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Airline reveals real reason you never see pilots with beards and it's super important

Airline reveals real reason you never see pilots with beards and it's super important

Pilots have to keep clean shaven in the case of emergency situations.

Social media is the place for new facts - pointless or not.

For instance, did you know why air hostesses sit on their hands during takeoff and landing? There's a surprising safety reason for it.

But what about pilots? I mean, have you ever seen a pilot on duty with a beard?

No, and there's a good reason for that. Specifically, a life-or-death situation.

A spokesperson for American Airlines told Thrillist: 'We do not allow pilots with facial hair to be on active duty.'

The Airlines spokesperson continued: 'It's actually safety driven. Safety is one of the biggest, most important things in our industry.'

halbergman / Getty
halbergman / Getty

If you've paid attention to the emergency procedures when boarding a plane, you’ll know that oxygen masks drop from the ceiling if the cabin loses pressure.

The problem is that a full beard can prevent the mask from fitting properly on a face.

If you're a passenger, you can hold the mask in place manually. But as a pilot where you have other priorities, a poorly fitting mask could be a huge problem.

'Bearded passengers might expect some deficit in oxygenation following a decompression that could lead to varying degrees of hypoxia (physiological conditions that result when the body does not receive enough oxygen),' a 1987 safety review explained.

'The deficit in oxygenation might not be severe enough to be life-threatening, but could cause loss of consciousness.'

Of course, losing consciousness behind the controls of a plane is a big no-no.

Emilian Pop / 500px / Getty
Emilian Pop / 500px / Getty

The safety review also looked at whether having a beard affected pilots’ performance, and it did.

'Three popular TSO-approved crewmember oxygen masks equipped with mask-mounted regulators were tested to determine if a decrement in performance would occur as a result of the presence of facial hair,' it read.

'The data resulting from these tests indicated that decrement in performance does occur when facial hair is present along the sealing surface of crew oxygen masks.

'This decrement is proportional to the amount of facial hair present, the type mask worn, the suspension system associated with the mask, and the exercise level to which the individual is subjected.'

According to Airlinepilot Life: 'Beards are not permitted, no matter how well trimmed they are.'

So, for maximum safety, pilots must keep clear of facial hair.

Featured Image Credit: halbergman / Emilian Pop / 500px / Getty

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