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November 1993–February 1994
The debate about smoke hoods for passengers on commercial transport-category aircraft began in the 1960s and is continuing today. Questions remain about whether smoke hoods would make emergency evacuations from burning aircraft safer or would cause deadly delay.
Laptop computers, portable radio/tape players and portable compact disc players may make a passenger’s flight more productive or enjoyable — but they may also cause cockpit
instruments to malfunction.
Effects of Radiation Exposure on Air Carrier Crew Members Examined 8 pages. [PDF 38K]
Air crews are exposed to higher levels of radiation than those who work on the ground. Although long-term health effects are as yet impossible to predict, some pregnant air crew members could be exposed beyond recommended limits.
Seconds after the Boeing 737 collided on landing with another aircraft holding for takeoff at Los Angeles International Airport, the cabin was filled with thick, black smoke. Despite heroic
efforts by flight attendants, the evacuation was hampered by intense fire and delays in opening some exits.
U.S. Report: Progress Slow in Fireproofing Aircraft Cabins 6 pages. [PDF 42K]
In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration upgraded its standards for flammability levels for cabin interiors. The FAA anticipated that 85 percent of the U.S. air carrier fleet would meet the standard by 2000, but current estimates suggest that the number will be 55 percent. The U.S. Government Accounting Office says there is a need to reassess a mandated retrofit.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has mandated new rules designed to improve access to Type III overwing emergency exits. A recent study examines which seat and exit configurations offer the best egress values.