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US F-35 fighter jets grounded over pilot oxygen supplies. 2017

FLIGHT SAFETY: Hypoxia trained in classroom Navigator helps to avert accident, 2015

Hypoxia believed to be cause of fatal plane crash

Hypoxic pilot crashes

CASA Safety Video – Hypoxia

Sadly, hypoxia incidents and fatalities continue to occur. Acute hypobaric hypoxia is the most serious single hazard during flight at altitude 12.

Fortunately disaster can be prevented with the GO2Altitude® hypoxia education system. Act Now – for a quote or further information please contact us.

In 2000 there was a reported 11 civil aviation rate of accidental decompressions of 40-50 per year. This is one every 50,000 flying hours and in each of these incidents there is a possibility of crew incapacitation.

Well publicised hypoxia related accidents

Helios Airways Flight 522 (Boeing 737-31S) crashed on August 14, 2005 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Athens. All 121 people on board were killed – the second highest death toll for an aviation accident in 2005. Cabin pressurization did not operate correctly was not recognised by the crew before they became incapacitated by hypoxia.
Investigation report


Golfer Payne Stewart lost his life in October 1999 along with other passengers and crew aboard a Lear Jet 35 which decompressed at high altitude and crashed in South Dakota.


King Air Australia In September 2000 a B200 King Air departed Perth, WA bound for Leonora, but crashed from fuel exhaustion near Burketown in Queensland. It is believed that a lack of cabin pressure and subsequent hypoxia killed all on board long before the crash.

“Near misses”
You’re cruising at 41,000 ft – suddenly you wake up in an unusual attitude at 20,000 ft.


  • USAF 1976 – 1990 8:
    656 incidents, including one fatality and aircraft loss. 193 cases 9 occurred in aircraft with oxygen equipment being routinely used and a mask worn by aircrew at all times.
  • US NAVY 1969 – 1990 10:
    205 depressurisations’ with 45 hypoxia events including 4 fatalities
  • NTSB 1967 – 1990 8:
    40 aircraft mishaps resulting in 67 fatalities
  • Australian Defence Force (ADF) 1990 – 2001 2:
    27 incidents including 1 fatality


  • When the pressure’s Off, Unexpectedly.
    Patrick Viellette. Business & Commercial Aviation. Jan-2009.
  • Hypoxia Alert! Boeing 737 Crew Affected In Flight.
    Macarthur Job. Flight Safety Australia. Feb-2009, pp.59-63.
  • Weighing the Risks of Hypoxia Training.
    Flight Safety Foundation. August 2006.
  • Hypoxia, poor planning a deadly combination.


1) Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:392–394.
“Most of the pilots surveyed agreed that all pilots should receive introductory hypoxia training (92%), recurrent hypoxia training (86%), initial ACT (85%), and recurrent ACT (70%).”
Hackworth C, Peterson L, Jack D, Williams C. Altitude training experiences and perspectives: survey of 67 professional pilots.
2) Australian Defence Force hypobaric chamber training, 1984–2001
Wing Commander Tracy L Smart, BM BS, DipAvMed and Dr Gordon G Cable, MB BS, ACCAM, DipAvMed, MRAeS
Aviation, Space, and Environment Medicine* Volume 75, No. 4, Section II * April 2004
3) Examining Hypoxia: A Survey of Pilots’ Experiences and Perspectives on Altitude Training
Office of Aerospace Medicine Washington, DC 20591
Carla A. Hackworth, Linda M. Peterson, Dan G. Jack Clara A. Williams, Blake E. Hodges
4) Hypoxia familiarisation training by the reduced oxygen breathing method
Associate Professor Roderick A Westerman, PhD, MD, FRACGP
Aviation, Space, and Environment Medicine* Volume 75, No. 4, Section II * April 2004
6) Hypoxia Awareness training: past, present and future development
J. Stepanek, C. Bucks, S. Holets and T. Belda
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Aviation, Space, and Environment Medicine* Volume 75, No. 4, Section II * April 2004
7) Comparison of the physiological, cognitive and subjective effects of sea level and altitude-induced hypoxia
C.A. Vacchiano, K. Vagedes and D. Gonzalez NAMRL, Pensacola, FL
Aviation, Space, and Environment Medicine* Volume 75, No. 4, Section II * April 2004
8) The Effect of an air-breathing break during preoxygenation on altitude decompression sickness risk
Pilmanis and J. Webb
1 Air Force research Laboratory, Brooks City-Base, TX; 2 Wyle Life Sciences, Brooks City-base, TX
Aviation, Space, and Environment Medicine* Volume 75, No. 4, Section II * April 2004
9) Island RT, Fraley EV. Analysis of USAF hypoxia incidents January 1976 through March 1990. In: 31st Annual SAFE Symposium; 1993; Cresswell OR.: SAFE Association; 1993. p. 100-106.
10) Rayman RB, McNaughton GB. Hypoxia: USAF experience 1970-1980. Aviat Space Environ Med 1983;54(4):357-9.
11) Bason R, Yacavone DW. Loss of cabin pressurization in US naval aircraft: 1969-90. Aviat Space Environ Med 1992;63(5):341-5.
12) Griffiths R. Rapid decompression in air transport aircraft. Avmedia 2000;24(2):28-34.
13) Harding RM. Hypoxia and hyperventilation. In: Ernsting J, Nicholson AN, Rainford DJ, editors. Aviation Medicine. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann; 3rd ed.1999. p. 43-58.
Blumen IJ, Rinnert KJ. Altitude physiology and the stresses of flight. Air Med J. 1995 Apr-Jun;14(2):87-100. FULL TEXT

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