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Thread: Smoke Oil

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    All of the health issues that result from contact with various substances require two factors to actually create a problem. First, the one that we worry about, is the material itself and its properties. The second is length of exposure.

    In the case of smoke oil, it is at its worst only mildly toxic. It is actually formulated as a concrete form release oil. I believe that it is commonly used in construction and if it was a contact hazard, OSHA would be all over it.

    Then there is length of exposure. IF you make a point of going to lots and lots of airshows and positioning yourself so that you breath the maximum amount, you might get yourself a respiratory problem. For all of the other airshow spectators, the exposure is very very small. The performers get the most exposure as it is common for the airplane to suck the smoke into the cockpit through any openings in the lower tail. No reports of awful health issues that can be traced to breathing vaporized Canopus oil.

    Any alternative is much more expensive. And Canopus oil is not cheap as it is.

    Wingtip smokes are all pyrotechnic to the best of my knowledge. All of the smoke generators that I have used combust inside the canister and get very hot externally while making smoke. Do NOT recommend them for casual use.

    Regards,

    Wes
    N78PS
    Wes, that may be true but there is a third factor you have not included in your comment and that's what I refer to as immersion exposure. As you say, the effects of a small dose of a lightly toxic substance on occasion is not a great danger in itself, but there is so much toxicity in our environment already, that occasional exposure is no longer an adequate measure of heath risk level.
    The entire world and a good deal of space in and around the earth has been tainted by man and there is no escape from it. We are all immersed in toxic substances whether we like it or not. How all those compounds interact is yet to be understood. Air show smoke is nice to look at but in fact just one more violation on our environment. Will mother nature evolve beyond all this toxicity?

  2. #12

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    I appreciate that everyone has a different level of concern about the world around us. There comes a point though where you have to decide whether your fears about the uncertainties are going to prevent you from living your life. I will offer the suggestion that any risks associated with partly burned smoke oil are greatly ourweighed by the enjoyment of the show. I think that the risks from attending an airshow are much lower than the risks from attending most other motorsports events. But there are folks who don't enjoy or attend any motorsports events at all. I think those folks are missing a lot of fun.

    That may not be your calculation.

    My background of 1600 parachute jumps and performing in night airshows with pyro racked up my right leg probably make my risk calculations different than yours. Neither better or worse, just different.

    Hope that you have fun in aviation.

    Wes

  3. #13
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CShark View Post
    Here's the MSDS for the AeroShell smoke oil:
    http://www.epc.shell.com/Docs/GSAP_msds_00019493.PDF

    Keep in mind that smoke oil is not being burned, it's being vaporized. If it was burned, the smoke would be black. The high parrafin content causes the very visible white vaporization.
    You beat me to it.

    are likely not good for your complexion if you wander into a cloud of it.
    Neither is standing in the wash of a radial engine when it starts. I have a picture of myself looking like a Dalmatian as a result of that.

    My background of 1600 parachute jumps and performing in night airshows with pyro racked up my right leg
    You, sir, are awesome.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    I appreciate that everyone has a different level of concern about the world around us. There comes a point though where you have to decide whether your fears about the uncertainties are going to prevent you from living your life. I will offer the suggestion that any risks associated with partly burned smoke oil are greatly ourweighed by the enjoyment of the show. I think that the risks from attending an airshow are much lower than the risks from attending most other motorsports events. But there are folks who don't enjoy or attend any motorsports events at all. I think those folks are missing a lot of fun.

    That may not be your calculation.

    My background of 1600 parachute jumps and performing in night airshows with pyro racked up my right leg probably make my risk calculations different than yours. Neither better or worse, just different.

    Hope that you have fun in aviation.

    Wes
    Let me first say that your tolerance and understanding of other views is credit worthy and somewhat rare these days, so thank you for that.

    I'm not as adventuresome as you, never having strapped pyros to my body, but I feel that we are on the same page. I'm not a hard nose environmentalist and I do appreciate a good airshow and other venues, but in the back of my mind I'm acutely aware and concerned of the price future generations will have to pay for our indiscretions. My point is/was that we must make a conscious effort to minimize waste and reduce pollution where ever and when ever we can for the sake of our children. And with that in mind, I believe that we can enjoy an airshow just as much without the smoke and pyros. And guess what, it also makes it safer for the performers. A win win situation!

  5. #15

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    Guys, my two main points are that there is almost certainly some level of health danger in being exposed to smoke oil. As for how bad the oil is or how much exposure we get, that is open to discusssion. I do know that the labels of many oils say to avoid prolonged exposure on your skin or in breathing. Now the oil may often be diluted when it reaches the crowd or often blow downwind, but not always.
    Let's say you went to a play about the attack on the Polesti refinery and they had actual oil fires burning inside the theater or you went to a play about the 9-11 collapse of the world trade center buildings,and they had actual clouds of dust all over you ,just like the real thing. Would this be ok, would you want your children to breathe and be exposed to it? Would you like to take your kids or yourself to one of those Vegas casinos that are thick with cigarette smoke?Of course not.
    So if the airshow or acro act wants to use smoke oil, they ought to have the warning as part of their pre sho notice to the public. Then let the public decide it they want to stand there and breathe it.
    And of course as BRP says we don't really need to have smoke oil to have a show or an acro act. If you go to some states and some big cities, there are so many billboards that they almost block the sky. But here there are laws against such billboards and free standing signs. So no business has them, no one is at a disadvantage, no one needs to make such a standout.
    We can certainly have good airshows without smoke oil, and it will be better for our health and for the environment.

  6. #16
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    I honestly agree that I'd be just as comfortable without the smoke. I don't see what it really adds to the show. Then again, I don't really pay much attention to the airshow part of Oshkosh so I am more or less ambivalent on the matter. The only time I went down to the edge of the runway this year was to watch Fifi depart.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by steveinindy View Post
    I honestly agree that I'd be just as comfortable without the smoke. I don't see what it really adds to the show. Then again, I don't really pay much attention to the airshow part of Oshkosh so I am more or less ambivalent on the matter. The only time I went down to the edge of the runway this year was to watch Fifi depart.
    That's my feeling, too. It's just for show, but it's not a defining factor.
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  8. #18

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    Wow! Digging up a 12 year old thread! The original posters are long gone.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    Wow! Digging up a 12 year old thread! The original posters are long gone.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    Yup, the smoke got them.


    BJC

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJC View Post
    Yup, the smoke got them.
    I thought it was, "Smoke them if you got them"?

    Ron "I'll be here all week" Wanttaja

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