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Old 27th Jan 2013, 07:37   #1 (permalink)
 
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Dead British Airways pilots 'victims of toxic cabin fumes'

Front page of the Sunday Express today.

Dead BA pilots 'victims of toxic cabin fumes' | UK | Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 09:57   #2 (permalink)
 
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Does anyone know what aeroplanes they were flying?
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:06   #3 (permalink)
 
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I read somewhere that one of them was raised on a farm. Is it possible that he could initially have been exposed to sheep dip?
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:18   #4 (permalink)
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Walnut - Low-cost operator incapacitation see post #4 by JW411

JW - if that was Richard, I would assume his brother, Guy (with whom I have flown), also grew up on the same farm and I am not aware that (hopefully) he has experienced the same problems. I did not know about Karen.

This topic was inexplicably relegated by a mod to the Safety Forum when ALL commercial pilots should be aware of the potentially fatal problem of aircraft air contamination. It may kill you. At least with National paper attention some appropriate focus may be placed on it at last.

If you get a serious occurrence of these so-called 'oil fumes', go onto 100% oxygen, consider landing asap if you feel it appropriate and see a medic asap.

Last edited by BOAC; 27th Jan 2013 at 10:19.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:19   #5 (permalink)
 
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Most of the time I like the british humor.

Most of the time....., not always. (#3)

Last edited by hetfield; 27th Jan 2013 at 10:20.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:26   #6 (permalink)
 
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I would like to know the real reason that Boeing have gone back to and independant supply of cabin air. I speak as one who after 17 years on the 146 suffered total and sudden kidney failure caused by my immune system, which is affected by organophosphates. The only clue I had was a consultant asking me if I had ever been in regular contact with oil.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:28   #7 (permalink)
 
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I am pretty concerned. I have experienced oily type odors in B777s during descent from higher levels to below 10000 ft on many occasions. I had voiced those concerns but have never got a satisfactory answers. Some LAMEs opined that it was tempory/intermittent oil seal problems but said no one has died due to such odors!

I hope the industry pay more attention to reports of such odors.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:31   #8 (permalink)
 
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There's a "fumes" thread running in Prune's 'Medical & Health'.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:31   #9 (permalink)
 
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Thanks I had a feeling it was the RJ 146, as every time I paxed on one the air con always had an oily smell.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 10:42   #10 (permalink)
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This appears to have first been recognised as a problem in the 70's and the Grauniad carried this article in 2006 Toxic cockpit fumes that bring danger to the skies | Business | The Observer.

toffeez - I reckon this needs to be on a more widely-read forum than medical? By the time pilots start looking at that forum they tend to have some problems and it must surely be better to prevent them in the first place?

EDIT: I see also the thread you refer to is well down the page and refers to ground staff mainly.

Last edited by BOAC; 27th Jan 2013 at 10:51.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 11:00   #11 (permalink)
 
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Bleed air? Straight off the engines(s)? Without being buffered via a heat exchanger?

Must've been designed by a homicidal maniac!
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 11:01   #12 (permalink)
 
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Hetfield

I don't think that there was ANY attempt at humour

http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/6/3/187.full.pdf

There appears to be a link between the use of Organophosphates (in sheep dips) and nervous disorders.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 11:15   #13 (permalink)
 
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At least this will not be a problem on the 787 as I understand it does not use bleed air for the packs. Just the battery fumes to contend with!!!
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 12:11   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote from mike-wsm,

"Bleed air? Straight off the engines(s)? Without being buffered via a heat exchanger?
Must've been designed by a homicidal maniac!"

The 2006 Observer article (see link provided by BOAC, above) includes a summary of a report by the AAIB that suggests these problems involve an astonishingly-wide range of turbo-fan and turbo-prop engines, although I couldn't say if the air conditioning systems of the aircraft concerned all source their air by bleeding it directly from the engine. It's only fair to point out to the uninitiated that such a bleed is taken from one of the earlier compressor stages, well before any combustion takes place, so the air should be as unpolluted as the ambient air. Obviously, however, these compressor rotors have to be lubricated. But that applies to the rotating components of ANY air conditioning system.

Modern turbofan engines produce vast quantities of compressed air and, on the face of it, are an ideal source of clean air for air conditioning systems. They have plenty to spare, except when take-off thrust is required. Earlier jet engines, with lower bypass ratios (or zero bypass) did not. The VC10, with low-bypass Conway engines, used separate compressors driven by the accessory gearbox. The B707, which started off with zero-bypass engines, used engine bleeds to turn the turbines of turbo-compressors, although direct engine bleed was also available as a second choice on later engines.

Boeing has only recently decided to go down a completely different road, using electrical power to turn air conditioning compressors on their B787, as Walnut points out. They say they've done it for improved efficiency, and I've no reson to query that. In any case, as mentioned earlier, I think any compressor has moving parts that have to be lubricated.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 13:52   #15 (permalink)
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IFALPA have jut produced this leaflet http://www.aerotoxic.org/download/do...%20quality.pdf - I think however they are mistaken when they say
"Occasionally, oil fumes from the hot section of the engine leak into this (cabin) air." I thought the problem originates with the 'cold section' oil seals?
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 14:08   #16 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I think any compressor has moving parts that have to be lubricated.
On turboprops you can have turbine compressors which the bearing is air.

You give them a bast for 60 seconds after start up and they spin up and the spinning makes them float in the shaft.

The flow off the engine spins the compressor which sucks fresh air in from outside. Only time I have smelt anything nasty is when de-ice fluid has got into them.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 14:13   #17 (permalink)
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OK - please explain how 'hot section' air gets into the bleed air? There are no bleed air tappings I am aware of after the combustion section, and they would be toxic without any contamination, would they not? The problem as I understand it is not actually 'fumes' but a 'mist' generated by high pressure oil 'leaking' through compressor seals..
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 15:11   #18 (permalink)
 
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Hot section air I would have thought wouldn't have much oxygen left in it anyway.

The compressor air is hot though but only due to it being compressed.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 15:41   #19 (permalink)
 
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On the BAe146 the problem usually was a slight leak in the APU seal which allowed traces of oil to seep into the air conditioning system. We were always told to start the packs in Full Manual Cold and to run them like that for two minutes. This would usually ensure that any contamination present would be dumped overboard before any heat was applied.

However, I have seen pilots start the packs with a Hot selection and that, from time to time, would create a thin grey mist and a bit of a pong.

We had two pilots who had to be moved on to other aircraft on the fleet after suffering some symptoms.

I have always been fascinated to learn why it is that a small minority suffers so badly and the rest of us have no problems. I survived nearly 20 years on the BAe146 and I am pleased to report that I am still in rude health.
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Old 27th Jan 2013, 16:43   #20 (permalink)
 
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Guy Westgate told me after his brother died that it is to do with Genetic make up.
I was very ill whilst flying the DC10 in the late eighties and tried to find alternative employment. Flew with one of our chiefs and he got me off the fleet.
My health improved but lost my licence a few years later.
Have another mate ex DC10s who lost his on physiological grounds.
I think the problem could be much bigger.
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