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Thread: oxygen heights

  1. #1
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    Default oxygen heights

    Has any member any knowledge of the height requirements for the use of oxygen. I am looking at a number of projects, one involving single seater fighters and another from Bomber Command.

    Did the RAF have 'orders' relative to the use of oxygen. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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    Hi Colin,

    if I am right I have read somewhere an account o pilot transporting Mosquito from Canada to UK and there was something around 9 - 10 000 feets.
    But if there will be any official order, I am also interested in this information.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Hi Colin

    Good question, I'll be interested to see replies to this thread, as I had at least two pilots in 41 Squadron who died as a result of oxygen failure and the resulting loss of consciousness, and am currently looking into a third who came to again, but said he had passed out at 22,000 feet.

    The reason for this incident was that he had dismantled his oxygen mask to clean it when the squadron was scrambled. He therefore had no time to re-assemble it and took off without it. Needless to say, as the Squadron gained height, he lost consciousness, but was one of the lucky ones - in one respect - as he regained consciousness at a lower altitude. Returning to Catterick he alone, he was hauled before the CO to explain why he had broken formation. He explained himself but wasn't believed and accused, instead, of cowardice, taken off flying, ordered to resign his Short Service Commission and spent the rest of the War in the ATA! I have this story from the pilto himself.

    I will watch this thread with interest for some background information to add to this pilot's account.

    Cheers
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    I seem to remember my father saying in a Halifax III it was 10,000'
    Norman
    Last edited by namrondooh; 12th November 2008 at 13:01. Reason: forgot to sign

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    Yup,
    Un-pressurised a/c, oxymasks on at 10,000 feet.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I believe that 10,000 feet was used as the altitude for using oxygen for at least some of the pressurized Mosquito XVIs. The ORBs for 109 & 105 Squadrons detail a number of crew members passing out when there was a problem with their oxygen supply, even though they were pressurized. They usually operated at 25,000' to 34,000'.
    Regards
    Dave Wallace

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    Here are the current FAA regulations, it may be right to draw similarities to the WWII period. Any thoughts.

    Sec. 135.89 - Pilot requirements: Use of oxygen.

    (a) Unpressurized aircraft. Each pilot of an unpressurized aircraft shall use oxygen continuously when flying --

    (1) At altitudes above 10,000 feet through 12,000 feet MSL for that part of the flight at those altitudes that is of more than 30 minutes duration; and

    (2) Above 12,000 feet MSL.

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    Hi Colin,

    Air Diagram 2532 dd July 43 says :"ABOVE 10,000 FEET OXYGEN IS VITAL TO YOUR EFFICIENCY".

    This AD is reproduced in Donald Nijboer's wonderful "Graphic War, The Secret Aviation Drawings and Illustrations of WW2". Can always e-mail you a scan if of interest, just send me a PM.

    Cheers,

    Walter

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    The input to my question has been excellent, thank you everyone. It is clear that the height figure of 10,000 feet appears to be the point where oxygen is likely to be required. Clearly I suspect some lattitudes exists.

    When you look at operational heights for all Commands, oxygen becomes significant in many areas of deployment. Unless I am wrong almost a 100% requirement.

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    ...which all goes towards implying that 'my' pilot's account of passing out likely happened at a lower altitude than 22,000 feet. Hmmm, that might also raise further question marks over the story....
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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