Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

Cabin Fumes

Old 21st Feb 2015, 02:04
  #1 (permalink)  
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Cabin Fumes

I have forgotten what is like to live in a country where someone's looking out for the well being of its citizens. While CX spins the green card as an environmentally friendly company, as our aircraft discharge large volumes of CO2 in to the atmosphere. I wonder what they are thinking when they read the following;

BA and CAA ordered to act on cabin air contamination - 2/20/2015 - Flight Global
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 09:49
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Air Contamination

I would think that CX would be thinking the same as every other airline in the world is thinking in regard to what the Coroner has ordered. I would be interested to know the numbers conclusively found to have had their life expectancy reduced due to contaminated conditioned air in aircraft. When one considers the masses travelling by air at any moment in time, either as crew or as pax, it would seem to me that the numbers affected by contaminated cabin air would be insignificant.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 10:21
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Maybe, unless you are the poor bastard that gets sick.

Then you'd be singing a whole new tune.

Shame you've retired, you'd love the new world...
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 13:42
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This is quite a damning report and has been described as a 'potential tsunami' for the Airline Industry. Failure to even acknowledge that there is a problem is typical of the owners of Airlines. Apparently, only about 10% of us are susceptible to these 'organophosphate compounds'. Frequent travellers, especially aircrew, are most at risk so why doesn't the Industry fit some monitoring device that would tell if exposure levels were not acceptable?
I'll leave you to guess but, as always, it starts with M and ends in Y. When this particular tsunami strikes, there probably won't be an Airline Industry and we'll revert to travelling less and going by sea. Why? Can you imagine the cost of 10% of us taking our Dear Employers to Court for compensation claims related to them deliberately and negligently exposing us to toxic fumes for our entire careers. I hope you're remaining fit Old Fella - you're obviously in the 90% group - me too I suspect. If 10% of Cathay pilots and Cabin crew are in the wrong group - that's a hell of a lot of people (and their Families) who will be affected - and that's just CX.
Enter yet another time bomb!!!...............
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 14:13
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Makes you wonder if Boeing saw this coming and got ahead of the game with the "bleedless" 787!
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 16:14
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I have never had a 'toxic air' problem nor have I met anyone who has. It is, of course, possible that a very few people have a genetic predisposition to irritation caused by tiny concentrations of pollutants. It will be interesting to see how the B787 fares in this respect. My guess? Just the same.

I think we are becoming a little precious about this stuff. I can recollect breathing trichloroethylene fumes in industry and diesel fumes in ships' engine rooms and a bus garage (that was the worst all starting from cold). I am not suggesting that we return to the bad old days before fume extractors etc but I'd swop being in an aircraft with breathing the northerly wind in HK any time.
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 03:09
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Basil....the Embraer 145 was bad for these could smell them quite clearly, usually in the descent. The BA pilot concerned was flying Embraer 145s.
I have smelt EXACTLY the same odour in the 777 on occasion, as well.
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 07:28
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Basil - having worked on engines for a rather long time, I can say that they all consume oil, some types rather a lot more than others (GE/CFMI having a poor history in the past). Some of that oil exits the engine via the breather air system and the hot section (never to be seen again), some of it enters the cold section of the engine (some of that air passes via the bleed offtakes, into the ECS, into the cabin and into your lungs). Often oil is consumed at low engine speeds and when engines are cooler - taxi/descent - which could be 45 mins of every flight. If you'd like to come down to the hangars and see how you (and your vast collection of genetically perfect acquaintances) are disposed to exposure to oil fumes we'd love to see you....

I'll get my own coat.
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 07:58
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ECS in aircraft.

To ACMS and AD. I did not mean to dismiss the issue of air contamination in aircraft. My response was in relation to the question posed by JDI in the opening post. I also agree with N1Vibes in his assertion regarding the ingress of oil particles contaminating the conditioned air entering an aircraft. Depending on the type of system it is also possible for metal particles shed from cooling air turbines to enter the air. My point was that given the relatively small number of people known to suffer illness from the effects of air contamination in aircraft it is improbable that the airlines, CX included, will do anything positive to monitor air quality. To the extent that there are many circumstances other than air travel in which our well being is at risk the issue of contaminated air in an aircraft will not be considered by airlines as a high priority item I suspect.
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 09:17
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N1, Thank you for the kind invitation but I hope you won't be offended if I decline - unless we're headed off to Dusk to Dawn afterwards
Before RAF pilot training, I was a seagoing marine engineer, both diesel and steam turbine, so fiddled around with all sorts of engines - except gas turbine.
I'm not disputing the possibility of the forward bearing seal leaking or contamination taking place in the packs and I wonder what opportunities exist for contamination in dedicated compressors.
My view is that this is, in the aircraft I've flown, a very rare occurrence. I'd heard of the HS146 but not of any of the suggested problems with the B757 which I flew for five years.
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 10:00
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The BA pilots in question flew the A320 not the EMB 145 as was alluded to earlier.
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Old 25th Feb 2015, 08:09
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Basil - good to hear you have at one point had your hands dirtied, and glad you mentioned the B757. The RB211-535C37 had/has a terrible reputation for oil smell. I worked in the shop maintaining the BA fleet (now DHL and soon to be retired) in two years we had 4 removals for oil smell, on a fleet of 17 a/c.
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Old 25th Feb 2015, 10:30
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I heard it a million times (mostly on the 400), descending into HK - all of the sudden it smells of rancid old socks and someone quips : "aaah, only in Hong Kong you can smell the transition level"
Nope. That's oil.
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Old 25th Feb 2015, 22:37
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Rancid socks

Maybe if you only notice it on descent into Hong Kong it is from the atmospheric conditions?
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Old 26th Feb 2015, 09:42
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Threethirty - if it was the A320 fleet, pertinent then that the V2500 had a number of oil smell issues in the recent past...
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Old 26th Feb 2015, 16:38
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freightdog. It's ozone....and if you had any idea, you would know that HK has just about the highest concentrations of that on the planet. Oil....
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