ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2018: Air Quality Within Commercial Aircraft

ANSI/ASHRAE 161 2018 Aircraft Air Quality
Airbus A380

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2018: Air Quality within Commercial Aircraft helps to assure safe and comfortable air quality within commercial passenger air-carrier aircraft.

On a single day in the US, about 3 million people fly. The adoption of commercial airplanes only extends back a century, but they have been vastly implemented into modern life, journeying occupants from a wide cross section of the general population.

By propelling an object into the sky for hours at a time, there are a lot of factors to consider with commercial aircraft. While ostensibly not as crucial as the plane’s structure, the indoor environment aboard the cabin of commercial aircraft faces a deluge of complexities.

In general, the aircraft environment is certainly different from other occupied spaces. The obvious reason for this is that—unlike other indoor environments—occupants cannot remove themselves from the environment. Furthermore, the pressure and relative humidity are lower than that found in other environments.

Occupant density is also particularly high. This pairs uniquely with the fact that occupant activity levels fall on opposite sides of the spectrum, with passengers being completely sedentary and flight attendants remaining very active. Also connected to this is that the aircraft must be considered both a public place and a workplace.

Outside air intended for ventilation in aircraft is first compressed and heated in the aircraft engines or electrically driven compressor. This potentially allows engine-sourced compounds to contaminate the cabin air. For combatting this issue, and considering all the above factors, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2018 lays out guidelines for air quality in air-carrier aircraft. It also specifies measurement and testing methods to comply with these guidelines.

ANSI/ASHRAE 161 2018 Aircraft Air Quality

This American National Standard applies specifically to commercial passenger air-carrier aircraft carrying 20 or more passengers and certified under Title 14 CFR Part 25.

In looking at the factors affecting air quality, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2018 addresses guidance for temperature, moisture, pressure, and ventilation. It also greatly takes into account contaminants, including deicing fluid, exhaust fumes, fuel, ozone, bacteria, and pesticides.

When used in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2018, the term “commercial aircraft” refers to aircraft engaged in common carriage as defined in the Airworthiness Inspector’s Handbook, Order 8300.10, Volume 2, Chapter 60, Section 5.

Revising the 2013 edition of the same standard by using ASHRAE’s continuous maintenance procedures, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2018 possesses some substantial changes. These resulted from incorporating the four addenda to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2013 and include:

  • The document includes a new Section 10 with a standardized reporting form to assist maintenance workings in their troubleshooting process.
  • The standard now provides additional guidance for maintenance protocols for checking and adding oil to auxiliary power units (APUs).
  • There is now a greater emphasis on nonchemical methods of insect control on aircraft in Section 8.10, “Disinfection Methods to Comply with Relevant Quarantine Regulations.” This section was formerly titled “Pesticides.”

ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 161-2018: Air Quality within Commercial Aircraft is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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