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Thread: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

  1. #1
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    Default Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Yeah, there's plenty of opportunity here for the sort of infantile poo and fart comments in which I sometimes engage, but a comment in another thread about removing human waste by air from a rocky battlefield made me wonder what happened up in the sky.

    Given the length of bomber flights over occupied Europe and the attendant circumstances which might have induced a bit of bowel action, what provision was made for doing poo in long range bombers in WWII?

    As for doing wee, I'm not sure I'd want to be taking my wedding tackle out of a heated suit at 30,000 feet and way below freezing point for a pee. Or exposing my bottom for a poo.

    How were these issues dealt with?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Yeah, there's plenty of opportunity here for the sort of infantile poo and fart comments in which I sometimes engage, but a comment in another thread about removing human waste by air from a rocky battlefield made me wonder what happened up in the sky.

    Given the length of bomber flights over occupied Europe and the attendant circumstances which might have induced a bit of bowel action, what provision was made for doing poo in long range bombers in WWII?

    As for doing wee, I'm not sure I'd want to be taking my wedding tackle out of a heated suit at 30,000 feet and way below freezing point for a pee. Or exposing my bottom for a poo.

    How were these issues dealt with?

    I have no idea, but I certainly would have gone easy on the coffee at the mess hall pre-mission meal!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    That is a good question, I've often wondered that myself. Maybe Panzerknacker might know... he's done research and posted threads on fighters and bombers of that era.
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I have no idea, but I certainly would have gone easy on the coffee at the mess hall pre-mission meal!
    See, this is exactly the sort of comment which brings out the fart-loving child in me (which resides in all men ) and distracts us from finding out what bomber crews did when they had to do it.

    That said, I would have kept off the beans before the mission. (Actually, I reckon anyone who could eat just before going on a mission was doing well, and especially well if they didn't lose it top or bottom somewhere along the way.)

    As for the beans, a nice piece of graffiti I used to drive past said:

    Heinz Meanz Beanz
    Beanz Meanz Fartz!
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    From RifleMan20's link (http://ww2incolor.com/forum/showthre...1#post143688):

    A number of air crewmen died of farts. (ascending to 20,000 ft. in an un-pressurized aircraft causes intestinal gas to expand 300%!)
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    A number of air crewmen died of farts.


    Did they die from over inhalation of gases?

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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Here is a first hand account of dealing with the elsan on missions.



    I wonder how many people remember the Elsan? perhaps I should
    say, how many people who used one can ever forget?
    The Elsan was the portable metal toilet used in bomber aircraft
    and it was something that was hated by air crew and ground crew
    alike; the air crew because they had to use it, and the ground crew
    because they had to empty it. It was a horror.

    The name Elsan is something of a mystery but I've heard it said,
    and this seems to make sense, that the "El" and the "san" in military
    parlance stood for "lavatory-sanitary." However, it was anything
    but sanitary, believe me, a veteran user of the Elsan.
    While we were flying in rough air, this devil's convenience often
    shared its contents with the floor of the aircraft, the walls, the ceiling
    and, sometimes, a bit remained in the container itself.
    It doesn't take much imagination to picture what it was like,
    trying to combat fear and airsickness, struggling to remove enough
    flying clothing in cramped quarters, and at the same time trying to
    use the cursed Elsan. If it wasn't an invention of the devil, it certainly
    must have been one foisted on us by the enemy.
    When seated in frigid cold amid the cacophony of roaring engines
    and whistling air, away from the war for what should have
    been one of life's peaceful moments, the occupant had a chance to
    fully ponder the miserable condition of his life.
    This loathsome creation invariably overflowed on long trips and
    in turbulence was always prone to bathe the nether regions of the
    user.
    There are those today who may decry the inconvenience of the
    long-gone outdoor "biffy" but in comparison to the Elsan, the
    outhouse is heaven on earth.
    I have yet to come across one of these torture chambers in a
    museum, and I think it is a mistake that at least one is not included. It
    is one of the true reminders to me that war is hell.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    I think Ive seen some toilets on Japanese Betty Bombers.
    I think it just opens up or something. It was only a picture.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post
    Is this a joke or is it true?
    I am wondering about gas because on my trip next mth I want to bring lighters in my checked luggae as souvenirs and they say its prohibitted. Is it because the pressure will make them explode? I bought 25 cool bic lighters with glass casino dice inside the fuel. I want to pack them in my checked luggage. Do you think they will explode? This comment about gas had me thinking. Any enjineers out there that may know the answer.??

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Extremely unlikely - the lighters are inside the pressurised hull of the aircraft, which will be kept at a cabin altitude of no higher than 3,000m (usually less) - a pressure of 70% of atmospheric. That's still a significant pressure differential (3 tonnes per square metre), but in the grand scheme of things that isn't really very much.

    Far more likely is that they are concerned about the gas leaking into the aircraft in flight. The gas being a flammable liquid is capable of causing a significant fire or explosion within the cargo hold if it catches fire, and that is sufficient reason to ban them.
    Barometers are banned from aircraft, incidentally, because the Mercury type could leak into the aircraft. Aluminium and Mercury react very rapidly to form a weak amalgam, and if that happens to an aircraft there is essentially no way of repairing it safely - it has to be scrapped.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Thanks!!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    Barometers are banned from aircraft, incidentally, because the Mercury type could leak into the aircraft. Aluminium and Mercury react very rapidly to form a weak amalgam, and if that happens to an aircraft there is essentially no way of repairing it safely - it has to be scrapped.
    Why can't the site of the damage be identified and repaired with a fresh skin panel, structural member, or whatever?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Two reasons. Firstly, the stuff gets everywhere - it's almost impossible to be certain that you've got everything. Secondly, a damaged panel looks an awful lot like an undamaged one, but the strength is radically reduced. Inspection of panels like that is extremely expensive, so unless it's an extremely valuable aircraft it will probably be cheaper to scrap it.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Going to toilet at 30,000 feet?

    Well, additionally to the Elsan, I wouldn't be surprised if they also wore something equivalent to adult diapers?

    Race Drivers often simply pee into their overalls during races, so why shouldn't airmen in bombers/fighters?

    As for poop, I guess you shouldn't eat anything before the mission, and if you still have to - well either us an Elsan or remove your Name-Tag before you give your Overall to cleaning
    The fundamental problem of Democracy is that the majority of voters are idiots fueled by uninformed rage - and the Politicians do everything to cater to them.

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