|August 2008 Newsletter
Have you checked your training records lately?
Check your current training records - if you are close to the expiration date make your reservations now for any of our classes throughout the year. We always remind attendees a few days prior to the class.
In-flight Emergency –
On July 25 a Qantas Boeing 747-400 lost cabin pressure and the pilots made an emergency landing in Manila due to a portion of the fuselage that broke away from the main frame during the flight. A preliminary investigation indicated that an oxygen cylinder mounted in that area of the baggage compartment apparently was ejected along with the fuselage panel and probably luggage and/or cargo. Flooring on the main deck also buckled due to the incident. Cabin pressure was lost activating the overhead oxygen masks. The flight crew did a magnificent job in getting the aircraft down to a breathable altitude of 10,000 feet and then diverted the aircraft to Manila for an emergency landing.
Qantas inspectors later found remnants of the cylinder’s valve in the passenger cabin possibly indicating that the cylinder exploded causing the damage to the fuselage. Qantas’ 747-400 aircraft use cylinders of oxygen to supply passengers with oxygen if the passenger cabin loses its pressurization. The cylinders are mounted against the aircraft’s lower-deck fuselage and are considered to be part of the aircraft’s basic safety equipment and are not considered as cargo. Many other carriers use chemical oxygen generators to handle a similar loss of cabin pressure. Those canisters are mounted in the area of the overhead baggage compartments. In both configurations the oxygen masks for the passengers are automatically deployed when an aircraft loses cabin pressure.
Thankfully, there were no serious injuries as a result of this incident. Qantas has inspected all cylinders on other aircraft for any indication of potential problems.
The incident reminds us that dangerous goods shipments of oxygen transported from, to, or transiting the United States are affected by the State Variation USG-15 which places severe loading restrictions for oxygen cylinders as well as any chemical classified as an oxidizer.
As with all compressed gas cylinders, the risk of fragmentation exists due to damage, age, over-filling, failure to test the cylinder before filling, or mishandling. Fragmentation is a violent bursting of the cylinder causing pieces of the cylinder to act somewhat like a hand grenade.
Leakage of the gas of course is an imminent danger and with oxygen, the problem is always that a release of oxygen can cause an immediate risk of an intense fire or explosion.
Dangerous Goods Advisory Council
For thirty years the DGAC has been a leader in promoting safety in transportation. The council has been and advocate for the chemical industry as well as for transporters of dangerous goods/hazardous materials.
Over the past few months DGAC has proudly highlighted its accomplishments and if you are involved in manufacturing or transporting dangerous goods it would be well worth your while to visit their website at www.dgac.org to get an idea on how DGAC operates.
Mark Your Calendar
30th Annual Conference and Hazardous Materials Transportation Exposition
Check the DGAC website for additional information – www.dgac.org
If you are not a DGAC Member, you should consider joining this great organization.