5.5 Exploratory Research on Defining Ionizing Radiation Effects on Flight Crews (Invited Presentation)

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 9:30 AM
205A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Sonia Alvidrez, FAA, Atlantic City, NJ

Technological advancements have improved aircraft capabilities to fly at higher altitudes, longer distances, and through colder polar routes. However, as convenient and easy air travel may seem, there may be resulting consequences affecting both flight crew and passengers that have to be considered. One of these factors is the elevated ionizing radiation environment at flight altitudes resulting from both background radiation (from galactic cosmic rays) and radiation driven by space weather (or more specifically, solar radiation storms, on rare occasion). In order to determine if flight crew and passenger exposure is at acceptable levels of ionizing radiation, airlines must take precautions and assess the potential radiation exposure. In order for airlines to fully understand the affects, it is necessary to have a comprehensive understanding of ionizing radiation’s potential impacts. For example, are there short-term and/or long-term health effects from ionization radiation exposure?

In order to address these questions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Weather Division (AWD) is supporting exploratory research to identify the potential effects ionizing radiation may have on flight crew and passengers. This effort is intended to create the baseline foundation to determine if products/capabilities exist to meet airline operational needs or if further research or development is needed to create products/capabilities to meet those needs. In the event existing products are not available, the effort will define new requirements to drive research efforts in this domain. This presentation will provide the results from the exploratory research effort and highlight future tasks.

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