The Aerotoxic Logbook (ATLB) in English (EN)

The problem has been known since the 1950s - roughly 70 years and nothing has ever been done about it.  The air in the cabin is still ‚bled off’ (the engines) in airplanes - with the well-known possible consequences for flight safety and health, in particular that of  flight crew. We have the cultural history on 'Flying is safe' and the ongoing problems investigated at www.ansTageslicht.de/cabinair (EN).

Although the cabin air is 50% re-circulated in modern aircraft types, the basic problem remains unsolved. With one exception: the Boeing B787.  This is/was also the state of knowledge at the first big conference on this topic in London in September 2017. The presentations can now be viewed here: www.aircraftcabinair.com  

There are many reasons why no solutions are found: the targeted influencing of scientific discussions, the airlines’ economic interests, the links between politics and air transport industry and other reasons.

The ‚Aerotoxic Logbook’, launched in January 2017, is a first comprehensive documentation addressing the problem of potentially contaminated cabin air (www.ansTageslicht.de/Kabininenluft - German) and documents what is happening in this area.  Or, what is not happening. And why not. This German language blog (www.ansTageslicht.de/ATLB) is now also available in English and can be accessed directly via this permalink: www.ansTageslicht.de/ENATLB.

The information we collect in German is translated by Bearnairdine BEAUMONT who operates the network www.aerotoxicteam.com  and the blog www.aerotoxicsyndrombook.com/blog.

With the ‚Aerotoxic Logbook’ we want to achieve international networking,  bringing together all initiatives and activities to communicate about this unsolved problem and to initiate solutions. At the same time it is a scientific experiment: What must happen before a problem is addressed?

October 15th, 2017

Fume Event - smell event: Airbus A319 needs to make an emergency landing.

It has only now been made public that a fume event took place on an easyJet plane (registration: G-EZNC) on October 3rd, which was on the way from Palma / Mallorca to Luton and had to land in Paris: several passengers and flight attendants, but also the co-pilot had become ‘unwell’. After the unintended landing, 6 paramedics were in attendance to provide the passengers and co-pilot with first aid. The latter received pure oxygen. This is reported by the ‘Aviation Herald’.  

Nothing unusual, because, as is known, fume events happen regularly, which then are usually belittled or completely denied. The British journalist Andrew GILLIGAN asked the airline whether this was a so-called aerotoxic incident. The answer was ‘no’, that this had only been a simple‘smell event’ and easyJet would not classify such events as ‘aerotoxic’.

However, easyJet had to admit that there was a leak of hydraulic fluid that could have developed a "very small amount" of smell. A ‘technical cleaning’ took place in Paris in which all of the return flow filters were also replaced. The plane had to stay on the ground for more than 60 hours before flying back to London.  Andrew GILLIGAN (@mragilligan) also has a passenger speaking in his article "EasyJet in forced landing as 'smell event' overcomes co-pilot", which appeared in the Times, providing details on the event. 

Some blog comment entries following this report are interesting;  a specialist with the alias of ‘VH-EAH’ posts and indicates that he was one of those people who had been involved in the EASA study (published 2017). He corrected firstly that the landing was not an ‘emergency landing’ and that secondly, the EASA study had shown that such ‘cabin air events’ had no adverse effects on health.  

This shows once again how this  problem is repeatedly downplayed . The fact that this is also done by easyJet is astonishing, since this airline has decided to work with PALL Aerospace  to install new filters which are designed to directly filter the bleed air (see entry of 20 September).

September 20th, 2017

easyeasyJet will install filters for bleed air

Of all airlines the low-cost airline has decided to work with PALL Aerospace, which also manufactures the HEPA filters for re-circulated air in aircraft, to install such filters which are intended to keep out contaminants and are supposed to clean the bleed-air tapped from the engines,  in their fleet of aircraft within about one year.  As a result, the potential contamination of cabin air could be further alleviated or even prevented.

This was announced by the airline and the manufacturer at the London conference.

The air in most modern aircraft is first sucked in, then compressed, cooled and warmed again.  During the flight it is then mixed to about 50% with the already existing air (re-circulated air). The air which has been reused to 50% can be purified from hazardeous substances by these ‚HEPA’ filters. The weak point so far: the constant new air stream fed from the turbines. A good graphic is printed in the Sunday Times.

EasyJet’s and PALL Aerospace’s goals are ambitious. However, innovations are not possible without high goals and commitment. During the period in question, they not only have to undertake test flights,  but also have to submit the many applications seeking approval by the various aviation authorities.

The reason is not really clear why a low-cost airline should be first to go down this route. On the other hand, easyJet is currently facing 2 law suits from flight attendants: one in France (criminal charges) and a recent one in the UK.

Strictly speaking, easyJet is not really the first airline to have filters for the bleed-air from their engines. DHL's cargo planes are all equipped with these features: in the cockpit.