CXoneworld
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CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Sun Mar 27, 2005 9:18 pm

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.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200503/s1332197.htm

[Edited 2005-03-27 13:22:47]
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GSPSPOT
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Sun Mar 27, 2005 10:42 pm

So, the metal of the airplane doesn't shield cancer-causing (UV?) rays?
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n949wp
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:38 am

UV is child's play in comparison with the much more damaging Gamma radiation.
 
jetdeltamsy
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 4:31 am

Quoting GSPSPOT (Reply 1):
So, the metal of the airplane doesn't shield cancer-causing (UV?) rays?

it's gamma rays that concern flight crews. the aircraft metal offers no protection.
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agmyvr
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 6:52 am

Quoting CXoneWorld (Thread starter):
However, it was said that union was still concerned that no similar limits have been placed on passengers.

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?
 
agmyvr
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 6:54 am

ooooops, hvn't finished yet....

eventhough CX can limit the frequency of the pax over over polar route on CX, pax can hv other choices......SQ,CO, and up coming TG
 
UAMAYBACH1239
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 10:03 am

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.  alert 
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ramerinianair
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 10:23 am

So is CO starting any new rule/restriction on their route from EWR??
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trex8
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 11:17 am

but is this any worse than people living say in Denver all year compared to living at sea level??
 
Samurai 777
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:02 pm

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
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 1:45 pm

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)

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Zone1
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 1:55 pm

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.
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Flying Belgian
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 6:16 pm

Quoting RamerinianAir (Reply 7):
So is CO starting any new rule/restriction on their route from EWR??

As far as I remember, CO always took that element into account for its regular scheduling.
Life is great at 41.000 feet...
 
antares
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Mon Mar 28, 2005 8:13 pm

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.
 
incitatus
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Tue Mar 29, 2005 11:53 am

Are there any studies showing if there is a higher chance of getting cancer by crews on these routes compared to the general population?
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antares
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:50 pm

Incitatus,

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
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Tue Mar 29, 2005 1:46 pm

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.
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antares
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:55 pm

I agree Incitatus.

The mere fact that they do don't drive as much as the rest of us and are close to 100 % non smokers should make them live longer than the general population too.

Antares
 
N1120A
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Tue Mar 29, 2005 5:02 pm

Quoting Agmyvr (Reply 4):
why should the union concern about the paxs?

Possibly because there are some people who still care about the lives of other people

Quoting Trex8 (Reply 8):
but is this any worse than people living say in Denver all year compared to living at sea level??

It is over 30,000 feet and several layers of atmosphere worse

Quoting Antares (Reply 17):
close to 100 % non smokers should make them live longer than the general population too.

You must have missed that recent picture and thread here.
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BA
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RE: CX Restricts Crew On Polar Flight Amid Cancer Fear

Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:17 pm

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.

Regards
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