NASA Kennedy Space Center has developed a new device that may help prevent aircraft accidents by warning the crew of potentially dangerous or deteriorating cabin pressure altitude conditions and reminding them of the need for supplemental oxygen.
This personal, portable device can be used in a variety of aviation, aerospace, and non-aerospace applications where knowledge of one's exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen is important.
Hypoxia results from unprotected exposure above certain altitudes. Hypoxia is particularly dangerous for aircraft crew when there is a slow, progressive increase in cabin altitude or a sudden exposure to high cabin altitude.
This personal safety device alerts the user of dangerous or deteriorating cabin pressure altitude conditions, based on the limits prescribed in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). The device provides an alert when a programmed cabin pressure altitude is reached and an alarm if a second programmed cabin pressure altitude is reached or after 30 minutes between the two altitudes.
This technology uses a calibrated, temperature-compensated pressure transducer that functions independently from other aircraft systems. The end product serves as an important backup device for pressurized aircraft and is useful for time-at-altitude monitoring for non-pressurized aircraft. A standard unit is the size and weight of a personal pager. It contains a battery, the pressure transducer, a timer, alarms (auditory, vibratory, and visual), and a display that indicates the cabin pressure altitude and battery life.
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NASA Kennedy Space Center, Technology Programs & Commercialization, Mail Stop YA-C1,Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899. Tel: 321-867-6373; Fax: 321-867-2050.