After defining adequate and reliable air contaminants measurement methods for cockpit and passenger cabin areas, in-flight measurements have been conducted on a number of commercial flights. Lessons learnt and recommendations are issued for future larger scale studies.
In total, 69 measurement flights were performed between July 2015 and June 2016 on 8 types of aeroplane/engine configurations. This included 61 flights on aeroplanes equipped with engine bleed air systems, and 8 flights on Boeing 787 which is equipped with electrical compressors (‘bleed free’ system). For all flights, measurement equipment was installed in the cockpit and in the cabin.
The results show that the cabin/cockpit air quality is similar or better than what is observed in normal indoor environments (offices, schools, kinder gardens or dwellings). No occupational exposure limits and guidelines were exceeded. Special attention was paid to organophosphates, in particular TCP (Tri Cresyl Phosphates) with the use of high sensitivity analysis techniques. Only traces of TCP meta- and para-isomers were sometime detected in all aeroplane types, but no ortho-isomers were detected.