Hypoxia risk awareness

Hypoxia risk awareness

Hypoxia risk awareness

The Comex Hyperbaric and Hypobaric Test Center is pleased to regularly receive a delegation of students and instructors of EPNER (School of flight test and reception staff) for an hypoxia risk awareness session in altitude chamber hypoxia training.

©EPNER

EPNER

Formerly flight test center / CEV created in 1946, now part of DGA Flight Test Dpt, EPNER trains crews involved in test flights ; theoretical courses come along practical hands-on exercises that allow in-flight tests of the aircraft characteristics, carried out under the optimum safety conditions. Trainees are : test pilots, engineers, mechanical and test engineers as well as air traffic controllers for specific test flights.

Located in Istres (60 km from Marseilles) since 1962, EPNER carries out its activities within the DGA (General Delegation for Weapons, a branch of French MOD). This gives the school a unique position between the Armed forces and the Industry on one hand, and between military and civilian testing sectors on the other hand. EPNER has been training crews in these different areas for more than 70 years.

The high quality of this training, based on teamwork between pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers, is recognized at the highest levels of the international aviation community.

 

Comex Altitude Simulator for human subject test aeronautical oxygen equipment 

 

In order to carry out hypobaric tests in the field of aeronautics and space, Comex Test Center of has been equipped since 2017 with an hypoxic chamber, also called hypobaric chamber or altitude simulator.

The possibility of reproducing in this 20m2 hypoxic room flight conditions up to 40 000 meters of altitude (131 000 feet), allows our partners, the main european and worldwide international organizations and industries in the aeronautics and aerospace sectors, to perform, with the help of our dedicated staff, tests on human behaviour, as in this case a simulation of hypoxia – and also qualification tests for equipment and materials.

Total control of extreme conditions of pressure and temperature allows our company to be involved in a very wide range of projects.

 

Hypoxia situation in COMEX altitude chamber

 

With the unit set up in the flight simulator mode, this test was designed to allow EPNER trainees to face hypoxia situations in the most realistic possible conditions.

This allowed the crew to be exposed to hypoxia in an attempt for each trainee to identify possible precursory physiological signs.

It further allowed detection of equipment failures (O2 breathing masks) or structural damage on the aircraft (due to sudden pressure loss etc.).
It also emphasized the dangers of flying at high altitude.

Under these various situations, trainees had to apply recently learned techniques to bring the crew safely back to the ground or to a possible ejection zone.

Medical supervision

Medical assistance was provided all through the test sessions by the Institute of Physiology and Medicine in the Maritime Environment and Extreme Environment “PHYMAREX” which brings together a group of doctors and nurses mainly from the Public Assistance of Marseille Hospitals (APHM) and more precisely the Hyperbaric Center of Sainte Marguerite University Hospital. Operational members are trained in hyperbaric medicine and / or emergency medicine and / or aeronautical and aerospace medicine.

Under the supervision of Dr. Mathieu COULANGE, emergency physician specializing in hyperbaric medicine, maritime medicine and aeronautical medicine. Head of the hyperbaric, underwater and maritime medicine department of Sainte Marguerite University Hospital.

Comex.SA

36, bd de l’Océan – CS 80143
13275 Marseille – Cedex 9 –
FRANCE

+33 4 91 29 75 11

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Hypoxic chamber : Preliminary steps to an actual man dive at the altitude of 6400m above sea level

Hypoxic chamber : Preliminary steps to an actual man dive at the altitude of 6400m above sea level

Hypoxic chamber : Preliminary steps to an actual man dive at the altitude of 6400m above sea level

Frédéric Swierczynski, diver of the extreme, came to prepare for
a high altitude dive in the lakes of the world’s highest active volcano, el Nevado Ojos del Salado in the Andes. This preparation took place in an altitude simulator, the hypobaric chamber at Comex trial and test Centre in Marseille, France.

 

Extreme altitude diving at 6,400m

 

Accompanied by Sébastien Devrient, a mountain guide and Film director, Frédéric Swierczynski prepared for this expedition to the Andes at the border between Argentina and Chile. Their final goal is to carry out a manned dive into the waters of the highest lake in the world at 6,390 m on the mountain side of the volcano Nevado Ojos del Salado.

The adventure started last year when Frédéric performed a first dive in a lake at 5,870 m on the same volcano side. However, early comers snow and ice made it impossible to carry out the dive at 6,390 m.
They return this year in order to fully achieve their goal.

These two expeditions will be the subject of a film «a drop of water on a volcano» scheduled to be released in Switzerland in 2020.

The story of this feature documentary, directed by Sébastien Devrient for Vertiges prod, will not only focus on a sporting feat but, above all, it will emphasize the human adventure. It will also propose a reflection on man’s ability to adapt to his dreams and
ambitions as well as addressing the problem of acclimatizing the human body confronted to a wild and unpredictable nature.

 

Preparation in hypoxic chamber

 

It is at Comex altitude simulator, an hypobaric chamber complex, that Frédéric Swierczynski and Sébastien Devrient came to prepare their expedition, joining equipment tests, physical training and dive procedure rehearsal. The first step was to simulate an altitude of 6,400 m and then a 20-minute immersion in chilled water at 2°C. At this altitude, one has to face the cold temperature conditions and the lack of oxygen, less than twice as rare as at sea level due to the ambient low atmospheric pressure.

They have thus been able to reproduce the different conditions they will face during this adventure, supervised by our technical teams and under the medical supervision of the PHYMAREX Institute.

 

Medical supervision

 

Throughout the experiment, a medical team from the PHYMAREX Institute, Doctor Mathieu Coulange (MD) and Doctor Jean-Charles Reynier (MD), continuously monitored Frédéric’s vital parameters – body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, carbon dioxyde and oxygen saturation…

Because of its immersion at an altitude of 6,400 m, this represents a huge difference in atmospheric pressure compared to a normal dive performed at sea level (1010mb compared to 440mb approx.).

 


This is a very uncommon and exceptional mission, we are taking advantage of this experience to collect as much data as possible. They will be used in publications for the scientific community,’ explains hyperbaric physician Jean-Charles Reynier

Doctor Jean-Charles Reynier (MD)

Hyperbaric Medical Doctor, Phymarex

 

Altitude simulator

 

The ability to reproduce altitudes up to 40,000 m (131,000 feet) in this 20m² hypoxic chamber complex meets the needs of major european and global manufacturers and service companies in the aeronautics and aerospace sector, such as the validation and certification of equipment, masks, suits, helmets, communications, etc.

as well as manned tests in order to prepare and make fully aware pilots and aircrew to hypoxic risks they may have to face during an actual flight.

The close control and monitoring of extreme pressure and temperature conditions allows our company to be involved in a very wide range of projects.

Comex.SA

36, bd de l’Océan – CS 80143
13275 Marseille – Cedex 9 –
FRANCE

+33 4 91 29 75 11

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Hypoxia risk awareness

On Friday, November 16 2018, Comex Hyperbaric and Hypobaric Test Center hosted a delegation of students and instructors of EPNER (School of flight test and reception staff) for an hypoxia risk awareness session.

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The COMEX Hypobaric Test Center has just been equipped with a new flight simulator

The COMEX Hypobaric Test Center has just been equipped with a new flight simulator

The COMEX Hypobaric Test Center has just been equipped with a new flight simulator

La Comex installe un simulateur de vols dans son caisson hypobare

In its continued desire to strengthen its partnership with the aeronautics and space industrial sector, COMEX has equipped its Hypobaric Test Center with a flight simulator capable of reproducing aeronautic and spatial flights.

In the altitude simulator, a habitable hypobaric chamber of 20M2 it is possible to reproduce any altitude down to a complete vacuum. This simulator will permit tests on humans at different altitudes, such as, for example, the awareness of hypoxic risks for pilots and students while flying, but also for tests on equipment, mask, combinations, helmet, etc.…

The close collaboration between the services will allow the Space Department to test a simulation of controlling a lunar or Martian rover soon.

Hyperbaric and Hypobaric Test Center of COMEX. Engineering and Services department