Planned and Unplanned Emergencies
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    Thursday
    Jul152010

    Protective Breathing Equipment (PBE)

    Breathing equipment comes under EU Ops 1.780 which requires all pressurised aircraft (so meaning ALL bizjets) to have some form of protective breathing equipment.  For flight deck crew, the equipment carried has to protect the eyes, nose and mouth of the crew for not less than 15 minutes and this can be in the form of the supplemental oxygen such as the EROS system. However, where the flight crew is more than one and NO flight attendant is carried then portable PBE must be carried to provide protection as above, again for no less than 15 minutes. It also has to be in a position so that each flight crew member can put it on immediately whilst still in their seat. This is sensible, as the average pilot holding their breath is unlikely to be able to do so for long enough in the time it takes to unstrap, headset off, climb out of their seat, search for the PBE, unwrap it, activate it and put it on.

    If flight attendants are carried, then there has to be PBE for each, so all crew on board have at least 15 minutes of protection at the same time – obviously not much point in trying to share a mask! The PBE must be at the flight attendant’s station, however bizjets don’t have one as such so I suppose it’s down to the operators preference.  In the jet I fly, the PBE is stowed in the locker behind the pilots, easily accessible by any of the crew members should the need arise.

    Finally, an additional, easily accessible portable PBE must be provided next to or near the hand fire extinguisher in the cabin and one should be near the hand fire extinguisher that is provided for any baggage hold accessible in flight. What does that mean in reality? Just how many PBE do you need on your average bizjet?  Well, if you have less than 7 seats and no accessible baggage compartment, you could have one.  More than 7 seats, a flight attendant and an accessible baggage compartment, then 3 PBE is what you should be carrying.  To those of you thinking that you maybe carrying too few, just remember that you may have what is classed as other PBE, such as the Full Face Smoke Mask used with a portable oxygen bottle, and you also have the EROS masks.

    In my next posting on this page, I will look at the common types of PBE, how to check for serviceability and how to use them in an emergency.