aviation
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Default Catastrophic Decompression; Small Place Solo

I have two questions inspired by Hollywood movies.

In the movies (Goldfinger, Executive Decision and so on),
when pressurized aircraft suffer catastrophic decompression
at high (25000+ feet) altitude (usually when the bad guy
shoots a bullet through a window) everything not tied down
gets sucked out of the plane and the aircraft goes into an
immediate, rapid nose dive and the pilots or the good guys
have to struggle to level it off or prevent a crash.

Is this an automatic "safety" feature of real, regular aircraft?
On the one hand, passengers need to get denser air to breathe
but large aircraft have oxygen masks that drop down. (I could
do some rough estimates that the average fat slob can hold
their breath for less than a minute so, without masks, the jet
would have to go from let's say 30000 feet to 5000 feet in
30-45 seconds. My ears would explode.)

I would think that a crash dive to a lower altitude could be
even more dangerous such as if it occurred in a crowded air
corridor. Maybe there are other dangers.

What REALLY happens (or is supposed to happen) in the event
of sudden decompression of real high flying aircraft?



The second Hollywood inspired question comes from Executive
Decision (1996). The main character is taking flying lessons
in a single prop 2-seater plane and lands. The plane is still
running (on the ground) and his instructor says, 'I think
you're ready to solo' and gets out. The main character starts
to taxi and then other non-flying plot developments happen.
I was wondering if taking your FIRST solo flight is that simple.

The location in the film in Washington, DC but I figure all
US flying is FAA regulated. Wouldn't the first time soloist
have to fill out some forms, file a flight plan with the
airport and maybe even do a complete pre-flight check on the
aircraft? Is the simplified movie solo flight completely
bogus or could it happen that way?


THANK YOU VERY MUCH.






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  #2  
Old December 30th 03, 10:05 PM
Peter Duniho
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"Aviation" wrote in message
u...
I have two questions inspired by Hollywood movies.


One should not believe pretty much anything a Hollywood movie has to say
about anything. Especially aviation.

That said, other than signing the student pilot's certificate and logbook,
there's not much fanfare to the student's first solo.

The other stuff is crap, just like pretty much any other "factual" element
of a Hollywood movie. They are for entertainment, not education.

Pete


  #3  
Old December 30th 03, 10:10 PM
Ron Natalie
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"Aviation" wrote in message Is this an automatic "safety" feature of real, regular
aircraft?
On the one hand, passengers need to get denser air to breathe
but large aircraft have oxygen masks that drop down.


The pilots initiate the dive for the reasons you suggest. While
supplemental oxygen helps, it's still better to get down to a reasonable
altitude. They presmably notify ATC while they are doing this that
there is an emergency in progress.

My ears would explode.)


Your ears already exploded when the aircraft cabin went from an
effective altitude of 8000 feet to 36,000 feet in a few seconds when
the depressurization occured.

The second Hollywood inspired question comes from Executive
Decision (1996). The main character is taking flying lessons
in a single prop 2-seater plane and lands. The plane is still
running (on the ground) and his instructor says, 'I think
you're ready to solo' and gets out. The main character starts
to taxi and then other non-flying plot developments happen.
I was wondering if taking your FIRST solo flight is that simple.


That's about how it happens. Technically, the student pilot's certificate
and logbook need to be signed to authorize the solo flight...but that's
pretty much how it happened to me. The instructor figured I was ready,
did a couple of landings with him (without him indicating that I might be
ready for solo) and then he got out. It was at a controlled field, so
shortly after takeoff, the controller asked how much better it flew without
that fat guy in the right seat.

Wouldn't the first time soloist
have to fill out some forms, file a flight plan with the
airport and maybe even do a complete pre-flight check on the
aircraft?


It wasn't Washington, it was "supposed" to be Frederick, Maryland about 50 miles NW
of DC. No flight plan is required, and the pre-flight check was done before they took off
the first time together, so there isn't much reason to do another.

Of course, most of the rest of that movie, including to stupid diversion to FDK rather than
Dulles (the Dulles runways are much wider and over twice as long as FDK), etc...

  #4  
Old December 30th 03, 10:12 PM
Bob Gardner
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Aircraft pressure vessels are continuously pressurized by bleed air from the
engines...that is, air is being pumped into the plane all of the time. To
keep the airplane from being blown up like a big balloon, an outflow valve
provides a continuous "leak" that lets air escape at a rate programmed by
the cabin altitude setting....so there is already a "hole" in the airplane,
put their by design. I have no direct knowledge of how big an airliner
outflow valve is, but I am going to guess three inches in diameter. Backing
up the outflow valve, in case it sticks in the closed position, is a safety
valve, preloaded to open at a given pressure differential...so there is
another hole, just waiting to open. Contrast that with the hole made by a
9mm bullet.

Don't believe ANYTHING you see on TV or in the movies about aviation. The
producers want viewers to be horrified, so they hype things up quite a bit.
Explosive decompression in and of itself does not cause the airplane to go
out of control, but the emergency measures required to get down to
breathable levels (typically 14,000 feet and below) in a hurry requires
extreme bank angles, far beyond what any airline passenger has ever
experienced in normal flight.

If a window blows out, everything that is not tied down will certainly be
sucked out, and this could include people if they were small enough. I keep
my safety belt fastened at all times when I fly...do you? Pilots have access
to altitude chambers, where they can experience explosive decompression
under controlled conditions...my ears did not blow out during a "dive" from
25000 feet to sea level. There was a big bang and the chamber filled with
fog...that was the moisture from the breath of us "passengers" condensing
out.

Emergency descents are part of training and recurrent training for jet
pilots.

I recall a movie starring either Governor Arnold or Bruce Willis in which a
fuselage-mounted engine was on fire. The hero was hanging out of the door,
of course (conveniently bypassing the fact that they are plug-type doors)
and the smoke from the burning engine was moving forward, into the relative
wind! Quite a trick!

Bob Gardner

"Aviation" wrote in message
u...
I have two questions inspired by Hollywood movies.

In the movies (Goldfinger, Executive Decision and so on),
when pressurized aircraft suffer catastrophic decompression
at high (25000+ feet) altitude (usually when the bad guy
shoots a bullet through a window) everything not tied down
gets sucked out of the plane and the aircraft goes into an
immediate, rapid nose dive and the pilots or the good guys
have to struggle to level it off or prevent a crash.

Is this an automatic "safety" feature of real, regular aircraft?
On the one hand, passengers need to get denser air to breathe
but large aircraft have oxygen masks that drop down. (I could
do some rough estimates that the average fat slob can hold
their breath for less than a minute so, without masks, the jet
would have to go from let's say 30000 feet to 5000 feet in
30-45 seconds. My ears would explode.)

I would think that a crash dive to a lower altitude could be
even more dangerous such as if it occurred in a crowded air
corridor. Maybe there are other dangers.

What REALLY happens (or is supposed to happen) in the event
of sudden decompression of real high flying aircraft?



The second Hollywood inspired question comes from Executive
Decision (1996). The main character is taking flying lessons
in a single prop 2-seater plane and lands. The plane is still
running (on the ground) and his instructor says, 'I think
you're ready to solo' and gets out. The main character starts
to taxi and then other non-flying plot developments happen.
I was wondering if taking your FIRST solo flight is that simple.

The location in the film in Washington, DC but I figure all
US flying is FAA regulated. Wouldn't the first time soloist
have to fill out some forms, file a flight plan with the
airport and maybe even do a complete pre-flight check on the
aircraft? Is the simplified movie solo flight completely
bogus or could it happen that way?


THANK YOU VERY MUCH.






--
Sent by xanadoof from yahoo element from com
This is a spam protected message. Please answer with reference header.
Posted via http://www.usenet-replayer.com



  #5  
Old December 30th 03, 10:32 PM
Ron Natalie
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Default


"Bob Gardner" wrote in message news:[email protected]_s51...
I have no direct knowledge of how big an airliner
outflow valve is, but I am going to guess three inches in diameter


I think this is a good guess. It sort of looks like the top of a can of
parmesan cheese.

  #6  
Old December 30th 03, 11:01 PM
Marco Leon
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Aviation" wrote in message
u...

The second Hollywood inspired question comes from Executive
Decision (1996). The main character is taking flying lessons
in a single prop 2-seater plane and lands. The plane is still
running (on the ground) and his instructor says, 'I think
you're ready to solo' and gets out. The main character starts
to taxi and then other non-flying plot developments happen.
I was wondering if taking your FIRST solo flight is that simple.

The location in the film in Washington, DC but I figure all
US flying is FAA regulated. Wouldn't the first time soloist
have to fill out some forms, file a flight plan with the
airport and maybe even do a complete pre-flight check on the
aircraft? Is the simplified movie solo flight completely
bogus or could it happen that way?


Yes as mentioned by others, the first solo is usually that easy (with a
couple of signatures in your logbook)

The plane in Executive Decision was a Bonanza that has 4 or 6 seats (model
F33 or A/B36 respectively. Not sure which was in the movie) and Kurt Russell
is a pilot in real life. That plane could have very well been his own Or
at least he may have been flying it during the filming. Anyone know??

Marco



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  #7  
Old December 30th 03, 11:05 PM
Martin Hotze
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Default

On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 17:32:44 -0500, Ron Natalie wrote:

I think this is a good guess. It sort of looks like the top of a can of
parmesan cheese.


A _*can*_ of cheese? Hu?

Cheese has to be 'fresh', and parmesan is made at the table from the piece.

#m

--
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http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/04/open-mikulan.php
oooops ... sorry ... it happened in the USA, ya know: the land of the free.
  #8  
Old December 30th 03, 11:30 PM
Bob Gardner
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Default

All of the gasses contained in your body come out through the closest
orifice (not your eardrums). Even if you were warned about the impending
decompression, you could not hold your mouth shut. In the pressure chamber,
from 25000 to sea level is instantaneous and you do a sustained
burp-and-fart. Never had to descend at emergency descent rates so I have no
experience in what happens to your breathing on the way down.

Bob Gardner

"Ron Natalie" wrote in message
m...

"Aviation" wrote in message Is

this an automatic "safety" feature of real, regular
aircraft?
On the one hand, passengers need to get denser air to breathe
but large aircraft have oxygen masks that drop down.


The pilots initiate the dive for the reasons you suggest. While
supplemental oxygen helps, it's still better to get down to a reasonable
altitude. They presmably notify ATC while they are doing this that
there is an emergency in progress.

My ears would explode.)


Your ears already exploded when the aircraft cabin went from an
effective altitude of 8000 feet to 36,000 feet in a few seconds when
the depressurization occured.

The second Hollywood inspired question comes from Executive
Decision (1996). The main character is taking flying lessons
in a single prop 2-seater plane and lands. The plane is still
running (on the ground) and his instructor says, 'I think
you're ready to solo' and gets out. The main character starts
to taxi and then other non-flying plot developments happen.
I was wondering if taking your FIRST solo flight is that simple.


That's about how it happens. Technically, the student pilot's certificate
and logbook need to be signed to authorize the solo flight...but that's
pretty much how it happened to me. The instructor figured I was ready,
did a couple of landings with him (without him indicating that I might be
ready for solo) and then he got out. It was at a controlled field, so
shortly after takeoff, the controller asked how much better it flew

without
that fat guy in the right seat.

Wouldn't the first time soloist
have to fill out some forms, file a flight plan with the
airport and maybe even do a complete pre-flight check on the
aircraft?


It wasn't Washington, it was "supposed" to be Frederick, Maryland about 50

miles NW
of DC. No flight plan is required, and the pre-flight check was done

before they took off
the first time together, so there isn't much reason to do another.

Of course, most of the rest of that movie, including to stupid diversion

to FDK rather than
Dulles (the Dulles runways are much wider and over twice as long as FDK),

etc...



  #9  
Old December 30th 03, 11:38 PM
Bob Gardner
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Posts: n/a
Default

I just measured my Kraft 8oz container of grated Parmesan...2 3/4 inches.
Close enough?

Bob Gardner

"Ron Natalie" wrote in message
m...

"Bob Gardner" wrote in message

news:[email protected]_s51...
I have no direct knowledge of how big an airliner
outflow valve is, but I am going to guess three inches in diameter


I think this is a good guess. It sort of looks like the top of a can of
parmesan cheese.



  #10  
Old December 31st 03, 12:25 AM
Geoffrey Barnes
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Posts: n/a
Default

Can't offer much help with your first question, but...

The second Hollywood inspired question comes from Executive
Decision (1996). The main character is taking flying lessons
in a single prop 2-seater plane and lands. The plane is still
running (on the ground) and his instructor says, 'I think
you're ready to solo' and gets out. The main character starts
to taxi and then other non-flying plot developments happen.
I was wondering if taking your FIRST solo flight is that simple.

The location in the film in Washington, DC but I figure all
US flying is FAA regulated. Wouldn't the first time soloist
have to fill out some forms, file a flight plan with the
airport and maybe even do a complete pre-flight check on the
aircraft? Is the simplified movie solo flight completely
bogus or could it happen that way?


The basic answer is "more or less". My first solo was more or less exactly
like that. But keep in mind that nobody solos on their first lesson, or
their third, or usually even their fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth. I had
15 sessions of dual instructruction, all with the same instructor, before he
signed me off to do my first solo.

Now, onto specifics. The first time soloist would have to hold a valid
medical certificate, and the instructor is required to have tested the
applicant on key bits of knowledge. Usually, this knowledge is tested using
an informal written examination. But other than getting the medical and
taking this test, no other forms need to be filled out, at least by the
student. The instructor has some paperwork to fill out. Specifically, the
instructor must inscribe some verbage into the student's log book, and sign
off an endorsement on the reverse side of the student's medical certificate.
So the instructor can't just verbally say, "I think you are ready", and then
climb out of the plane. Instead, the student gets a good minute or two to
contemplate their impending solo as the instructor writes things in their
book and on their certificate, and then the instructor gets out. And boy,
is it quiet all of the sudden when the instructor leaves, let me tell you!

No flight plan is required, because the first time soloist isn't really
going anywhere. The most a first time soloist is going to do is take off,
follow a rectangular path around the airport's traffic pattern, and land
(almost always on the same runway that he or she took off from).

The pre-flight wouldn't be necessary in this case, because the characters in
the movie would have alreaedy done one before the lesson began. After the
first few lessons, the student always does a preflight anyway. So in the
movie, the student would have done one prior to taking off with the
instructor onboard. By the way, the instructor has to do a few landings and
takeoffs with the student (I think it's three of each) immediately before
the first solo occurs. I'm not sure if that's part of the FARs, or just a
requirement of my FBO, but that's what he told me.

Hope this helps!


 




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