deltaownsall
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 3:25 pm

Radiation Exposure When Flying

Wed Aug 22, 2001 9:30 am

This is an excerpt from the September Bottom Line news magazine about radiation while flying...
"Travelers who fly more than 75,000 miles per year are exposed to radiation levels comparable to those of workers in the medical or nuclear industry."
This radiation is due to solar storms. What do you think about this? What kind of radiation must the pilots be exposed to?
DeltaOwnsAll

 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Wed Aug 22, 2001 7:56 pm

You may get exposed to radioation levels comparable to those of workers in the medical or nuclear industry, but these levels are still within safety limits. It's interesting to know that Concorde is fitted with a dosimeter to measure radiation, and if there is high levels or radiation, it would have to cruise at a lower altitude for the remainder of the flight.
Also, it has been revealed that pilots have a (slightly) greater incidence of skin cancer than normal. This *could* be due to the increased levels of radiation they're exposed to (after all, a long-haul pilot will likely travel a lot farther than 75000 miles a year). However, it is also believe that this could be caused by constant exposure to the sun through the cockpit windows, especially since they're cruising at altitudes where the amount of ozone between them and the sun is less than at the surface of the earth.

Regards.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
lmml 14/32
Posts: 2358
Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2001 2:27 am

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Wed Aug 22, 2001 8:02 pm

No airline will admit to this. Of course this would mean heavy compensations to the crews who fly regularly. Radiation is more intense in the Northern Hemisphere and it is the same during the day and night. Dosimeters are available for personal use and can be purchased relatively cheaply. As a flight attendant, I know the risks and I accept them as my occupational hazard. There is an old saying that goes "There are old pilots and bold pilots. But there are no old, bold pilots". Same is true for flight attendants. I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. Cosmic Radiation at high altitude is a real risk and should be acknowledged and discussed in public.
 
jwenting
Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Wed Aug 22, 2001 8:11 pm

Dosimeters are no good without trained people to interpret the readings...
Radiation levels are safe, except possibly during solar storms. But then, levels may be high enough to damage the electronics in the aircraft giving an entirely new meaning to "fly by wire".
I wish I were flying
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Wed Aug 22, 2001 8:38 pm

You've got to realise that cosmic radiation only becomes aparant above 40000ft, and even then is still in minute amounts. We're talking milirads every flight. However, I agree that there haven't been enough studies into radiation associated with commercial flight. The radiation wouldn't affect even the most frequent of fliers, but it could affect crews. Airlines will have to acknolege the radiation, or face possible lawsuits. The problem is that if there is an effect of long term exposure to the radiation, it'll show itself as a cancer years after, and it's very difficult to link that cancer actually with air travel.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
GDB
Posts: 12680
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Thu Aug 23, 2001 6:12 am

In 24 years and 6 months of operations, the BA and AF Concordes never had a radiation alarm caused by solar/cosmic radiation at 55-60,000 ft. 1978, 1989 and 2000 were maximum solar activity years.
They had alarms at normal altitudes when subsonic overland, caused by ground sources which presumably all aircraft on the same flighpath flew through. The last incident was in 1999, caused by a source at the former Republic Aviation factory site at Palmingdale, which affected a BA Concorde on a charter 6000 ft above.
Radiation readings are taken before and after all Concorde flights, I can tell you that normally there is hardly any difference between the two.
Many of our flight-crew have flown the aircraft for many years, some for more than 20. No unusual incidence of cancers have been detected.
I agree that radiation exposure needs further research, but airlines have to be careful. Before you know it, frequent flyers who get cancer for whatever reason, might start taking legal action against airlines, thus making our lawyer-choked societies one step closer to grinding to a halt, just to make some professional bullshitters even richer.


 
Spitfire
Posts: 697
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 2:16 am

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Thu Aug 23, 2001 11:26 am

Sabena ... Never to be forgotten (12 years already , what a shame !! )
 
deltaownsall
Posts: 1091
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 3:25 pm

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Thu Aug 23, 2001 12:03 pm

Thanks for the website with the info Spitfire. It appears that a person flying 700 block hours per year for 25 years on the New-York to Chicago route would have a .3% higher chance of getting cancer (on average).
DeltaOwnsAll
 
Spitfire
Posts: 697
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 2:16 am

RE: Radiation Exposure When Flying

Thu Aug 23, 2001 1:55 pm

But try it with LHR - NRT at FL390 ... (during peak sun activity)
Sabena ... Never to be forgotten (12 years already , what a shame !! )

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