HPO

Hypobaric and Rapid Decompression Chamber

Needs

The most significant hazard of flight at altitude is hypoxia

  • Besides velocity and acceleration, altitude has always been one of the most fascinating adventures for human beings. Supersonic speed enables you to reach altitudes far above 30,000 ft. within a short time. The marvellous view to our wonderful world may hide invisible risks, such as loss of oxygen or cabin pressure. In such situations, one has only a short time of useful consciousness available to react and make the correct decisions, if one detects the risks immediately.
  • It is generally recognised that the most serious danger for aircrew is the decreased partial pressure of oxygen encountered at low barometric pressures.
  • Without the proper use of oxygen equipment and cabin pressurisation, hypoxia can quickly lead to incapacitation or death.
  • Time of useful consciousness is the period from the interruption of the oxygen supply of exposure to an oxygen-poor environment, to the time when useful function is lost. The individual is no longer capable of taking proper corrective and protective actions. It is not the time of total unconsciousness.
  • One may consider that the time of consciousness at height levels for civil aviation of 35,000 ft is between 0.5 seconds and one minute. At height levels of 43,000 ft the time of consciousness is between 9 and 12 seconds.
  • The time to survive is extremely short and if pilots do not recognise the symptoms of hypoxia, it leads to a fatal accident.

Needs

Benefits

Training in hypobaric chambers increases awareness and avoids fatal accidents

  • Training in a Hypobaric Chamber (HPO), also known as altitude chamber, contributes significantly to flight safety.
  • Demonstrations of hypoxia, decompression or even explosive decompression combined with extreme climatic conditions of ± 50° C and 20 - 80% relative humidity, helps pilots to recognise critical situations early and take the appropriate recovery actions.
  • Pilots learn the exact altitude at which physical and mental impairment occurs. There are wide variations between individuals.
  • The HPO can demonstrate to the pilots the effects of insufficient oxygen supply causing the impairment of cerebral functions.
  • Demonstration with increasing altitude lets pilots experience the effects of hypoxia, such as: impairment in thinking and judgement, slower reactions, lack of mental and muscular coordination, diminished vision and hearing, and impairment of memory. Pilots learn how hypoxia can lead to loss of consciousness and ultimately death.
  • High altitude training at an early stage sharpens the recognition of hypoxia and is an important contribution to increase flight safety.
  • High altitude training shows the influence of low oxygen saturation in the human body, demonstrated by psycho-physiological behaviour due to rapid or explosive decompression.
  • The HPO can be used for research and sports training at higher altitudes during extended and continuous operation of the chamber for several days or weeks.

Benefits

Features

The AMST design is at the cutting edge of technology and safety

Safety System

Safety System

AMST's safety team has long-term experience with international safety standards like MIL- or DEF-standards. They also consider all aspects from previous incidents or accidents which occurred on other suppliers’ products until today. Input from our customers how to improve their operational capability is considered and highly appreciated.
Chamber Structure and Windows

Chamber Structure and Windows

The chamber structure is cylindrical, consisting of a Main Compartment (MC) for high altitude training and a Rapid Decompression Compartment (RDC) to simulate rapid or explosive decompression. The RDC can also be used as a transfer compartment in emergencies or as a washroom during long-term research or training programmes.
Student Seat and Interior Design

Student Seat and Interior Design

The Hypobaric Chamber never gives the impression of a ‘torture chamber’. The seats provide adequate comfort so that a training session can last several hours. The interior looks similar to a training room: comfortable, user friendly and easy to keep clean.
Vacuum System

Vacuum System

The vacuum system is designed for highest operational availability and safety. It consists of vacuum pumps, shut-off and control valves, including all sensors to measure the airflow and the pressure inside the vacuum pipes.
Air Condition and Fresh Air System

Air Condition and Fresh Air System

The systems provide comfortable climatic conditions and contribute to safety. The fresh air is pre-air-conditioned to keep the chamber temperature as selected. Additionally, the fresh air supply is designed to keep the oxygen content inside the chamber below the critical design value to prevent fire hazards.
Monitoring of Physiological Parameters

Monitoring of Physiological Parameters

With the system, the trainees' health and vital signs such as oxygen saturation and pulse rate can be monitored from the control station. The system can be operated up to a height of 50,000 ft.
Control Station

Control Station

The ergonomically designed control station is located adjacent to the chamber. There are 3 sections: chamber control section, medical/communication section and technical monitoring section.
Graphical User Interface – GUI

Graphical User Interface – GUI

With its 'Windows' like look and feel, the GUI provides intuitive operation. The GUI monitors the state of the chamber system and informs the operator of errors and warnings. Important data is managed via the GUI such as trainees, operators, chamber profiles and reports.
Technical Subsystem Monitoring Unit – TSMU

Technical Subsystem Monitoring Unit – TSMU

The TSMU is essential for implementation, start-up and maintenance (remote maintenance) procedures. It collects the state values of all subsystems, and monitors and visualises the subsystem states.
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Variants

From standard to custom – we build your HPO in a size that is best suited for your training requirements

HPO 6 + 2

HPO 6 + 2

This variant is for 6 trainees in the Main Compartment (MC) and 2 trainees in the Rapid Decompression Compartment (RDC). There is 1 instructor seat in the MC and 1 instructor seat in the RDC.
HPO 10 + 4

HPO 10 + 4

This variant is for 10 trainees in the Main Compartment (MC) and 4 trainees in the Rapid Decompression Compartment (RDC). There are 2 instructor seats in the MC and 1 instructor seat in the RDC.
HPO 12 + 4

HPO 12 + 4

This variant is for 12 trainees in the Main Compartment (MC) and 4 trainees in the Rapid Decompression Compartment (RDC). There are 2 instructor seats in the MC and 1 instructor seat in the RDC.
HPO Custom Size

HPO Custom Size

Other non-standard sizes with your desired numbers of seats in the Main Compartment and Rapid Decompression Compartment are available on request. Consult with us to find the best size for your training requirements.
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Options

Material Lock

Material Lock

On each HPO model, a material lock can be installed as an option. The material lock is useful during long-term training sessions or research activities. Via the material lock, medical instruments, pharmaceuticals, food, drinks or other small equipment can be transferred to the Main Compartment without interrupting the training.
Oxygen/Breathing Air Switching

Oxygen/Breathing Air Switching

The Oxygen/Breathing Air Switching allows the operator on the control station outside the chamber to disconnect individual trainees from the Oxygen supply without recognition. This makes it possible to evaluate if the trainee recognises hypoxia symptoms and takes the necessary countermeasures. The trainee and the operator can reconnect the oxygen supply.
Low Temperature System

Low Temperature System

The low temperature system increases the fidelity of rapid decompression trainings. The system produces a cold air shower for the trainees in the Rapid Decompression Compartment with temperatures as low as -50° C.
Chamber Cladding

Chamber Cladding

To certify a chamber against the PVHO standard, the chamber must have a cylindrical shape. Nevertheless, if a rectangular outer shape is desired, chamber cladding can be installed.
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References

Since 1986, AMST has built several hypobaric chambers, all in operation with an operational availability of more than 95%

HPO – Vietnam 2015

HPO – Vietnam 2015

The HPO was succsessfully accepted in December 2015 at the Military Hospital in Hanoi. The HPO is certified by an independent accredited QA organisation according to ASME and PVHO and has a safe for use certificate.
HPO – MYANMAR 2014

HPO – MYANMAR 2014

In September 2012 AMST-Systemtechnik GmbH signed a contract with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The Hypobaric Chamber has seats for six trainees in the main compartment and two trainees in the outside compartment. The hypobaric chamber is fully certified by an independent certification body according to newest ASME and PHVO standards.
HPO UPGRADE – GERMANY 2012

HPO UPGRADE – GERMANY 2012

In 2010, AMST has awarded the contract for a major modernisation programme for the existing chamber. The only remaining part of the old chamber was the chamber structure, the R/D system consisting of 10 R/D valves, the seats and a part of the medical monitoring system. The programme was finalised in November 2012.
HPO – LIBYA 2008

HPO – LIBYA 2008

In 2007, AMST has awarded the contract; the handover was in December 2008 at the Aviation and Submarine Centre in Tripoli.
HPO – BELGIUM 2007

HPO – BELGIUM 2007

In January 2006, AMST awarded the contract. Handover of the system was in June 2007 under the attendance of Her Highness Princess Astrid. The equipment is installed in a new building especially designed to house the chamber and its equipment located in the area of the Military Hospital Queen Astrid (MHQA) in Brussels.
HPO – ITALY 2001

HPO – ITALY 2001

In 2000, AMST awarded the contract, handover was in 2001. The Hypobaric chamber is installed at the Institute of Aviation Medicine at the Italian Air Force Base in Prattica di Mare close to Rome.
HPO – GERMANY 1986

HPO – GERMANY 1986

In December 1982, AMST (AMAG) awarded the contract from the East German Ministry of Trade and Economy. Handover was in December 1986. The chamber was in operation until 2011. No single chamber training had to be cancelled due to a failure! It was a fully computerised system with high requirements in terms of performance and features.
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