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03/31/2021 Radiation on airline exposure

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by ndpendant, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. ndpendant

    ndpendant Formula Junior

    Jun 5, 2010
    610
    Chicago- west burbs
    Full Name:
    Paul
    Found this on one of the space weather sites, thought it was interesting. Anyone w info on actual human effects?

    We have developed a new predictive model of aviation radiation. It's called E-RAD--short for Empirical RADiation model. We are constantly flying radiation sensors onboard airplanes over the US and and around the world, so far collecting more than 22,000 gps-tagged radiation measurements. Using this unique dataset, we can predict the dosage on any flight over the USA with an error no worse than 15%.

    E-RAD lets us do something new: Every day we monitor approximately 1400 flights criss-crossing the 10 busiest routes in the continental USA. Typically, this includes more than 80,000 passengers per day. E-RAD calculates the radiation exposure for every single flight.

    The Hot Flights Table is a daily summary of these calculations. It shows the 5 charter flights with the highest dose rates; the 5 commercial flights with the highest dose rates; 5 commercial flights with near-average dose rates; and the 5 commercial flights with the lowest dose rates. Passengers typically experience dose rates that are 20 to 70 times higher than natural radiation at sea level.
    Flight
    Dose Rate

    (x Sea Level)
    Altitude
    (feet)
    Origin
    Destination
    Duration
    Top 5 (or less*) Charter Flights

    FlexJet 435
    61.1
    43000
    West Palm Be
    Teterboro
    02:13:09
    NetJets 154
    59.0
    43000
    Teterboro
    West Palm Be
    02:30:38
    NetJets 591
    57.7
    43000
    White Plains
    West Palm Be
    02:50:43
    NetJets 589
    57.5
    43000
    White Plains
    West Palm Be
    03:12:03
    NetJets 757
    53.4
    40000
    White Plains
    West Palm Be
    02:34:21
    Top 5 Commercial Flights
    United 2757
    60.4
    41000
    Chicago
    Newark
    01:29:33
    Southwest Airlines 1613
    55.9
    40000
    Baltimore
    Chicago
    01:56:07
    Southwest Airlines 2753
    55.8
    40000
    Washington
    Chicago
    01:42:54
    Southwest Airlines 2817
    55.6
    41000
    Atlanta
    New York
    01:32:21
    United 299
    55.2
    40000
    Washington
    Chicago
    01:43:03
    Average 5 Commercial Flights
    United 1613
    40.3
    36000
    Newark
    Fort Lauderd
    02:39:04
    Republic Airline 3643
    40.2
    35000
    Atlanta
    Newark
    01:25:44
    Delta 1533
    40.2
    37000
    Atlanta
    Orlando
    00:59:28
    SkyWest 3450
    40.1
    37000
    San Francisc
    Santa Ana
    01:00:02
    Delta 1621
    40.1
    36100
    New York
    West Palm Be
    02:30:05
    Bottom 5 Commercial Flights
    Delta 1255
    25.6
    28000
    Newark
    Atlanta
    02:05:44
    Southwest Airlines 4259
    24.5
    29000
    Oakland
    Burbank
    00:47:45
    SkyWest 5228
    24.4
    29000
    San Francisc
    Ontario
    01:05:06
    JetSuiteX 171
    22.7
    28000
    Burbank
    Oakland
    01:04:30
    Alaska Airlines 9804
    22.5
    28000
    Los Angeles
    San Francisc
    00:53:38
    To measure radiation on airplanes, we use the same sensors we fly to the stratosphere onboard Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray balloons: neutron bubble chambers and X-ray/gamma-ray Geiger tubes sensitive to energies between 10 keV and 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

    Column definitions: (1) The flight number; (2) The maximum dose rate during the flight, expressed in units of natural radiation at sea level; (3) The maximum altitude of the plane in feet above sea level; (4) Departure city; (5) Arrival city; (6) Duration of the flight.

    SPACE WEATHER BALLOON DATA: Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 18% since 2015:

    Image Unavailable, Please Login

    The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Regener-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

    En route to the stratosphere, our sensors also pass through aviation altitudes:

    Image Unavailable, Please Login

    In this plot, dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x.

    The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

    Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.
     
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  3. kylec

    kylec F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 9, 2005
    3,249
    Orlando
    Cool story
     
  4. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 27, 2004
    14,130
    Georgia
    Full Name:
    Jim Pernikoff
    In the lists of top flights, the correlation with altitude is clearly visible. The flights at or above 40,000 feet are the worst; the ones below 30,000 feet are the best. I only fly commercially, and I've only had a small handful of flights that were above 37,000 feet. Now that I'm retired, I'm driving more and flying less, so I'm not worried!
     
  5. tantumaude

    tantumaude Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 3, 2016
    627
    Burlington, Canada
    Full Name:
    Mat
    My wife used to get pulled from the line regularly when she was doing transpolar routes (more than 4 a month apparently is bad). I wonder how long until we start seeing purpose-added fuselage shielding.
     
  6. Island Time

    Island Time F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 18, 2004
    8,395
    East TN
    Full Name:
    David
    I’ve often wondered if there’s been any studies done that compare retired airline pilots’ health with that of the general public.
     
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