Tags: Coronavirus | airplanes | dummies | covid | spread | study

United, Boeing Study Coughing Dummies to Track COVID Spread

a person in a yellow hazmat suit disinfects the interior of an airplane
Airport personnel nebulizes the interior of an aircraft as part of a disinfection process for airplane due to the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Ian Langsdon/EPA Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 17 September 2020 06:50 PM

United and Boeing have been flying airliners for the past four months using mannequins with the capacity to simulate coughing in an attempt to study how human breath is spread inside the cabin of an airplane, Bloomberg News reported.

The $1 million study, initiated by the U.S. military concerned about the risk of troops contracting COVID-19 while being transported on airplanes, could be critical for the airline industry, which has seen U.S. demand for flights plummet to a third of 2019 levels because of the novel coronavirus, Bloomberg said.

United’s chief customer officer, Toby Enqvist, told Bloomberg in an email that he’s been encouraged by the early results, but was not specific.

The final report is due in October, but if the study determines the likelihood of a passenger becoming infected by breathing the air on a plane, “it’ll probably drive some policy decisions,” according to Mike McLoughlin, vice president of research for Zeteo Tech, a Maryland-based biodefense and medical device maker which is assisting in the study.

A study conducted by German researchers published in August said there was a “lower than expected risk” of contracting the virus on a plane.

The researchers placed mannequins with human-like heads in various seats on seven models of Boeing and Airbus SE jets then had them “cough,” tracking how aerosolized particles are expelled and spread through the air on the plane, McLoughlin said.

Aerosol particles travel differently depending on the cabin scenario, according to Kansas State University engineering professor Byron Jones, who studies issues such as this but was not involved in the project. He said the atmosphere on an airline can become a “witches’ cauldron” depending on the air flows, particulate size and other factors.

The data was compiled from 30 hours in flight and 24 hours on the ground from May 5 through August. 

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United and Boeing have been flying airliners for the past four months using mannequins with the capacity to simulate coughing in an attempt to study how human breath is spread inside the cabin of an airplane, Bloomberg News reported.....
airplanes, dummies, covid, spread, study
305
2020-50-17
Thursday, 17 September 2020 06:50 PM
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