Netjets Falcon 2000 window implodes at 43000 feet, all okay!


[ ]FAA preliminary report]( Co-pilots window implodes at 43000 feet
[ ]Flightaware]( EJA259 diverts to Syaracuse Hancock International
[ ]Flightaware]( at 15:43 EJA259 decends from 43000 feet to 5100 feet in ten minutes
[]N259QS ]( Netjets Falcon 2000


What’s the procedure for an emergency descent like that?
Throttle back to idle and airspeed just below red line?
Obviously you gotta get oxygen masks on ASAP, but do you establish the descent first and then grab the mask?


Gotta don the mask first and immediately! With a catastrophic loss of pressurization at that altitude the time of useful consciousness for a healthy person is 10-15 seconds tops! Power levers to idle, airbrakes extend, roll the aircraft into a 45 degree bank to help initiate the descent to Mmo/Vmo down to at least 15,000 ft… terrain permitting.

I do it at Flightsafety at least once a year…hope that I never have to do it for real… :open_mouth:


Mask first; you can’t do %^&* if you’re passed out.
A steep banked turn during the descent will help avoid overspeeding (increased g-loads -> increased lift -> increased drag) if the situation calls for an extremely rapid descent (like an in-flight fire). And some military transports can/will pop the thrust reversers for the same reason.


That flight nurse whose window lost it at 20-22K and sucked him half way out of the plane, said when referring to the famous golfer’s jet, said that at 40K you only have 3 secs. I know that 12 secs either way isn’t really a big deal but I remember that story making me wonder if 3 secs was even enough time to grab the darn mask. And I would imagine 10-15 secs IS enough time to grab it. I guess when you’re that scared, that prayers matter a whole lot more than seconds. And maybe they even have a little input over the length of those seconds.

I’m so happy to hear this story had a happy ending.


During type rides with quick donning masks, the goal is to get the mask on within 5 seconds once told of an explosive decompression/rapid decompression. Its stories like this that really reinforce why it is important to train to this standard.


In the PC12 and the P180, both without speed brakes and spoilers, you can also extend the landing gear. Yeah, the gear speed is 180knots in the P180 but the worst thing that’s going to happen is you might rip off a few landing gear doors. If it’s a serious emergency get-down, I’ll rip the doors off if it gets me to a safe altitude. At flight idle and 260knots (Vmo) we’re doing a little more than 3500fpm. With the gear down it can be much more than that, though I’d have to do it in the sim to tell you exactly how much.


Now roll into a 45, and watch the rate of descent double! If you really want to come down, once you have done the others roll into a 45.


Apparently he misspoke on two counts. Count one, refer to the chart in the accompanying link:

Count two, in regards to the “famous golfer’s jet”
The NTSB’s account of events does not support the “flight nurse’s” comments.

Further, the little yellow “dixie cup” passenger oxygen masks are not designed for continuous use at a high ambient pressure altitude because they are incapable of providing a positive seal to the wearer’s face. In most cases the cockpit crew masks are the only masks aboard a pressurized aircraft (including airliners) that provides for a positive seal allowing oxygen to reach the lungs under pressure so they (the lungs) can do their job. To be quite frank, the “dixie cups” are rather useless. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, a vigilant cockpit crew will have decended the aircraft to an unassisted breathable altitude before the “dixie cups” can provide any real benefit.


Interesting. This news makes me nervous, not being a pilot. Time for new oxygen masks on airliners. Either that or bigger cookie bags for when the airliner descends 30K in 12 seconds.


Just a couple of thoughts AZ that I am sure that you remember from your high alt. training …

  1. Everyone reacts differently to hypoxic environments. There are many various factors that go into how well or not someone reacts to rapid or explosive decompression. Age, smoker/drinker or not, level of fitness, VO2 max of the individual, etc. That was probably one of the most important things that I took away from my first trip to the “chamber” for high alt training. At 25000 ft, some people made it a minute to minute and a half. My useful consciousness was roughly 2.5 to 3 minutes, but I continued trying (grossly incorrectly I might add) to do my tasks until the test was over at 5 minutes,and I needed to be asked, then told, to put on my O2 mask. After watching the video of our group, I came away with everyone is different, and the books don’t mean a thing with their tables – they are simply a guide to which to refer.

  2. Finally, an explosive decompression is different than rapid or slow decompression. When explosive occurs, air and pressure is literally sucked out of the aircraft, including the air in your lungs. Based on how everyone reacts differently, there may be some out there who only have 3 seconds of useful consciousness.

  3. The final thing to consider is at what pressure/temperature does your blood boil. As pressure altitude decreases, the termperature at which boiling is measured also decreases. Our blood should be at 98.6 F…I am told that in the mid 40’s, one has about 15 to 30 seconds.


One thing none of you have mentioned is the decent at Vmo/Mmo is only if the a/c structure is sound. Otherwise a slower decent would be prudent.

Crew mask (Eros brand mask) are good to FL400 (that’s cabin alt.) PAX mask are good to a cabin alt of FL250.

I can’t speak with authority on the F2000, but many smaller cabin jets can maintain an acceptable cabin altitude with a window missing. It will be interesting to see how fast the cabin was rising and how high it did get in this case.

I teach in the sim a descent at 250 (Mmo is 305) with the gear extended if there is a problem or question with the a/c structure. I also MAKE the crew actually put the mask on, many instructors don’t do this. I get a lot of complaints from crews, but if you don’t train it, it won’t be second nature if it really happens.

Also a roll, though it does work, may contradict the AFM. The XL does not call for a roll. I understand the logic as to why you roll, but the FAA told Cessna that if they put “roll the aircraft” in the checklist then Cessna had to come up with an exact number. I think some of the fear there is you’re already in a very stressful and distracted state, rolling the a/c risk the possibility of losing control.

Interesting note that the XLS (I instruct in both the XL and XLS) has an auto decent feature. All have to do is get your mask on and pull the power levers to idle. The a/c will pitch down 15 then Vmo/Mmo -5 and turn 90 off course (RVSM track requirement) and descend to 15000’ all on the autopilot.

Either way, no one was hurt and the crew/pax will live to talk about this. SO great job and shows that training pays off. :wink:


As westwardair and leardvr have elaborated very well, there are many situational issues involved with this type of occurance. Circumstance of the event, physiology, procedure, etc. All points to be taken seriously and carefully.

My initial response was an attempt to answer NeedleNose’s question, in which I provided the short version memory items of the rapid de-compression at altitude procedure. By which hopefully I did justice to our training counter-part leardvr :slight_smile:


Re: Leardvr’s comments about the XLS, does anyone know if the 2000 has an emergecy descent mode? I know it is becoming increasingly common in the heavy iron.


I don’t think it does. But I work tomorrow and I’ll find out, I’ll also find out if their AFM calls for a turn or not.


With the pressures involved both inside and outside the cabin, there is absolutely no way that a cockpit window would “implode”. It may “explode” or blow out, but is absolutely impossible to blow in.

I suspect that the outer pane of the window shattered and the crew diverted.


Good catch, I guess we all forgot to read the title.


You don’t need a tight seal or high pressure oxygen delivered to the lungs in order to get enough to stay awake. Sea level air is about 15 pounds per square inch and about 20% oxygen, so the oxygen pressure is only about 3 psi of the total. As long as your body is at the same pressure as the outside air, you can pull air/oxygen into your lungs at very low pressures (for example, many people have climbed to the summit of Everest without supplemental oxygen). The real issue is the volume of oxygen flowing from the masks. I believe that the flow rate in the passenger masks are set to deliver a low flow rate to keep them at about 5 - 7,000 equivalent pO2 up to around low 20,000’s altitude. The quick don masks in the cockpit are able to deliver a much higer flow rate and the face seal enables more of that volume to get into the lungs.


Your point is valid, but your math/example is faulty. The average atmospheric pressure, at sea level, is about 101.3 kilopascals (about 14.7 PSI). While the O2 portion of the atmosphere at sea level is only approx. 20% by volume, it’s at 14.7 PSI, as are all the other gases in the aliquot. You can’t divide PSI into percentiles.


Actually it is correct, that is the definition of pO2, also called the partial pressure of oxygen.