New Quick Don Mask for Airmen

  • Published
  • By Karen Dooney
  • Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron
Did you know at or above 35,000 feet you have less than 10 seconds during a rapid decompression to don an oxygen mask before your time of useful consciousness is exceeded and you black out? This may not cross your mind while traveling on a commercial airline, but military service members must think of it every day. It becomes worse if a fire occurs...fumbling with a pair of smoke goggles is the last thing you want to be doing.

The Air Force's current Quick Don Mask consists of a two part assembly: the primary oxygen mask and a separate anti-smoke goggle. Crewmembers required additional time to don the mask and goggle, distracting them from reacting to the situation at hand, and ultimately leading to safety concerns for the Air Force. In reaction to these safety concerns, the Air Mobility Command commissioned AVOX Systems Inc, to develop a new oxygen mask integrating the breathing portion with the smoke goggles that met stringent Federal Aviation Administration requirements for the mask to be donned in 5 seconds or less. Additionally the AVOX Quick Don Mask was designed as a "one size fits all" mask and also accommodates members wearing prescription glasses.

Military members can breathe easier knowing that the new Quick Don Mask is being tested by Test Directors from the Air Mobility Command's Test and Evaluation Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB-MDL), New Jersey. To cover AMC's vast range of mobility aircraft, the modified AVOX Quick Don Mask is being tested in four phases: the C-130E/H at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; C-130J at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas; KC-135 at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas; and C-17 at JB-MDL, New Jersey.

The new AVOX Quick Don Mask is just one of AMC's aviation safety improvements. According to the Chief of Staff in 2010, "We recorded the safest year in aviation history for the second consecutive year, achieving decreases in flight mishap rates in almost every category, clearly illustrating our institutional commitment to preserving our equipment and people." With the help of personnel throughout McConnell Air Force Base and the Air Force, we can continue to maintain the Air Force's commitment to care for our airmen and their families, whether on the ground or in the air.