6/21/2010

As the FAA looks into a possible fire hazard affecting hundreds of Boeing Co. jets, pilots are complaining that the current design of cockpit safety systems could make it impossible to respond to a windshield blaze. For nearly three years, pilots have complained that the hoses on their oxygen masks are too short, requiring them to remove the mask in order to access fire-safety equipment of 757 and 767 aircraft. The FAA says it is "looking into the issue" as part of its investigation into windshield heating elements known to have caused smoke or fire in 29 incidents worldwide from early 2001 through April 2008. Boeing had no immediate comment on the design of cockpit oxygen masks, but an FAA spokeswoman says modifying the system with longer hoses could cause a whole new set of safety concerns.

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