Elite
Topic Author
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Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:05 am

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2005-03-28-flights-cancer_x.htm

"If you do two and a half polar flights a month you are in the danger zone," Flight Attendants Union general secretary Becky Kwan was quoted as saying.

Looks like the Hong Kong to New York route has a cancer risk... this is quite scary for me because I am a constant traveller on this route and I have had over 5 flights a month before...
 
LAXdude1023
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:14 am

Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
Looks like the Hong Kong to New York route has a cancer risk... this is quite scary for me because I am a constant traveller on this route and I have had over 5 flights a month before...

Honestly, I wouldnt worry. The media tries to create fear on just about everything. I am very skeptical about this report.
It is what it is...
 
geniusjacky
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:45 am

HKG-JFK is not the only polar flight. HKG-ORD, SIN-EWR, BKK-JFK, etc all flies like that and has been for years.
I think the media talked about concord flights getting too much radiation before as well. But then, you probably get a lot of radiation from everywhere anyways. I don't think we should be too worried.
 
tristanhnl
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:52 am

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 1):
Honestly, I wouldnt worry. The media tries to create fear on just about everything. I am very skeptical about this report.

To a certain extent I agree with you. However do not be so quick to dismiss this report. Working as a radiologic technologist (x-ray, nuclear medicine, CT, etc), people often ask me about the risks of receiving artificial manmade radiation from diagnostic imaging. I answer using BERT, or Background Equivalent Radiation Time. Just got a chest x-ray? That's approximately the same amount of radiation you'd get naturally from the sun, ground, and within your own body (metabolic processes) in 10 days. This comes to about 0.08 millisieverts or 8 millirems of radiation.

My point is that people don't realize they're exposed to radiation every single day of their lives, and most of it IS coming from the sun! Radiation is simply a form of electromagnetic energy (albeit potentially dangerous) and the sun is a huge source of this energy. Therefore it makes sense that the closer you are to the sun, and at a location on Earth where the intensity is greater, that you are receiving significantly more radiation.

Those who do long polar flights only periodically need not worry. However I am not saying those who work/take these flights more frequently should freak out either. Nobody can say for sure how much radiation it takes to mutate a DNA in a cell in a certain person's body to start a cancer. It might be as little as 0.001 millisieverts (which would be awfully ufortunate for such a small exposure) or it might be as much as 5 sieverts (enough to make a woman sterile). It really is all by chance. This is the reason physicists and radiation officers recommend us radiation workers to keep in mind the linear stochastic non-threshold trend of exposure: no exposure is safe and should be minimized whenever possible. ALARA = as low as reasonably achieveable.
Hong Kong: truly Asia's world city!
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 11:01 am

Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
Looks like the Hong Kong to New York route has a cancer risk...

So now are we to expect warnings on airline websites, and on ticket jackets that say if you fly the Hong Kong to New York, Singapore to Newark, Hong Kong to Chicago, or Bangkok to New York you in danger of developing cancer?

Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
this is quite scary for me because I am a constant traveller on this route and I have had over 5 flights a month before...

Dont be worried there have been flight crews that have done these trips 4-5 times a month for years, and they are not dead from cancer.

Quoting TristanHNL (Reply 3):
However do not be so quick to dismiss this report

If we paid attention to every label that is coming our way, we would all be sitting at home inside of a box in fear of the outside World. In reality is this just the news agencies finding they have a lack of things to report? Or is this some idea that floated into the head of a news reporter that think airlines still have ice sculptures, and George Petroni can be found on the Golden Odyssey service to Rome?  rotfl 

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
ADXMatt
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 11:04 am

Doesn't the ozone scrubbers on the B777 take care of this?
 
tristanhnl
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 11:14 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 4):
If we paid attention to every label that is coming our way, we would all be sitting at home inside of a box in fear of the outside World.

That is exactly my point. Radiation is all around you, and if you must work/take these flights, do it because it's a part of your life. Don't lose sleep over it. There is no certainty with regard to how much is too much. When I said don't be so quick to dismiss the report, well, that's what I meant. Whether the reporter was having a slow news day, I don't know and I don't care, what you do with the information, I don't know and I don't care, but I do want to clarify and say the contents of the report is NOT some made-up BS.
Hong Kong: truly Asia's world city!
 
atlaaron
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 11:26 am

Look at your window and you can probably see a cell phone tower . . . there's more risk than these flights.
 
Mir
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 11:33 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 4):
Dont be worried there have been flight crews that have done these trips 4-5 times a month for years, and they are not dead from cancer.

While I'm of the mind that the radiation from polar flights is not a cause for alarm, just because someone hasn't come down with cancer doesn't mean that someone won't come down with cancer. Though if someone did, it would be difficult to prove that it was the flights themselves that did it, and not any other of the numerous sources of radiation that we are exposed to.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
tristanhnl
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 11:46 am

Quoting ATLAaron (Reply 7):
Look at your window and you can probably see a cell phone tower . . . there's more risk than these flights.

I am not discounting your statement, but can you provide some numbers, or a source? From what I learned in rad tech school, 55% of gross common exposure to background radiation comes from radon (in geologic formations or soil containing granite, shale, phosphate, etc). The next biggest contributing factor is cosmic/terrestial in nature.
Hong Kong: truly Asia's world city!
 
jcavinato
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 12:16 pm

That was also an issue raised with the Concorde as well. But, in the last ten years I didn't hear any more about it. Has there been any heightened cancer in the flight crews on these birds?
 
levg79
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 12:28 pm

If people are able to visit Pripyat without risking the life, I'm sure that there is no harm to overfly the north pole, at least much much less than visiting Pripyat.

Leo.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
georgebush
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 12:54 pm

Just make the flight attendants wear lead jackets on the "dangerous" portion of the trip. Wa La problem solved.
Al Gore invented global warming.
 
reins485
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 1:17 pm

My dad, a former AA pilot, used to wear radiation badge while flying ORD-LHR. None of them were ever above the standard amount that people would receive from just walking around on a normal day, and I think, several years ago people expressed the same concern over trans-Atlantic flights. So I think this is a very big deal over nothing.
 
georgebush
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 1:23 pm

Quoting Reins485 (Reply 13):
So I think this is a very big deal over nothing.

Actually I dont think this is that big of a deal, since no other airlines have restricted polar flights. But agreed just like global warming... lotta media hype.
Al Gore invented global warming.
 
Jerald01
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 1:32 pm

Does it really make any difference whether or not you are flying a polar route vs an equatorial route? Sure, there is evidence more radiation reaches the earth in the polar regions for a given amount of sunlight exposure at a given angle above the horizon than does at equitorial latitudes, but think about it: Trans-polar flights are not always done in the daytime, no more than trans-equitorial flights are. As a matter of fact, your chances of being IN daylight on trans-polar flights are diminished because of the tilt of the earth... that's why Anchorage and other northern cities have roughly 6 months of daylight and six months of dark continuously.

A second thought: Although aircraft components (aluminum, composites, steel, etc.,) do not afford the radiation absorbtion that lead does, they DO attenuate SOME of the radiation hazards associated with flying above 50% of the earth's atmosphere, so the increased radiation encountered on trans-polar flights (if there really is any increase...) would be minimal.

Of course, if Airbus wants to RE-re-design the A380 they might want to think about including lead panels in the ceiling for those airframes destined to fly over the poles. They could advertise that theirs are "radiation-proof" airliners. That might make a customer or two choose them over whatever Boeing is offerring. Of course, they MIGHT have a bit of a time getting that VERY "HEAVY" A380 certified...

Oh well, that would be familiar waters for them, now wouldn't it?  Yeah sure
"There may be old pilots, and there may be bold pilots, but there are darn few green cows"
 
ContnlEliteCMH
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 1:36 pm

Quoting TristanHNL (Reply 3):
Therefore it makes sense that the closer you are to the sun, and at a location on Earth where the intensity is greater, that you are receiving significantly more radiation.

Great post. I can tell you studied hard in school.

Can you clarify what you meant by "the closer you are to the sun"? You're not implying that being eight miles up in the atmosphere puts you closer to the sun, are you?
Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
 
avroarrow
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 1:39 pm

My 2 cents. I have watched the ITVV Concorde DVD a couple of times and as I recall there is a mention in the cockpit tour about a radiation exposure meter that was installed in Concorde in the beginning due to concerns regarding exposure from the extra high cruise altitude. In the DVD the FE mentions that the gauge was made inop many years ago as the radiation exposure was considered to be well below a safe level for the crew. Having said that of course safety standards are always changing and an exposure level that might have been considered OK 10 years ago may now be considered dangerous. As an aside I work as a technician in a steel mill and a couple of devices that I work on are X-ray thickness measuring devices. They provide me with a doseimiter badge that will tell me if I exceed the level that the government considers safe at this point in time. The catch is of course that I don't know that I've exceeded the safe level until 6 months later after the badge has been read and evaluated. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.   But so far no bad readings yet, so I guess thats fine by me.

[Edited 2007-05-28 07:03:54]
Give me a mile of road and I can take you a mile. Give me a mile of runway and I can show you the world.
 
777fan
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 1:49 pm

Quoting ADXMatt (Reply 5):
Doesn't the ozone scrubbers on the B777 take care of this?

Ozone is not radioactive - it's a simple compound consisting of three oxygen molecules and is the primary component of the atmosphere's shield from the sun's electromagnetic rays.

All in all, sounds like much ado about nothing - could the unions be seeking additional compensation for long haul polar flights?! I find it highly unlikely that after years of polar routes, those involved would suddenly "figure out" that airlines have been putting their crews at additional risk; if it were that dangerous, those routes would be halted immediately.


777fan
DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
 
warren747sp
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 2:41 pm

I noticed that i need more time to recover after the PEK-EWR flight on CO which is flown almost entirely in daylight. Does any body know if there is less radiation flying in the evenign instead of the day?
W
747SP
 
jibblets
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 2:56 pm

Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2005-03-28-flights-cancer_x.htm

This article is more than two years old. If this was a huge risk, don't you think we'd have some more data by now and some follow-up reports?

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 16):
Great post. I can tell you studied hard in school.

Can you clarify what you meant by "the closer you are to the sun"? You're not implying that being eight miles up in the atmosphere puts you closer to the sun, are you?

I honestly can't tell if you are being serious or facetious/condesending to the only person to reply to this thread with some actual facts. There's a lot of armchair experts on a.net (and the Internet in general) but when someone comes along with some fairly concrete information, no one seems to really care or notice.

Of course when you are flying in a plane you are not significantly closer to the sun, but you are significantly further in to the areas of the atmosphere where the protective magnetic shield around the planet is not protecting us from as much of the solar and intergalactic radiation as it does on the surface.
 
konstantinkoll
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 2:57 pm

I think you should translate "8 miles closer to the sun" to "8 miles out of the atmosphere".
 
SRQCrosscheck
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 3:13 pm

I wouldn't discount this research. Aurora Borealis occurs in the northern polar regions because of the structure of the magnetic field surrounding the earth. I believe the regions around the poles receive more radiation from the solar wind in general (I haven't taken E&M in ages, so I don't remember, really). But definitely the higher up you are, the less protected you are by the atmosphere as well.
 
spacecadet
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 4:04 pm

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 4):
Dont be worried there have been flight crews that have done these trips 4-5 times a month for years, and they are not dead from cancer.

Um, some of them are: http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/n...ight-crews-have-higher-cancer-risk

Granted, that article's even 2 years older than the one listed at the top - but it references probably a dozen different studies, and the fact that flight crews *do* have higher rates of cancer than the general population hasn't suddenly reversed itself in the past 4 years. Studies have been and are being done, and flight crews do get cancer at higher than normal rates.

The exact reason *why* is really the only thing up for debate.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
Mir
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 4:16 pm

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 16):
You're not implying that being eight miles up in the atmosphere puts you closer to the sun, are you?

Well, it does, doesn't it? However, that little distance is negligible. What is not negligible is the fact that you are above a lot of the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is great at filtering out some of the radiation. Take away some of that filtering by being above it, and you're more at risk for radiation. Appreciably more? Maybe, maybe not. But definitely more.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
zvezda
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 4:24 pm

The cancer risk from being on one such flight is probably similar to the cancer risk from being in the same room when someone else smokes one cigarette.
 
tristanhnl
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 4:45 pm

Quoting Jibblets (Reply 20):
Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 16):
Great post. I can tell you studied hard in school.

Can you clarify what you meant by "the closer you are to the sun"? You're not implying that being eight miles up in the atmosphere puts you closer to the sun, are you?

I honestly can't tell if you are being serious or facetious/condesending to the only person to reply to this thread with some actual facts. There's a lot of armchair experts on a.net (and the Internet in general) but when someone comes along with some fairly concrete information, no one seems to really care or notice.

Of course when you are flying in a plane you are not significantly closer to the sun, but you are significantly further in to the areas of the atmosphere where the protective magnetic shield around the planet is not protecting us from as much of the solar and intergalactic radiation as it does on the surface.

Egad, when I posted "closer to the sun" the coffee didn't quite kick in yet. But yes I did imply that you are definitely more vulnerable to radiation from the sun the further you are off the ground, as Jibblets has said. And thank you for your support Jibblet. I think you are completely spot on...here on A.net people love to bring their opinions to the table while refuting/ridiculing those who at least have some facts.

Quoting Reins485 (Reply 13):
My dad, a former AA pilot, used to wear radiation badge while flying ORD-LHR. None of them were ever above the standard amount that people would receive from just walking around on a normal day

Perhaps that means the radiation received at high altitudes in an airliner is not significant. However it's difficult to be conclusive since different variables may be at play. For example where a dosimeter ("radiation badge") is worn can affect the reading. Again I am not supporting the article but neither am I skeptical. Until someone does a legitimate experiment with a control dosimeter over a stretch of time with multiple lengthy polar flights, definite conclusions cannot be drawn. Nevermind that absorbed dose (measured in milligray) may be drastically different from exposure in air (measured in milliroentgens). It is true that the walls of the aircraft will attenuate part of the sun's waves, but keep in mind what aluminum filters do to an x-ray beam in radiographic equipment. It hardens the beam, meaning the less penetrating photons are absorbed but allow the more penetrating rays to pass through without any interference. This is expected with any polyenergetic source. It would be fun to set up an experiment where I can wear a dosimeter for daily on-the-ground activities and one exclusively for long-distance polar air travel, as well as compare absorbed total body dose against air exposure right outside the aircraft. A dosimeter just for the plane so to speak. I'm not sure my work place will be willing to pay the expense for these readings haha  Silly
Hong Kong: truly Asia's world city!
 
Mir
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 5:00 pm

Quoting TristanHNL (Reply 26):
A dosimeter just for the plane so to speak

If I'm not mistaken, Concorde had one of these. They had to descend if it started reading too high.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
tristanhnl
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 5:02 pm

Quoting Warren747sp (Reply 19):
I noticed that i need more time to recover after the PEK-EWR flight on CO which is flown almost entirely in daylight

I am not sure, but I think that has simply more to do with your biological clock being off kilter due to the constant daylight. After all, dimmer lighting entering the eyes at night DO help signal to your brain to make you start feeling sleepy.

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 23):
Granted, that article's even 2 years older than the one listed at the top - but it references probably a dozen different studies, and the fact that flight crews *do* have higher rates of cancer than the general population hasn't suddenly reversed itself in the past 4 years. Studies have been and are being done, and flight crews do get cancer at higher than normal rates.

The exact reason *why* is really the only thing up for debate.

Precisely! What we have are mere correlations. Flight crews may or may not be getting cancer from being higher into the atmosphere. And it's near impossible to determine whether it's solely from the travels. So this comes back to the linear stochastic non-threshold trend. We don't know what exposure, no matter how small it may be, may be the one that messes up a single DNA strand and commence carcinogenesis. Don't change your lifestyle and live in fear, but at the same time don't tempt fate. This is the reason I openly call out doctors who order unnecessary "screening" chest x-rays for hospital employees who exhibit no symptoms whatsoever to warrant the study.
Hong Kong: truly Asia's world city!
 
toptravel
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 5:07 pm

When QF got their B747-SP's I worked the SYD/LAX /SYD route regulary, there was alot of talk then about the amount of exposer especially during 'Sun Spot' activity. The only thing I noticed was the paint work on the SP's looked really dull lot quicker than the other aircraft and I used to feel pretty worn out for a few days after a R/T with 24 hours rest in LAX to say nothing of the 'Dry Prune' affect on my body.
 
tristanhnl
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 5:09 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 27):
If I'm not mistaken, Concorde had one of these. They had to descend if it started reading too high.

Wow I didn't know that. Cool! The next step would be to compare the reading on the aircraft with that worn by passengers. Such an experiment would prove very interesting indeed.
Hong Kong: truly Asia's world city!
 
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zeke
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 6:32 pm

Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
Looks like the Hong Kong to New York route has a cancer risk... this is quite scary for me because I am a constant traveller on this route and I have had over 5 flights a month before...

HKG-JFK/EWR generally is flown at lower latitudes via the north pacific to take advantage of the prevailing westerly winds, it will often crosses the coast of North America around Vancouver.




The flight from JFK/EWR to HKG normally is a polar flight, which of the 4 polar route it takes will depend on the winds for the day.

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_16/images/polar_fig1.jpg

Some days this is also flown at lower latitudes due to stronger headwinds from the polar jet, or sometimes it is flown westbound the whole way.

Cathay have some very good information for the in-flight health of passengers on this topic on their web site http://www.cathaypacific.com/cpa/en_INTL/helpingyoutravel/radiation
We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
 
Elite
Topic Author
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 7:53 pm

Taking another HKG-JFK flight in less than a month :P But good to see that the increase of the risk in cancer is so small that it is insignificant. It does look like the media hype made it look a lot worse than it is.
 
sparkingwave
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 8:34 pm

Quoting Jerald01 (Reply 15):
Of course, if Airbus wants to RE-re-design the A380 they might want to think about including lead panels in the ceiling for those airframes destined to fly over the poles.

This is a joke, right? Are you aware how heavy lead is? With lead panels, the A380 would sacrifice range and/or payload capability.

SparkingWave
Flights to the moon and all major space stations. At Pan Am, the sky is no longer the limit!
 
bimmerkid19
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 9:07 pm

Quoting Geniusjacky (Reply 2):
HKG-JFK is not the only polar flight. HKG-ORD, SIN-EWR, BKK-JFK, etc all flies like that and has been for years.

When i Flew ORD to ICN back in December, the flight was very much a polar route.. we were about 500 nm north of Barrow Alaska at one point and really close to about 84 deg. North at one point of the flight
Last flights: LH 3738 MUC - ZRH , LH 3749 ZRH - MUC . Upcoming: EK 50 MUC - DXB 3-aug. and EK 322 DXB - ICN 7- Aug.
 
kalvado
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 9:40 pm

Quoting Jerald01 (Reply 15):
Does it really make any difference whether or not you are flying a polar route vs an equatorial route? Sure, there is evidence more radiation reaches the earth in the polar regions for a given amount of sunlight exposure at a given angle above the horizon than does at equitorial latitudes, but think about it: Trans-polar flights are not always done in the daytime, no more than trans-equitorial flights are.

magnetic field is taking care of charged high-energy particles from the sun. those particles drift along the field, making landfall near poles, day or night. Auroras are part of that effect - so it does make difference between flying polar vs equator, but not day vs night..
 
airbazar
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 9:55 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 25):
The cancer risk from being on one such flight is probably similar to the cancer risk from being in the same room when someone else smokes one cigarette.

That comparison doesn't bode well given that public smoking has been nearly completely banned in this country and certainly in most flights. So I guess we should ban polar routes too  Smile

Quoting Konstantinkoll (Reply 21):
I think you should translate "8 miles closer to the sun" to "8 miles out of the atmosphere".

It's not the altitude that's of relevance. It's the latitude. The atmosphere if thiner at the poles, thus allowing more radiation to get through. Basically, every time you fly over the pole you reaceive the equivalent of 4 x-rays. Is it bad? Maybe it is maybe it isn't. Lets just hope that 20 years down the road we're not faced with an epidemic of cancer amongst flight crew and road warriors. Personally, if I were traveling on this route more than once a month I'd be concerned.
 
kalvado
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:07 pm

Quoting Airbazar (Reply 36):

It's not the altitude that's of relevance. It's the latitude.

that is correct

Quote:
The atmosphere if thiner at the poles, thus allowing more radiation to get through.

but your reasoning is wrong. Earth magnetic field is the keyword
 
comorin
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:32 pm

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory...57cd44/$FILE/ATTTZXZ6/AC120-52.pdf


All you want to know about the topic. Approx twice the radiation at Polar routes versus Equatorial; also significance at FL400 vs FL300.

Nothing to worry about, however, is the conclusion.
 
georgiaame
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:46 pm

James, you have nothing to worry about, so calm down. This horrible risk is only incurred by actors in Hollywood, (and possibly out of work politicians in America), both of which apparently you are not.

Your life is at much, much greater risk simply by pulling out of your driveway to get to the airport. There are approximately 50,000 traffic deaths in the US annually, and that number does not include either serious or minor injuries. 50,000 deaths is the equivalent of almost 2 World Trade Center attacks each and every month, each and every year. That hasn't lessened our demand for gasoline, has it?

Have a good flight, and let us know about some decent places for dim sum in Hong Kong.
"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
 
N2DCaves
Posts: 32
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Mon May 28, 2007 10:59 pm

So the bottom line is that some people are sweating whether or not they will be glowing upon arrival, but have no problem hopping in their car or hailing a cab where they are more likely to get nailed by another vehicle. It's all about perspective.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
 
BCNGRO
Posts: 576
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 1:21 am

Quoting Elite (Thread starter):
"If you do two and a half polar flights a month you are in the danger zone,"

If you do two and a half polar flights a month you are in the danger zone because the last "half flight" leaves you right at the north pole, where you could easily freeze to death.
At the bus station, buses stop. At the train station, trains stop. At my desk, I have a work station.
 
ContnlEliteCMH
Posts: 1375
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 1:45 am

Quoting Jibblets (Reply 20):
I honestly can't tell if you are being serious or facetious/condesending to the only person to reply to this thread with some actual facts. There's a lot of armchair experts on a.net (and the Internet in general) but when someone comes along with some fairly concrete information, no one seems to really care or notice.

If you can't tell, then you would be right to ask. But you didn't ask; it's clear from your post that you simply assumed. Clearly I noticed and cared, which is why I asked a clarifying question. Thin skin gets you into trouble in the sun and in cyberspace.

Quoting TristanHNL (Reply 26):
Egad, when I posted "closer to the sun" the coffee didn't quite kick in yet. But yes I did imply that you are definitely more vulnerable to radiation from the sun the further you are off the ground, as Jibblets has said. And thank you for your support Jibblet. I think you are completely spot on...here on A.net people love to bring their opinions to the table while refuting/ridiculing those who at least have some facts.

Thanks for the answer. I was neither ridiculing nor mocking when I said, "Good post." It was indeed a good post, and I said, I can tell you studied hard in school. My compliments. I've met a lot of technicians with the requisite education who cannot so eloquently provide a detailed knowledge of their work. The ALARA guideline was, for me, insightful.

Here's why I asked: The reason why you are more susceptible to radiation at 40,000 feet is because of the reduced atmosphere between you and the sun. You clearly know this and have stated as much. I was zeroing in on the "closer to the sun" comment because if you believed this was true, it warranted correction. Eight miles out of 93 million isn't enough to matter, but you clearly know this, too.

Now, that said, since I seem to have alerted some defenses, let's really talk facts. It seems to me that there are only three relevant facts to be had:

(1) What is the quantitative level of radiation exposure on these flights about which the Cathay Pacific flight attendant union is worried?

(2) How do these levels compare to the baseline radiation experienced in normal life?

(3) How do these levels compare to a level of risk established by research and/or guidelines?

Question (1) has not been answered, either in the OP's article or by any subsequent input in this thread. Questions (2) and (3) cannot be answered without the answer to question (1). Thus, no one has actually provided any serious facts in this thread. Sure, we've had valuable details about how to answer questions (2) and (3), but until question (1) is answered, we just don't know if the article is right, do we?
Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
 
warszawa
Posts: 549
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 3:02 am

Please - Hong Kong to New York, Dangerous?  

I stopped believing these stupid comments from 'experts' long ago. -E V E R Y T H I N G - increases your risk of everything in every day of your life.

When I was in high school, and they used heat-lamps in the lunchroom kitchen. Oh god, oh geez, I was exposed to radiation from the heat lamps!  

Everyone in my family wears glasses. When I was 13, I became farsighted in my left eye, but still had 20/20 in my right eye (this is somewhat rare - but was the case with me). Went to the eye doctor. She told me that i'll have to wear glasses or contacts - and if I dont, by the time i'm 20 I will have developed lazy eye in my left eye (since my brain basically ignores that eye for dead-ahead vision). Scary ehh?

Got my prescription glasses and went home. Much to my parents dismay, I never wore the glasses (HATED them - and I wasnt going to waste my time with contacts). I could see perfectly fine, with my 20/20 right eye (My brain defaulted to my 20/20 right eye - so thats what I mainly use/used - keep in mind, i'm not blind in my left eye, just farsighted, can still see fine [peripheral, etc.]. I was asked to wear my glasses several times by my parents - never did.

Its now 7 years later, i'm 20 (almost 21) - and my eyes still retain the exact same vision, slight farsighted in the left, 20/20 in the right. Guess what - NO lazy eye, and nobody can tell if anything is wrong with my eyes just by looking at me (look completely normal if you look at me and my eyes). Additionally, hell no i'm not wearing any glasses or contacts and never will. When I was 17 I actually talked to a doctor on the internet who stated you cant develop lazy-eye when your older than (forget the age, 8 or 10?) as that part of your brain has already developed to use both eyes. Lazy eye is only developed during childhood.

Ka-ching? Stop gawking over these 'experts' and skepticists. I'm sure the level of radiation you receive flying over the north pole is probably no different than the dose you receive at the Dentist office.

Now, does anyone know of a good lawn mowing company, as I need to go hire someone to mow my 2 acre lawn, because the 3 hrs it takes me to do it in broad daylight increases my risk of skin cancer      

[Getting off the computer because the light radiation emitting from my monitor may be mind controlling or cause eye damage]  

[Edited 2007-05-28 20:05:43]
Flying a plane is no diff. from riding a bicycle. Its just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes. -'Airplane'
 
kalvado
Posts: 476
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 3:15 am

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 42):
(1) What is the quantitative level of radiation exposure on these flights about which the Cathay Pacific flight attendant union is worried?

(2) How do these levels compare to the baseline radiation experienced in normal life?

I found 10 mRem per transpolar flight.
It's assumed absolutely safe to accumulate 25-35 Rem per lifetime, and all residential regulations are based on those numbers.
10 Rem single-exposure is considered OK in wartime military (no immediate health problems)
Typical radiation levels are of the order of 10-20 microRem/hour, totaling 10-15 mRem per month
So, 10mRem in 1 flight is about your and mine normal monthly exposure assuming no medical x-rays, no radon in basement, not living in Denver, etc.
 
md80fanatic
Posts: 2365
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 3:19 am

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 35):
magnetic field is taking care of charged high-energy particles from the sun. those particles drift along the field, making landfall near poles, day or night. Auroras are part of that effect - so it does make difference between flying polar vs equator, but not day vs night..

This is precisely correct, and it's the entire reason for these findings. Using the "left-hand" rule for the force on a charged particle travelling through a magnetic field....incoming high-energy particles that are deflected away over the equator by the maximum force of the Earth's magnetic field (since they are travelling nearly 90 degrees to the magnetic field lines), find themselves travelling nearly parallel to the field lines near the poles (cross product v X B approaches zero and hence the force availble for deflection approaches zero as well).

When you fly near the poles....all you have is the relatively thin atmosphere to protect you. This is NOT environmental hype.....but real and thoroughly provable physics.
 
YULWinterSkies
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 3:31 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 4):
Hong Kong to New York, Singapore to Newark, Hong Kong to Chicago, or Bangkok to New York

By loking at the city list, I would rather worry about cancers and diseases linked to smog during layovers...

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 25):
The cancer risk from being on one such flight is probably similar to the cancer risk from being in the same room when someone else smokes one cigarette.

You mean high then? Well, for second-hand smoke, once won't affect you at all while repeated exposure will. So maybe it's not a bad comparison then?
When I doubt... go running!
 
ContnlEliteCMH
Posts: 1375
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RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 3:45 am

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 44):
I found 10 mRem per transpolar flight.
It's assumed absolutely safe to accumulate 25-35 Rem per lifetime, and all residential regulations are based on those numbers.
10 Rem single-exposure is considered OK in wartime military (no immediate health problems)
Typical radiation levels are of the order of 10-20 microRem/hour, totaling 10-15 mRem per month
So, 10mRem in 1 flight is about your and mine normal monthly exposure assuming no medical x-rays, no radon in basement, not living in Denver, etc.

So, assuming absolutely no exposure to additional activies, 25 Rem might be accumulated in 2500 polar flights. How many such flights may the average long-haul flight crew be expected to make per year?

Also, I totaly forgot about the effect of the magnetic field upon radiation mitigation. My thanks to those in this thread who pointed this out.
Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
 
airbazar
Posts: 6798
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:12 pm

RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 3:57 am

Quote: The atmosphere if thiner at the poles, thus allowing more radiation to get through.

Quoting Kalvado (Reply 37):
but your reasoning is wrong. Earth magnetic field is the keyword

Thank you. I suspected that also had something to do with it. But it's still true that the atmosphere is thinner at the poles thus offering less protection from the earth's magnetic fields. No offense to all the people who've done the studies and concluded that it's perfectly safe. It could very well be but I'm happy I don't have to be exposed to it regularly. The thing about radiation is that it may take decades for one to notice the effects, and as mentioned above any radiation is bad radiation:

Quoting TristanHNL (Reply 3):
This is the reason physicists and radiation officers recommend us radiation workers to keep in mind the linear stochastic non-threshold trend of exposure: no exposure is safe and should be minimized whenever possible. ALARA = as low as reasonably achieveable
 
kalvado
Posts: 476
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

RE: Hong Kong To New York - Dangerous?

Tue May 29, 2007 4:01 am

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 47):

So, assuming absolutely no exposure to additional activies, 25 Rem might be accumulated in 2500 polar flights. How many such flights may the average long-haul flight crew be expected to make per year?

I hope professional FAs and pilots can answer better - but still:
from OP: Union is concerned about 2.5 flights a month, that's 30/year
On the other hand, EWR-HKG is 16 hours, and I remember something about 80 hours/month of flight time set for FAs, that would be 5 monthly transpolar legs, twice what union is concerned about.