View Full Version : Helios Airways Crash

08-15-2005, 03:30 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/08 ... index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/08/14/greece.crash/index.html)

That's just horrible. It seems like everyone on there knew that they were going to die.

One passenger sent a text message to someone saying farewell, that they were freezing. Also, all of their oxygen masks were down.

I don't quite understand the science of it, but how did it get cold like that?

My condolences to the families.

08-15-2005, 06:26 AM

That's just horrible. It seems like everyone on there knew that they were going to die.

One passenger sent a text message to someone saying farewell, that they were freezing. Also, all of their oxygen masks were down.

I don't quite understand the science of it, but how did it get cold like that?

My condolences to the families.
At 14,000 feet or higher there is not enough air for us to use, up at 40,000 feet it is quite impossible to survive. The aircraft engines will compress the air so the passengers can breathe. At altitude, the air temp goes way down.... As the altitude increases, the air temps decrease. At 40 thousand feet, the temps can go below 60 degrees below zero!!! Now if you have a slow depressurization, it will start to get cold but us humans may not realize how cold due to the lack of oxygen. It really is amazing how fast you can start to make wrong decisions with the lack of oxygen. If cabin has explosive depressurization, you do not have much time to get on oxygen before you pass out. That is where the real fun is at. At the moment of an explosive depressurization you will
1. Swear a bomb went off
2. Notice the entire cabin fog over like you are in a cloud
3. Feel how cold 60 degrees below zero feels
4. Think you are going to die from the rapid decent that a pilot will put a plane in (So that the passengers can get down to 14,000 to breathe)
5. Wish they have packed that extra pair a knickers in their carry on

In this case, it is not known if it was an explosive depressurization or both packs failing. The pilots should have checked their oxygen system before departure so the loss of pressure should not have incapacatated them. The pilots have pressurized air unlike the passengers that have a little personal oxygen canister. The passenger mask system is a can of solid oxygen that when activated will release large amounts of oxygen. The flight crew has personal oxygen tanks that allow them to walk around the aircraft and help others safely. Now the big questions!!!!

1. Why did the pilot not put the aircraft into an emergency decent to get to more dense air?
2. Why did the Pilots air not work (Possibley not checked before pushback)
3. How did the person who sent that text message see the pilot was blue and why did he not grab him and put him on O2????
4. Where were the FA's???? Why did they not give the pilot one of their personal pressurized oxygen bottles?
(On a side note, if the oxygen did not work...why didnít the pilot use the smoke hood?) that is a good backup that should never be needed.

LOTS of questions on this one.

08-15-2005, 10:29 AM
Derf wrote:
LOTS of questions on this one.

Indeed lots of questions.
This may be a plane crash which its investigation will end with conclusions that no one had ever thought about.
Normally, a malfunction of the air system inside the plane shouldn't have caused such a catastrophic result, especially with conditions like these, where the plane flies in day light, over land.
What happened here can bring up some new information about the potential dangers which are hiding in one of the aircraft's most plain looking systems.


USAF Pilot 07
08-15-2005, 02:06 PM
Derf you bring up great questions....

Either there's more to the story, or it was just a tragic, "freak" accident.

Lack of oxygen leads to hypoxia, which can lead to any of the symptoms Derf listed above. Each person handles hypoxia differently and while some experience symptoms, others don't. At 40,000 feet, the symptoms come on much more quickly, and it can be a matter of seconds for some people before they lose all function.

To be certified to fly, I was required to attend the Altitude Chamber 2 years ago at Peterson AFB. They took us up to 25,000 feet, where we took off our masks and "experienced" hypoxia for 15 minutes. Although I didn't experience anything (I also managed to fill out this little game fine), some of the people started getting "giddy", others started getting headaches, some felt like they were drunk and some had to put their masks back on and go to 100% oxygen (which blows oxygen in your mouth)...

08-15-2005, 02:37 PM
I've been through the Chamber a few times in my Air Force days, and you're right - different people react differently. We had one guy who got all silly on us, the instructor kept telling him "Number 15, put your mask on!" He finally got it on, across his chin, and he kept laughing and waving at the instructor. Finally, with assistance, he got back on oxygen, and didn't really remember what went on.

I remember having a groggy, confused feeling after a while, and colors got sort of muddy & dim. Certainly not something I'd want have happening in the aircraft. The scary part is that if you aren't familiar with the symptoms (especially how you are individually effected) you may not realize what is happening until it is too late to take corrective action.

08-16-2005, 09:40 AM
I am really interested to see what the black boxes reveal about this crash. I agree with all of the previous posts that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered here.

By the way, my wife told me last night that she read an article somewhere that said that the whole text message thing ("The pilot has turned blue") was a hoax, and that the guy who made the story up is facing charges. I couldn't find an article in a quick search this morning, but this doesn't surprise me at all. If it was so cold in the plane that the pilot had "turned blue", I highly doubt that someone in the back would be sending text messages. Besides, how the heck would the passenger know the pilot had "turned blue"?

USAF Pilot 07
08-16-2005, 11:31 AM
Also, how exactly do you send a txt message from 40,000 feet?? There's surely no signal from that high up, unless you happen to have an internation celly I would guess...

08-16-2005, 10:32 PM
The entire story and series of events is all very sad.
My father's side of the family is from Greece and it's truly sad to see how this could have happened.
There's still so much to find out.
For one, the pilot's body still hasn't been found.
And that text message really threw us all off; it's a shame someone would fool around like that.

My family was lucky since my cousins were traveling to Greece that very day.
I send my condolences to the passengers and their families.

08-19-2005, 02:13 PM
is there a procedure pilots follow when a plane decompresses like that ??

08-19-2005, 03:16 PM
yes....it starts something like

2. Make sure all your belts are securly fasened and get your ass below 14K ASAP
3. Give out extra coffee

May vary from Airline to airline