Dan R. passes along comments Mitt Romney made at a fundraiser.
Romney’s wife, Ann, was in attendance, and the candidate spoke of the concern he had for her when her plane had to make an emergency landing Friday en route to Santa Monica because of an electrical malfunction.
“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”
There are, of course, very good responses to Mitt Romney when he suggests “I don’t know why they don’t do that.” Like aircraft pressurization, and that oxygen feeds fire.
If you want to give Romney every possible benefit here, though (in addition to “he was pretty jarred by an event affecting his wife”) one might posit that the windows would be opened by crew only and when the plane was at an altitude low enough that it’s unpressurized.
It’s still going to be better to get low to the ground to breathe, like you were taught in grade school, in order to avoid the effects of the smoke.
But if smoke were filling the cabin such that it’s an even greater risk than fire, and if the aircraft were at a low enough altitude, a pilot could conceivably make the decision to vent the plane. I have a hard time imagining this scenario myself, however..
Thanks to Hans for discussion of this.