CXoneWorld From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 325 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7748 times:
Cathay Pacific has limited its crews from operating on the non-stop Hong Kong-New York flights to twice a month amid union's concerns that the North Pole routing could increase the likelihood of human cancer.
In an interview with the local South China Morning Post, a union official claimed that cosmic radiation levels increase markedly at 8,000 meters above the pole.
"If you do two-and-a-half polar flights a month you are in the danger zone," she was quoted as saying.
"At first when we heard about this everybody was worried. But we have had regular meetings with (air officials) and Cathay and guidance from an aviation doctor."
However, it was said that union was still concerned that no similar limits have been placed on passengers.
UAMAYBACH1239 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 221 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 6757 times:
why should the union concern about the paxs? b4 the flight started, it's be reported that the radiation does cause harm to human, paxs hv the choice not to fly the polar route?
Because they are human beings. A quality airline considers the safety of their FLT. Crew and pax. True enough pax can fly who they want, would if they were apart of an alliance of some sort. I would feel much better flying on a carrier that raised these questions only to be cautious.
One other this day and age you certainly would not want to set yourself up for no type lawsuits.
Samurai 777 From Canada, joined Jan 2000, 2461 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5914 times:
Quoting N949WP: UV is child's play in comparison with the much more damaging Gamma radiation.
It's not just gamma rays. Charged particles, or ionizing radiation, from the sun can be very harmful as well. Unlike gamma rays, the amount of charged particles from the sun can spike in intensity, especially during a solar flare.
I don't know if any airline has had to cancel or change flight plans for a polar route during a powerful solar flare. A solar flare would not only increase the chance of getting cancer, but also interfere with radio communication between the pilots and ATC. They're already known to seriously affect satellites in orbit and even cause electrical powerplants to go haywire. They may also interfere with the IFE, if the aircraft has something like DirectTV and wireless Internet on board.
Earth's magnetic field is like a donut, where the "holes" are at the poles, so over the polar regions there's much less protection at high altitudes than over the lower latitudes. The aurora borealis, or the northern lights (or in the southern hemishpere, aurora australis) is actually the result of the air molecules glowing when hit by the charged particles from the sun. Fortunately, at ground level, the atmosphere is thick enough to absorb both types of radiation.
Concentriq From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 368 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5290 times:
Make all pax wear an aluminium foil hats!!! in the 50's they worked very well in protecting from aliens stealing your thoughts and communists controlling your brain (in conjunction with fluoride in our drinking water)
Zone1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1036 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5235 times:
Quoting Trex8 (Reply 8): but is this any worse than people living say in Denver all year compared to living at sea level??
Yes, it's a lot worse. The poles are where all these charged particles are drawn into when they hit the magnetosphere. Plus flying at 41,000ft does not allow the atmosphere to block any of these charged particles. In fact I've heard that CX and others will change their flight plans if it is known that the cosmic radiation would be particularly worse on at a given time.
Antares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 37
Reply 13, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4002 times:
The issue is note the geographic north pole but the magnetic north pole.
That's where the auroral discharges are strongest and the concentration of radiation the highest.
Even in the days of epic Air France Lockheed Constellation flights ( I forget which model, it was the one that came immediately after the last Qantas Super Connies) efforts were made to stay away from the north magnetic pole which was then in northern Hudson Bay area on the routes that flew to Anchorage from Europe or down to SFO and LAX.
Finnair already puts occupational health and safety limits on its female cabin crew if they are in the age band where maternity is most likely, and I believe Air Canada and Continental have similar restrictions.
All sound commonsense stuff.
It will be interesting to see in future years (not that I will see it) if higher rates of tumours appear in the small population of very frequent Concorde flyers, or is that fryers.
Antares From Australia, joined Jun 2004, 1402 posts, RR: 37
Reply 15, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3386 times:
I've seen references to studies on the health of long serving LH pilots which found they were dying on average 10 years sooner than the general population. But that was all flying, not just high latitude flying.
Scepticism is in order here since I haven't seen first hand reports, and instinctively I sense that a decent statistical comparison could not be established for maybe one or morec decades into the future.
What we need to answer these questions properly is a statistically significant comparison with the general population, excluding other radiation affected workers like those dealing with X-ray or medical isotopic treatments and of course nuclear industry workers.
Would be intersested to know if anyone can definitively answer your question as it is a very important issue.
Incitatus From Brazil, joined Feb 2005, 4363 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3292 times:
Quoting Antares (Reply 15): I've seen references to studies on the health of long serving LH pilots which found they were dying on average 10 years sooner than the general population. But that was all flying, not just high latitude flying.
That looks too big a difference. Pilots are wealthier and healthier (at least until 60) than the average population, so they tend to live longer lives. And if the difference was so significant, it would be easy to determine what cause of death was the reason for it.
BA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11161 posts, RR: 57
Reply 19, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 3113 times:
As others have mentioned, the charged ionized particles hit the atmosphere around the north magnetic pole and south magnetic pole.
Denver is nowhere near the north magnetic pole or south magnetic pole.
Ionized particles are always hitting our atmosphere around our poles, however periodically the sun acts up and starts spitting out large amounts of charged particles which are very dangerous to us living creatures.
These charged particles that hit our atmosphere are what cause the Aurora Borealis lights in the north and Aurora Australis lights in the south.
This also happens during coronal mass ejections and solar flares which are huge explosions on the sun's surface.
Scientists are able to predict solar fares, coronal mass ejections, and periodic increase in activity by monitoring the sunspots which follow a general up and down pattern.
Often times when a powerful solar flare or coronal mass ejection occurs, it will sometimes disrupt satellite signals, cell phones, radio transmissions, and even electricity. They will even sometimes damage satellites in space.
During a coronal mass ejection or solar flare burst, astronauts must stay inside their spacecraft.
The charged particles reach Earth within a few hours. Scientists who constantly monitor the sun tell the astronauts when the charged particles will reach Earth so they stay inside their spacecraft at that time until it is safe to go out again.
This 3D drawing shows the path the particles take which is called the Van Allen Radiation Belt:
Our atmosphere prevents these particles from reaching us, however up at 30,000 feet where airliners cruise, some particles may reach that level and the aircraft's metal surely cannot stop them.
With the damaging of the atmosphere (such as the depletion of the O-zone), these particles are able to penerate further down into Earth.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran