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Aircraft Cabin Air and Engine Oil - A Systems Engineering View

Scholz, Dieter

Purpose – This presentation gives an introduction to aircraft cabin air quality and contamination risks. Beyond these fundamentals, most of the current engineering issues discussed with respect to the topic are explained.

Design/methodology/approach – The literature review is complemented with own explanations, thoughts and derivations.

Findings – There is a real health and flight safety risk due to contaminated cabin air. For the infrequent flyer the risk is very low. Also aviation statistics are not dominated by cabin air related accidents. Nevertheless, a bleed air based air conditioning system can be regarded as applying a fundamentally wrong systems engineering approach. Measures have to be taken.

Research limitations/implications – This review study is based on references. Own measurements have not been made.

Practical implications – Passengers and crew are made aware of the risk of cabin air contamination based on technical facts. Steps towards a solution of the problem are presented as they can be applied by passengers, pilots, airlines and manufacturers respectively.

Social implications – Better knowledge of the problem should enable passengers and crew to maintain a firm position in the sometimes heated discussion.

Originality/value – Engineering based information with a critical view on the topic seems to be missing in public. This presentation tries to fill this gap.

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