Greetings again from the darkness. Do you know where cabin air comes from on the commercial planes you fly for vacation or business? Most of us don’t. We simply take the airlines’ word that the air is filtered and safe. Or at least we did before the pandemic motivated us to question air quality everywhere. Former British Airways Captain Tristan Loraine has spent most of two decades researching and compiling information on the cabin air he and so many flight crews … and passengers … breathe on a regular basis.
Loraine is not diving into whether COVID is being spread between folks on a flight, but rather his focus is on TCP (Tricresyl Phosphate), a chemical present in the oil used in jet engines. Without proper filtration (HEPA filters are not sufficient) and maintenance, TCP can leak into cabin air and cause varying degrees of health issues. Catastrophic events are rare and typically identified early, but the real concern is the long-term impact of being exposed to slow leakage causing contaminated air.
The comparison to “Big Tobacco” is made here, and it seems to fit as airlines and manufacturers all say there is nothing to worry about. This stance seems to fly in the face of documented cases of varying illnesses reported by crew members over the years … plus the numerous times where passengers and crews were overtaken by odor and toxic fumes that put them in immediate danger. When the toxicologist points out that a defense of “no evidence” showing danger is meaningless when no tests are run or data collected, the real concern kicks in.
Tristan Loraine and co-director Beth Moran (a former USAF Thunderbirds pilot) present testimony, research, and documentation to justify focused attention on the risk of bleeding air from the engines. They contrast this method with that of Boeing’s 787 which utilizes compressors. What’s shocking is that this has been a known, and overlooked issue since the 1950’s, and the hope is that the film can spur some true action for the safety of those why fly. No narrator is utilized in the film, but the information is systematically presented … it’s not meant to be entertaining, but rather informative. And that it is.