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Cabin Air Contamination

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Cabin Air Contamination

Old 28th May 2008, 16:10
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Cabin Air Contamination

Researchers are to travel on passenger and cargo flights to see if cabin air contamination is making travellers and pilots ill. News coming out of BBC News24, Sounds as if the Uk goverment is going to do something at last. Wonder if they will check the flybe whisper jet !!!!!!
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Old 28th May 2008, 16:24
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FYI - it's not about catching viruses - it's about contaminated bleed air - neurotoxins.

This from the BBC website:

Researchers are to travel on passenger and cargo flights to see if cabin air contamination is making travellers and pilots ill.

It follows complaints from pilots and campaigners that pollutants from aircraft engines are reaching cabins.

The research carried out by Cranfield University is being paid for by the UK government.

It says there is a duty under recent legislation to protect the health of airline passengers.

On most aircraft, pressurised air is pumped from the engines, before the combustion process, into the cabin. This is known as "bleed air" and, because it passes through the engine, the concern is that it is picking up substances such as engine oil.

Civil Aviation Authority records suggest what are called "fume events" are reported on one in 2,000 flights. But the problem is the event can be fleeting and difficult to trace.
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Old 28th May 2008, 16:25
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Here´s the link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7423399.stm
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Old 28th May 2008, 18:27
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A friend of mine used to fly the Avro, apparently got regularly in contact with contaminated bleedair. His longs are damaged permanently and he lost his medical license, so he is no longer a pilot. The company refuses to assume responsability saying he has to prove that it comes from flying for them.

Greetings, Bart
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Old 28th May 2008, 18:39
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Must be all those reports from those 146 flights...

Although the air in the larger cabins is apparently cleaner than expected.

S.
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Old 28th May 2008, 19:01
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Well, I flew the 146 for nearly 20 years and they would have got absolutely nowhere if they had flown with me.

I never had a single problem and I am still in the rudest of health.

The trouble with youngsters nowadays is that they have been inoculated against everything that is known to man when they were children such that they don't have an immune system left that is worth a damn.

It has got to the stage that one decent fart passed discretely on the good old London omnibus would put at least 40 passengers in hospital!
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Old 28th May 2008, 19:25
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JW411 - I'd agree with you on the immune system thing... kids are so isolated these days it's frightening. But whether that's to blame for the foul air, I don't know.

Haven't been in a 146 in years. The closest I've gotten to one was at NWI with a 146 parked a bit away from the Q400 I was boarding to BHD.

S.
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Old 28th May 2008, 19:31
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According to the BBC news report it is only Rolls Royce engines. I've watched it three times today and it was quite clearly stated as he stood in front of a slowly spinning fan.

Simple. Ban RR engines. Done.
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Old 28th May 2008, 20:22
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Six previous colleagues of mine have all lost medicals for good following many years of flying 146's powered by Avco Lycoming engines. It is a very real problem.
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Old 28th May 2008, 21:44
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Spoke to an insturctor about this today, he was saying that a guy he knew that flew the 146 lost his medical when he was 51 due to the fumes, after medical treatment he has only recently been allowed to fly.

However, my CFI has been flying 146's for a long time and doesn't have any problems (yet anyway, touch wood!)
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Old 28th May 2008, 22:32
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If there's a genetic component, it's likely that some of the population will be susceptible to the contaminent, and some won't. A non-susceptible person might fly for decades with no ill-effects, while a genetically vulnerable person might be affected within minutes. Ever watch someone with a peanut allergy swell up because of a brief exposure?

The fact that any one of us hasn't suffered symptoms doesn't mean there isn't a problem - for other people.
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Old 29th May 2008, 00:24
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There may be only SOME a/c that do this and that may be due to some small aspect of their maintenance history. They might only leak fumes once every 10/100/1000 sectors. Some a/c might only do this under certain conditions of temperature etc. etc.

These are some of the reasons why this problem has been so difficult to track down. At a guess, the tests need to be conducted on all the airframes for three months. Yes it will cost money but that is life. Life costs and lives have already been severely damaged.
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Old 29th May 2008, 03:53
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Exclamation

JW411, VAFFPAX,

I'm a microbiologist (and a PPL, hence my lurking here) and I have to disagree. Inoculating children (and adults!) stimulates their immune system into producing antibodies and memory cells so that they will be faster-responding when they are actually exposed to the microbe.

The common belief that vaccinating children weakens their immune system compared to having them exposed to the disease naturally is wrong. Vaccination exposes the child to the disease without causing disease. If they then encounter the real disease, they are better able to fight it off and in a way it acts as a booster shot and strengthens them even more.

As for our kids being too isolated now days, there is a valid theory that says we are so clean now, some people develop allergies just because they weren't exposed to the dirty things when their immune system were young. But it hasn't been proven and I wouldn't recommend rolling your kid in a pile of mud.

PLEASE, VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN!
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Old 29th May 2008, 06:50
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The fact that any one of us hasn't suffered symptoms doesn't mean there isn't a problem - for other people
The company my friend was flying used the argument, you got sick but the people you flew with didn't, so it can not be caused by the aircraft

He was not even flying this aircraft for a very long time, I guess not more than 5 years or so, at the time he lost his license he was about 29 years old.


Bart
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Old 29th May 2008, 07:02
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cabin air

yes its a big problem not only in the cabin of 146 but ALL aircraft but also with engineers and mobil jet oil 2.... Australian aircraft engineers unions n the pilots union have funded research in resepct to this also with the pilots asso in england hope to hear more
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Old 29th May 2008, 11:15
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bArt2, I imagine the Cranfield University study will provide some good evidence for your friend to hang his hat upon. Most 'first world' (for want of a better word) airlines owe a much greater duty of care to their employees than they do to their passengers, especially if UK style or Australian style compulsory Workers Compensation / Employers Liability insurance applies (as it would if your friend was contractually based in UK / Oz. It is a while since I got involved in the legalities of it vis-a-vis aircrew, but I imagine Europe is much the same by now.

Simply put, not only must the airline avoid negligence, but it is directly liable by statute for providing a safe system of work and safe tools to work with amongst other things, irrespective of whether it was manufactured/designed/maintained/used wrong by others.

There are many initially hard to nail down industrial injuries littering the history of Workers Compensation cover e.g. vibration white finger (not admitted until early 80s), problems with asbestos of various kinds (very slowly admitted in 80s and 90s to the point that now it is accepted that ALL asbestos is a problem), Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), not admitted fully nuntil the early 90s, excessive noise damage leading to pernmanent tinnitus and cumulative permanent deafness (very poorly controlled or understood even today, even in aviation). Various skin diseases linked to dermatitis in construction and automotive industry (can you imagine having to have a leg or foot amputated due to working too long in wet boots/clothing soaked in cement juice? - yes its a real risk).

Tell your friend to keep his claim open. If he is worried about incurring legal costs, He may even be able to fight it some way without a lawyer by simply hitting the airline with every last scrap of evidence and research.

It is damned obvious that cabins are sometimes contaminated with polutants introduced via bleed air. Taking the UK as an example, it was move obvious to most of us with the geriatric jets that formed the backbone of the charter market. With the advent of the big LoCos, and their newer kit, the symptoms are generally much less often seen in the last 5 years or so.

But evenso, I was very recently in a newish 737 NG and was first treated to an overwarm cabin for 10 minutes after pushback and start up, then as we taxied out, it improved, and then, because we were queueing in low viz right up another NG's jetpipe we received their not very well combusted idling blast air/exhaust courtesy of our bleed from the 80% bypass or whatever.

The Cranfield survey needs to take queueing behind dirty exhausts into account as well as analysing individual types for rogue self-pollutants.

But slowly slowly catchee monkey ... unlike JW411 I have no doubt in my mind that there has been a problem, one that still persists in particular types and in particular situations, and that it will be accepted and paid for by the industry, and that meantime things will continue to change for the better.
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Old 29th May 2008, 11:46
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Those are very good news. I remember when I was young, flying the Fairchild metro, my collar finished every night black of carbon. I read the FCOM and it said that a filter called Tampax was installed to clean the bleed air. I am sure that the filter was never replaced or cleaned. It doesn’t have happened to me in larger airplanes. At least not so visible. The study should be the first step in the good direction of regulating periodic checks of the cabin air quality.
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Old 29th May 2008, 20:27
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JW411 I don't think it matters how good your immune system is if your being poisoned! But I'm not a doctor!



I am concerned that something is going on and hope it doesn't become the "new" Absbestos. In my career I have come across several colleagues who have had incidents of this nature with varying symptoms and lengths of illness. My concern is as soon as OP poisoning is mentioned it seems the powers that be, are all to quick to brush the matter under the carpet so to speak (Fortunately ot all). I see it as a positive step but think due to the rapid coming and going of the "fumes," a carbon monoxide detector style device needs to be fitted to a large range/fleet of aircraft and be monitored by a "black box." Although I am led to believe that these devices are very expensive which is why there is some reluctance to fit them. Lets not forget these events are not limited to 146/757 but there do appear to be worse offenders related to engine models on various aircraft too.



Finally if there isn't a problem how come I read that the Australian government successfully sued BAe over these events! And why is Boeing moving away from the use of cabin bleed air?
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Old 30th May 2008, 06:54
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cabin air

not using bleed air saves on fuel ...and is also cleaner,but the fuel savings are the main reason,again i will say that its all down the line of people who will be effected by mobil jet oil 2 pilots, flt att.maintenance people and pax's, if you some more info just google mobil jet oil 2 and see what comes up it's as bad as agent orange was in the 60/70's...the can of mj2 used to read like a chemical nightmare only now mobil has changed it to tone it down a little
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Old 30th May 2008, 07:26
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I suspect the press are under the impression that contaminated air incidents occur a lot more regularly than they really do nowadays. If they wanted researchers to feel the effects then they are a few years too late, since the number of occurrences will be a lot less than in the past. I suspect that operators who fly affected types are more proactive rather than reactive when dealing with this issue.

The comment on banning RR engines I thought is a bit harsh. Interesting to note that you rarely see MORs about contaminated air incidents on RR powered B744s yet there seems to be a problem on RR powered B757s. I was chatting to a KLM Cityhopper driver in the bar downroute the other night and he said that the Fokker 100 (and I guess the 70 as well) has had a history of smelly air and that is of course powered by RR Tays. I never had heard of that type being affected and I travel on a F100 on a regular basis to get to and from work and I have never had any problems personally as a pax.

On the whole, these incidents will occur from time to time but they are probably sporadic in nature when compared to a few years ago.
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