The debate over Cabin Air is bordering on Toxic
Hard to decide with no hard evidence
FAA Flight Surgeon gets an instrument from Teledyne
Teledyne controls has received an STC to authorize the installation of its Aircraft Cabin Environment Sensor on board B-737s. This technology may provide definitive answers to an intensely discussed public policy issue.
Cabin Air Quality has been the subject of much debate and little concurrence for years. Some health experts and many unions have concluded that the phenomena should be denominated “contaminated air”, while some health experts and most civil aviaton authorities disagree with that conclusion. Reduced to the essence of their positive cabin air position is that there is no evidence to support the judgment that it is contaminated.
Here’s a brief summary of opposing views. Please read them carefully and make your own judgment on the issue. THE GOOD NEWS, as evidenced by the second article, IS THAT TELEDYNE CONTROLS APPEARS TO HAVE PRESENTED A USEFUL MEASURING UNIT WHICH SHOULD PROVIDE MORE DEFINITIVE DATA!!!
Dr. Northrup, this is technology that may make your analysis more grounded in hard data.
POSITIVE to More Study needed:
University of Sterling
Largest Contaminated Air Conference Ever Held Concludes ‘Bleed Air’ Filters and Sensors Should be Installed on Passenger Jet and Turboprop Aircraft
Mar 24th, 2021
The conference saw over a dozen films shown, over 30 presenters speak ranging from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), scientist and medical experts, air accident investigators, engineers, attorneys who have or are running cases related to exposures, crew representatives bodies such as the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE) to companies offering potential solutions to help mitigate the contaminated air on aircraft problem, such as Pall Aerospace, BASF, PTI Technologies, Aircraft Clean Air to name a few.
Nearly 1600 delegates registered for the event. Logging in from six continents via Zoom, they ranged from US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel, US military, Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, numerous national aviation authorities, filtration and sensing companies and experts, numerous air accident departments, synthetic lubricant manufacturers, aircraft leasing companies, legal teams, scientists & researchers, airline crews and crew unions, to representatives from over 50 airlines.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has previously stated that: “The cabin/cockpit air quality is similar or better than what is observed in normal indoor environments (offices, schools, kinder gardens or dwellings)” and “A human exposure study is the long-needed tool to provide an unequivocal and sound data set to end the misguided discussion on cabin air quality once and for all.” The validity of the EASA view was brought into question by research presented at the conference. A film screened at the conference entitled “Ultrafine Particle Levels Measured On Board Short-haul Commercial Passenger Jet Aircraft” showed that although the air quality in the cruise / steady state phase of flight (the state when engine air quality is certificated) measured very low levels of ultra fine particles (UFPs), there was a clear pattern of increased UFPs during engine power changes and aircraft air conditioning system configuration changes. Levels were reported to be 25 times higher than in a home. Unfortunately, EASA were absent from the conference with no representatives registering.
Over the last 20 years, there have been over 50 recommendations and findings made by 12 air accident departments globally, directly related to contaminated air exposures on passenger jet aircraft. However, commercial aircraft continue to fly, with no contaminated air warning systems to notify passengers and crews when the air they are breathing is contaminated despite numerous calls to EASA by air accident investigators. However, EASA have repeatedly stated that contaminated air is not a safety issue, something crew unions strongly dispute and disagree with.
Every airline crew union representative presenting at the conference, endorsed or echoed the aims of one of the conference sponsors, the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive’s (GCAQE) ‘Clean Air Campaign’ launched in February 2021. The airline crew campaign is calling on regulators and Governments globally, to mandate the introduction of effective ‘bleed air’ filters and contaminated air warning sensors on passenger aircraft…
By Woodrow Bellamy III | March 23, 2021
The new ACES cabin air quality monitoring system from Teledyne Controls has been certified for Boeing 737 aircraft. (Teledyne Controls)
The El Segundo, California-based avionics manufacturer developed the ACES system to provide a new method of understanding and analyzing cabin air quality on a regular basis. Teledyne described ACES as the “first FAA-certified product of its type” in a March 15 press release.
“We are very excited to bring this important new capability to the aviation industry. The need for accurate and comprehensive air quality data on aircraft has been recognized for decades,” George Bobb, president of Teledyne Controls said in the release.
The upgrade required to enable the use of ACES onboard 737s requires the installation of the ACES Onboard Device (AOD), which are installed in the flight deck, as well as the fore and aft areas of the main cabin. Using a combination of sensors and aircraft data acquisition technology, the system is designed to capture information about the cabin environment.
“ACES records 13 environmental parameters, including data on airborne particulates from 0.3 to 10 microns in size, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds and several other parameters. These parameters track substances that can potentially be found in the cabin and are known to be areas of concern for passengers and crew, such as hydraulic fluid, engine oil, de-icing fluid or fuel,” a representative for Teledyne Controls told Avionics international in an emailed statement.
Teledyne is recommending a minimum of three AODs installed per aircraft for narrowbody aircraft, with that numbers calling up to as many as seven devices on larger airframes. Multiple ACES units are distributed in the aircraft to capture a comprehensive understanding of the air quality.
The recorded data is stored in the compact ACES units and is automatically transmitted to the ACES Cloud Service portal for processing and analysis upon landing. According to Teledyne, the system is capable of transmitting this data without the use of any aircraft connectivity systems.
Data captured by ACES is automatically transmitted, via cellular or WiFi, to the ACES Cloud Service. Airlines also have the option to transfer it to their own data platform for advanced analytics.
By gaining access to cabin air quality data on a per-flight basis, the idea behind the ACES system is that it will give airlines the ability to more easily monitor emerging problems and identify sources of cabin air contaminants, such as smoke or fume events that can occur.
“The data transfer happens seamlessly and securely via the ACES built-in wireless module, which leverages both cellular (4G LTE) and WiFi networks while the aircraft is on the ground. With an available Wireless Access Point and air-to-ground connectivity, the data can be sent continuously during flight,” the representative said.
ACES is currently available as a retrofit installation for the 737, while certification for other aircraft types is currently in development. Teledyne said a “major” undisclosed U.S. airline has already installed and started using the first ACES system.