Flying After Conducting an Aircraft Excessive Cabin Leakage Test

Aviation medical specialists should be aware that commercial airline aircraft engineers may undertake a 'dive equivalent' operation while conducting maintenance activities on the ground. The authors present a worked example of an occupational risk assessment to determine a minimum safe preflight surface interval (PFSI) for an engineer before flying home to base after conducting an Excessive Cabin Leakage Test (ECLT) on an unserviceable aircraft overseas. The authors use published dive tables to determine the minimum safe PFSI. The estimated maximum depth acquired during the procedure varies between 10 and 20 fsw and the typical estimated bottom time varies between 26 and 53 min for the aircraft types operated by the airline. Published dive tables suggest that no minimum PFSI is required for such a dive profile. Diving tables suggest that no minimum PFSI is required for the typical ECLT dive profile within the airline; however, having conducted a risk assessment, which considered peak altitude exposure during commercial flight, the worst-case scenario test dive profile, the variability of interindividual inert gas retention, and the existing policy among other occupational groups within the airline, the authors advised that, in the absence of a bespoke assessment of the particular circumstances on the day, the minimum PFSI after conducting ECLT should be 24 hours.


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  • Accession Number: 01618089
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2016 8:52AM