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Airline Cabin & Air Quality

December 8, 2014 Blog, Pilot_Posts No Comments

 

TOPIC: Airline Cabin & Air Quality

GOAL: To learn about the quality of airline cabin air and water systems

Level: Medium

Exercise #1: Read about airline cabin air and water quality then proceed to Exercise #2

It wasn’t that long ago when passengers were permitted to smoke on board commercial flights. You might remember the imaginary ‘boundary’ that separated the smoking and non-smoking sections of the cabin. During the days of in-flight smoking, air recirculation filters removed almost all tobacco smoke particles from the cabin. Now that smoking is banned, do today’s cabins offer the freshest and healthiest environment possible? Not so, at least according to a number of recent newspaper articles, which have also raised public concerns regarding the cleanliness of onboard water systems.

 

One of the main concerns on the flying public’s mind is the spread of infectious diseases onboard aircraft. However, many travelers do not realize that the air within the cabin is a continuously flowing mixture of air from outside the cabin and highly filtered recirculated air from within the aircraft. In fact, numerous scientific studies of airline air quality have shown that contaminants do not build up in the cabin and the filtered and high-volume airflow supplied to this area is indeed clean and safe. Most microorganism cannot pass through the filters of the highly efficient air recirculation systems on today’s jets. These systems deliver a mix consisting of one-half outside air and one-half filtered, recirculated air. They normally produce between 14 and 20 cubic feet of air per person each minute.

However, Coliform bacteria can pose some health risk in our airborne water and air systems. Coliforms are a group of closely related bacteria, most of which are natural and common inhabitants of the soil and ambient waters (such as lakes and rivers) and the digestive tracts of humans and other warm-blooded animals. Normally, the bacteria will not cause illness but there is a possibility that their presence could become an issue for some passengers. Of course, there is potential for diseases to spread whenever groups of people are collected together in enclosed environments for a period of time. Passengers who become ill during or after a flight may have been infected from another passenger or via previous exposure before travelling

Realizing the public’s concern regarding the health issues arising from air travel, Boeing is currently working hard to promote the advantages of its latest-generation aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner, provides in this field. Besides offering an improved cabin altitude, the Dreamliner also features a next-generation air purification system which removes gaseous irritants and odors from the aircraft cabin, as well as allergens, bacteria and viruses. Boeing’s decision to enhance purification of the Dreamliner’s cabin air resulted from a two-year cabin environment study conducted in partnership with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Exercise #2: Watch videos about air cabin pressure’s effect on the body:

1.      We live in a sea of air and this video discusses its effects on the body, particularly while in-flight.

Exercise #3: Answer the following questions, which are based on the information contained in the text and videos you’ve just studied.

1.      What was the purpose of air recirculation filters during the days of in-flight smoking?  

a.      Keep the smoke from moving throughout the cabin

b.      Remove all air particles

c.       Remove almost all smoke tobacco particles

d.      none of the above

Answer = c

2.      Numerous scientific studies of airline air quality have shown that contaminants ____ build up in the cabin

a.      Always do

b.      do not

c.       sometimes

d.      None of the above

Answer = b

3.      Which of the following can pose some health risk in our airborne water and air systems?

a.      H1N1

b.      smoke

c.       dust

d.      Coliform bacteria

Answer = d

4.      True or False: Most microorganisms cannot pass through the filters of the highly efficient air recirculation systems on today’s jets.

a.      True

b.      False

Answer = a

5.      Which aircraft features a next-generation air purification system which removes gaseous irritants and odors from the aircraft cabin?

a.      Airbus A320

b.      Boeing 777

c.       Boeing 787

d.      Boeing 747.

Answer = c           

6.      Who conducted a two-year cabin environment study in partnership with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU)?

a.      Boeing

b.      Airbus

c.       The Danish government

d.      None of the above

             Answer = a

 

 

 

 

 

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