Nitrogen Used To Fill Aircraft Oxygen Systems

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Airlines all over the world are being warned to check to make sure thereís actually oxygen in their aircraft oxygen systems after an embarrassing mix-up by Qantas Airlines at Melbourne International Airport. For ten months, crews have been filling airliner oxygen systems from a nitrogen cart thatís supposed to be used to fill tires. The mistake went unnoticed until a couple of weeks ago when an observant aircraft engineer spotted service workers using the cart. "He was walking around the plane and asked what they were doing. When they said they were topping up the oxygen, he said, 'No you're not, that's a nitrogen cart,'" an unnamed source told The Age. As anyone who works with industrial gases knows, oxygen tanks have different fittings than other gases to prevent exactly this kind of mix-up. However, when the crews discovered the fittings on what they thought was their new oxygen cart didnít fit, they swapped them for the ones on the old cart they were retiring. Of course, Australian officials are looking into the error and Qantas has been busy notifying other airlines that use its services in Melbourne. Hundreds of aircraft may be affected.