Mitt Romney made some aeronautical engineering observations Saturday while speaking about Friday's emergency landing of a plane on which his wife was a passenger. He wondered why aircraft windows don't open, saying, "It’s a real problem."
According to the Gawker, the plane on which Ann Romney was flying had to make an emergency landing Friday en route to Santa Monica, after an electrical fire caused the cabin to fill with smoke. According to LA Times, the emergency resulted from an electrical malfunction.
Romney remarked to LA Times at a Beverly Hills fundraiser Saturday night:
"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. 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.”The Huffington Post explains that the "main reason airplane windows don't open is because there isn't enough oxygen at cruising altitude to keep passengers alive. (The fear of window or cabin failures, which would lead to potentially fatal hypoxia, is why many planes are equipped with emergency oxygen masks.)"
According to HowStuffWorks:
"...people dressed in normal clothing... cannot survive at 33,000 ft... it is incredibly cold – minus 40 degrees F or colder... [and the pressure is low]... so low that people would pass out very quickly from lack of oxygen. The air at that altitude and temperature is also extremely dry. So how are we able to sit in an airplane’s comfy chairs at 33,000 feet?... The first thing that has to happen is pressurization. The air at sea level is about 14.7 PSI (pounds per square inch). The pressure at 33,000 feet (roughly 6 miles up) is approximately 4 PSI. Something has to be done to increase the pressure, or people would quickly pass out from lack of oxygen at 4 PSI. Fortunately, the jet engines on the aircraft act like big air compressors."
LA Times reports Romney raised $6 million on Saturday at the Beverly Hills fundraiser. Tom Tellefsen, chairman of Romney's California Finance Committee, spoke to reassure about 1,500 supporters that recent attacks on Romney by the mainstream media have not damaged his chances at the general election. The attacks followed release of a video recording which, according to Digital Journal, showed Romney saying that his "job" as presidential candidate was not to worry about 47% of Americans who, according to him, "are dependent on government... who believe that, that they are victims... that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."
Tellefsen, reassuring the crowd, said: "At this moment I know you are probably feeling a bit worried, frustrated, even angry as you watch President Obama, the mainstream media and the pundits attack Mitt with distortions and inaccuracies. So I wanted to share some thoughts with you tonight. They can provide you some comfort. Polls are not elections. The voters have not yet spoken."