Imagine yourself on a plane in the middle of nowhere-10,000 meters up in the air- when suddenly a window breaks and the air begins rushing out of the aircraft.
What would you do then ?
Well, it is most likely that you’ll find the captain making an informative announcement as the overhead bins eject oxygen masks. Consequently, you would then be instructed to properly put on one and then help those near you in doing the same. The role of the mask is to assist you in breathing in fresh Oxygen satisfactorily preventing any decompression symptoms. The captain will simultaneously be guiding the plane to the nearest airport to make an emergency landing.
In such critical situations, it is evident that these oxygen masks discern whether the matter has fallen closer to either the death or the survival of the passengers and crew with their effectiveness. They are crucial to the aircraft’s safety and operability by airlines.
Recently Boeing (The manufacturer for the B-787 Dreamliner) received some criticism and concern about the oxygen masks they’ve installed on their 787’s since 2008.
John Barnett, a former quality control engineer for Boeing, said that the oxygen systems he has tested in 2016 for the company’s iconic 787 Dreamliner jets did not work properly yet Boeing went ahead and installed them on the planes regardless.
Barrett has been a quality manager at Boeing for over 32 years. He was recently decommissioning some cosmetically damaged emergency oxygen systems for the company’s 787 Dreamliner jet in 2016 when he noticed some of the bottles containing the potentially life-saving oxygen weren’t discharging properly.
Barnett claims Boeing managers denied attempts to have the matter investigated. When he then tried to go over Boeing’s head and report the problem to the Federal Aviation Administration, it told him Boeing “had indicated it was working on the issue.”
He was later forced into early retirement because of the issue and Boeing hasn’t done any substantial changes to the masks since then, although mentioning that they’re working on it. “Based on my years of experience and past history of plane accidents, I believe it’s just a matter of time before something big happens with a 787, I pray that I am wrong.”
As of November 2019, there has yet to be a serious decompression incident on the 787 that has put Barentt’s claim to the test. We do only hope for the best though.