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Air in the plane. Popular myths and their debunking

Oct 12, 2020

Have you ever wondered what kind of air we breathe during flight? There’s already been quite a lot of myth and legend on this subject. Let’s find out what’s true and what’s fiction?

Myth one: There’s no fresh air in the plane

As amazing as it sounds to you, there’s fresh air on the plane! Of course, it’s not 100% fresh air coming from outside. It’s a mixture of clean air and a mixture of recycled cabin air. Approximate proportions 50% to 50%.

Myth Two: Because of the enclosed space, airplane air is the ideal environment for bacteria breeding

Let us assure you that all modern ships are equipped with special filters in the air-conditioning system, which help to purify the air up to 99.9% from various particles, including viruses and bacteria! It is safe to say that the air in the cockpit is practically sterile. The question is probably how often these filters are changed and whether they require replacement. HEPA – filters must be replaced. This is a necessary part of aircraft maintenance. These regulations are binding like any other kind of technical work.

Myth Three: We breathe the same air that just circulates in the cockpit 

Again, a myth that has no basis in evidence. The air in the cabin is renewed every 3-4 minutes – this is how the air-conditioning system works. Every three to four minutes, some of the air used is removed from the aircraft, some are re-cleaned and recycled into the air-conditioning system, after which it is again mixed with fresh air and fed into the cabin. For comparison, sitting in a locked office space is far more dangerous than sitting on a plane.

Myth Four: Air in a cabin is dry

Unfortunately, it’s not a myth . And alas, it’s not a myth. The air in the plane is really very dry. Therefore the air coming from outside is diluted and contains less moisture. Then more is drained when delivered to the cabin. This is done to ensure that the air-conditioning pipes do not grind the ice that can lead to the closure. As a result, some passengers are constantly thirsty during flight, and complain of dry eyes and throat.