Geoff Brundrett

Highlights from Internal Aircraft Environments, February 11th 2004 at BRE


Here are a few notes made by Geoff Brundrett, expert in indoor environmental health, covering some key points from the afternoon's seminar....

  • BRE have a unique plane facility for cabin environmental work and have ingeniously designed a mannikin for recording conditions in planes in flight.
  • Airlines and manufactuers have co-operated to sponsor BRE to investigate the environmental conditions in flight. The project is called CabinAir.  After many tests on real planes BRE can confirm that the air quality is to the CAA standards. The UK also cooperates with the ASHRAE SP 161 P Committee working closely with the USA Regulator for plane environment, the Federal Aviation Administration
  • The worst conditions for cabin air occur on the ground when the plane is in a queue waiting for its take off slot. The ventilation air for planes is supplied by the engines. The engine exhaust gases from the plane ahead of it are entrained into the cabin air, rather as cars do in cities.
  • The new planes have recirculation cabin ventilation to minimise the energy use. The filter manufacturers are helping plane manufacturers to specify and introduce very fine filtration (HEPA).
  • The medical investigations are now becoming clearer about the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Most passengers do not experience it. However a small number of passengers is susceptible. The risk is increased by immobility over time, especially on long haul flights. Tight seat pitch and narrow seats increase immobility, particularly for those who are obese.
  • The new planes also fly higher and so the cabin altitude is higher too. Experiences from skiers suggest that there are big differences between individuals in their response to high altitude. A significant minority can suffer after several hours at altitude.

Geoff <> may be contacted on if you wish to discuss any of these points.

The meeting was organised CIBSE ASHRAE Group in collaboration with IMechE Construction and Building Services Division and supported by BRE, ASHRAE and South Bank University .

Group Chairman, Tim Dwyer can be contacted at

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