zimme
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Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:11 pm

With the fear of this becoming just another A vs. B thread - from the Danish engineering newspaper "Ingeniøren" translated by me:

Statistics say that 5 pax faints pr. 1000 hours in A330 and A340 aircrafts.
According to the Danish newspaper Politiken, this is more often than on other aircraft types.

SAS has investigated this many times, but has not been able to find the cause. Speculations are that it may have something to do with the cabin pressure.

The aviation authorities does not have an explanation either, but points out that it is not a problem only seen on the SAS fleet. The problem is for the A330 and A340 in general, and seems to affect pax going west more often than pax going east.

"We have responded to this matter because our statistics show that the figures are higher than on other aircraft types. We are taking this very seriously, since it is a very unpleasant experience for the passengers" Per Veingberg, chief of the supervision division in Statens Luftfartsvæsen (the Danish aviation authority) says.

"In new aircrafts a lot of effort is put into optimizing the systems to save fuel. The optimization effort may just simply have taken a step to far on the new Airbus", says Per Veingberg who has handed the case over to EU's aviation agency EASA.

At the latest meeting in EASA no explanation of the cause of problem was found.

http://ing.dk/article/20060118/MILJO/101200025/0/FORSKNING (in Danish)

What do you think?
 
AeroTycoon
Posts: 91
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:26 pm

Maybe the difference is purely psychological. Being told that they are on an "Air BUS" might be enough to push a few extra queasy, nervous, agitated passengers into fainting. The psychology of the word airBUS* printed in bold all over the plane....




AeroTycoon dollarsign  dollarsign 




*BUS in caps to emphasize what the nervous pax/airplane hater would be fixating on
 
chrisrad
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:39 pm

This problem, if real, is not limited to Airbus, infact the Boeing 777 had major issues with air quality and fainting a few years ago.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ma...travel/2001/07/28/etnewsboeing.xml

BRITISH AIRWAYS has started making changes to its fleet of 40 Boeing 777 aircraft following the results of an investigation that was prompted by high rates of nausea and fainting among its cabin crew last year.
While the airline has stressed that the incidents of sickness were a "crew problem", the investigation also followed numerous letters from Daily Telegraph readers complaining of similar experiences.

More than 400 readers reported symptoms including vomiting, difficulty in breathing, swelling, headaches and fever. Some readers, like some cabin crew members, had to be given oxygen during flights.

BA's internal investigation identified three problems with the aircraft, which have been flying on major routes across the Atlantic and to the Middle East for four years, and they are now being modified by the airline itself and the manufacturer, Boeing.
Welcome aboard Malaysia Airlines! Winner of Best Cabin Staff 2001,2002,2003,2004,2007,2009,2012
 
cloudyapple
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:34 pm

Quoting Zimme (Thread starter):
this is more often than on other aircraft types

Could it be the fact that they only have A330/A340 for longhaul? What other types are they comparing to? Some B772 in their early days had vibration/damping problems. People sitting in the back were getting motion sickness. Boeing fixed that eventually.
A310/A319/20/21/A332/3/A343/6/A388/B732/5/7/8/B742/S/4/B752/B763/B772/3/W/E145/J41/MD11/83/90
 
HS748
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:21 pm

Come on chaps, don't dignify this load of bollocks by trying to present a technical explanation for it!
 
TGV
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:39 pm

Personnaly I have experienced a similar problem in an AF777, a few months after it entered in service with AF. On the other hand I have never experienced such a problem with 340/330 (my first flight with an 340 goes back to 1994).

I assume that when a new type enters service there are some adjustments that have to be made when the revenue service gives a wider base than the base from flight tests (especially for all things linked to the cabin and the passengers).

But discovering this on planes that have been flying for more than 10 years seems a little strange.

Quoting Zimme (Thread starter):
SAS has investigated this many times, but has not been able to find the cause. Speculations are that it may have something to do with the cabin pressure.

Could this been linked with maintenance ?
SAS does seem to have some problems in this field: BIG Troubles At SAS (by Mischadee Jan 16 2006 in Civil Aviation)#ID2551220
Avoid 777 with 3-4-3 config in Y ! They are real sardine cans. (AF/KL for example)
 
Danny
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:05 pm

There are hundreds of A330/340 flying and somehow people don't faint. Clearly these aircraft were neglected in terms of maintenance as discussed in the thread mentioned above and now there is a search for somebody to blame.
 
andz
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:06 pm

Quoting Chrisrad (Reply 2):
BRITISH AIRWAYS has started making changes to its fleet of 40 Boeing 777 aircraft following the results of an investigation that was prompted by high rates of nausea and fainting among its cabin crew last year.

As I recall wasn't this related to the 777 having a slow cyclic motion of the tail while in flight? Maybe the Tech/Ops forum lurkers would know more.
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
rolfen
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:16 pm

Is 5 pax fainting statistically meaningful? It is possible for example that that 1 or 2 of them fainted due to reasons other than aircraft environment.
rolf
 
VC-10
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:38 pm

Quoting Zimme (Thread starter):
Statistics say that 5 pax faints pr. 1000 hours in A330 and A340 aircrafts.

And the stats for Boeing are?

If you are going to report something give us the full story. "Statistics say that 5 pax faints pr. 1000 hours in A330 and A340 aircraft" is meaningless without something to compare it to.
 
BestWestern
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:49 pm

Quoting VC-10 (Reply 9):
And the stats for Boeing are?

If you are going to report something give us the full story. "Statistics say that 5 pax faints pr. 1000 hours in A330 and A340 aircraft" is meaningless without something to compare it to.

VC-10 Shouldnt you delete the thread then? The title is innaccurate (discusses SK, not Airbus), for starters, and the document has no content.
You are 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a flight than an average person!
 
HBJZA
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:01 pm

Simply ridiculous!

To make a correct statistic, the health state of the passengers has to be taken into consideration.

If I load a boeing with lets say 100 professional sport men and an Airbus with 100 elderly people (minimum age 85) and make them fly for 12 hours, I'll surely be able to say that on board an airbus the fainting risk is higher than on boeing !!!!!  banghead 

Only professionally skilled people can do statistics
 
FLYACYYZ
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:23 pm

Based on what scientific facts and comparisons? I alternate between A340's and 767-300's and have never observed any trend.

As HBJZA points out, the health of the passenger needs to be taken into consideration as well as the length of the journey.

Due to length of the journey, travel fatigue, and sleep deprivation, fainting "symptoms" are not out of the ordinary. On a recent flight between LHR/YYZ there were several customers feeling "faint". Upon futher investigation, they had been travelling for 24 hours from points in South-East Asia, Pakistan, and India, had multiple connections, consumed alcohol, etc.
Above and Beyond
 
ltbewr
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:50 pm

Underlying health conditions, especially respiratory, heart, circulatory problems, diabetes or lack of moving around aircraft and tight seating could all be contibitory factors to a slightly higher rate of 'fainting' on flying these aircraft. If one considers too that the air pressure within aircraft is at or about 5,000+ feet (~1,600 m) and most people live closer to sea level, that might contribute as well, espeically those with borderline health problems as noted above.
 
zimme
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 6:10 pm

RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:58 am

Quoting Rolfen (Reply 8):
Is 5 pax fainting statistically meaningful? It is possible for example that that 1 or 2 of them fainted due to reasons other than aircraft environment.



Quoting HBJZA (Reply 11):
To make a correct statistic, the health state of the passengers has to be taken into consideration.

My thoughts exactly! I too find the conclusions to be somewhat doubtful, but what made me pay attention to this article was that the Danish aviation authorities did pass this on to EASA. Usually you folks are pretty good up-to-date, and if the issue has been brought up in EASA, someone might have heard something..
Well, for now, let's just assume the 5 pax per. 1000 hours are Scandinavians fainting on the thought of returning home after a few days in Asia..
 
rtfm
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:01 am

Damn - when I first caught sight of this topic I thought it said 'Larger Risk Of Farting Onboard Airbus'. Now that would have been an interesting post...  bouncy 
 
zimme
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 6:10 pm

RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:05 am

Quoting RTFM (Reply 15):
Damn - when I first caught sight of this topic I thought it said 'Larger Risk Of Farting Onboard Airbus'

That all depends on the food served.
"Farting or non-farting? Non-farting. Then we suggest a LCC.."  Smile
 
Lucky727
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:12 am

Never felt it on an A330, but my last trip on an A340 left me feeling like total crap (AC LHR-YYZ)...although it could've been the cabin settings as they were set by the captain? Dunno...
··· [·] oooooooo [·] oooo oo ooooo [·] ooooooooooooooooooo [·]
 
dc863
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:06 am

I'm not surprised. The air quality on the AF A330-200 i took from ATL-CDG was simply awful. After the flight I had a thumping headache. During the flight i felt as if i wasn't getting enough oxygen. i asked a few other pax about this and they too agreed.
 
afconcorde1
Posts: 134
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:06 pm

Hopefully, I will have enough bloody mary's down my system on the plane that I will not even be able to notice. (Especially since I read AF has complimetnary drinks in Tempo.)  cloudnine 

Jeremy / afconcorde1
Je pense, donc je vole Concorde!
 
ikramerica
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:17 pm

I love how all the normal culprits dismiss this. "He's a witch! Burn him!"

But all the article says is that they have noticed this statistical anomaly and could quantify it (basically 1 in every 20 long haul flights), and will look into it further. That's it!

And if they find something, wouldn't it be better to address it and fix it like the 777 than to cry foul and stick heads in the sand?

And you can dismiss 5 in 1000hrs all you want, but that's not a small number. 1 in 20 long flights. Now, maybe most other plains are only 4 in 1000hrs, so it's only 25% more of an issue. We don't know. And the flying West issue is very interesting to a scientific mind like mine. West bound flying is usually day flying and fewer people sleep, so it might have something to do with it, no?

It doesn't sound so dangerous to require a fleet grounding or anything, just something to look at so future aircraft may not suffer this problem.

If it leads to a better understanding of air systems that can benefit us ALL in the future, why be such defensive about it?
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
jafa39
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:42 pm

Quoting Zimme (Thread starter):
seems to affect pax going west more often than pax going east.

Because in winter Denmark is rather dark, if flying west to the US for instance they may be dazzled by the sun!!  Smile
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
Gatorman96
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:30 pm

Is this a joke? Long-haul passengers are more prone to dehydration which can lead to nausea/fainting. I had a fellow passenger faint on a boeing 757 in Phoenix before the flight even left the gate. If 5,000 people fainted on A340's/777's, then the manufacturer's should worry. 5 is incredibly insignificant! I can't believe there are people out there who even bother to investigate this! Get a life...
Cha brro
 
seanp11
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:40 pm

The only way this statement would have any validity if it were in the future, and Boeing had gone all composite, and airbus hadn't, so Boeing a/c would have higher humidity, cabin pressure. The difference right now is negligible. It mostly relies on the operator.
 
ikramerica
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 4:10 pm

Quoting Seanp11 (Reply 23):
The only way this statement would have any validity if it were in the future, and Boeing had gone all composite, and airbus hadn't, so Boeing a/c would have higher humidity, cabin pressure. The difference right now is negligible. It mostly relies on the operator.

wow. you just know that? why didn't they just call you? saved the trouble

Quoting Gatorman96 (Reply 22):
5 is incredibly insignificant! I can't believe there are people out there who even bother to investigate this!

You get a life... it's not 5 ever, it's 5 every 1000hrs, or about 1 for every 20 10 hour flights or 1 every 10 days per aircraft assuming 20 hrs usage a day.

You honestly say that's nothing to even look into to see if we can learn why it happens? I've flown well over 1000 hrs in the last 3 years, and never heard of 1 person passing out. I would assume that there would be some sort of commotion should this happen. In your world, I should have seen 5 and it shouldn't matter...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
ukkiwibird
Posts: 44
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RE: Larger Risk Of Fainting Onboard Airbus

Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:42 pm

For the stats to be meaningful, it might have been good to know ,age, sex and health problems first.
But if this a clear playing field, i.e , not above 65, or have any ongoing health problems and even whether you are prone to fainting, then on the face of it these stats are worrying, but no more worrying than the risk of DVT surley.
ukkiwibird

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