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> How is cosmic radiation calculated by the GlobaLog system?

How is cosmic radiation calculated by the GlobaLog system?

GlobaLog® uses three basic levels of accuracy dependent on which data the air operators are able to supply us with:
  1. Calculations based on GPS data (time, altitude and position). - These calculations can be considered 100% accurate based on the scientific knowledge of the time for the calculations
  2. Calculations based on information on altitude and position for each segment of the flight. - These calculations can be considered better than 98% accurate (often close to 100%) based on the scientific knowledge of the time for the calculations
  3. Calculations based on the great circle track between the departure airport and the destination airport at optimum cruising levels reached via the established step climb procedure. - These calculations can be considered better than 95% accurate (often better than 97%) based on the scientific knowledge of the time for the calculations

For all three accuracy levels the radiation is calculated minute-by-minute with the radiation strength measured in exactly this minute, with the reported/calculated position and altitude for the aircraft.

As published in the annual report from the Radiation Protection Institute, to which employers to radiation workers (including the airlines) report the annual doses of the employees, personnel working with radiating material or apparatus are exposed to 0.99 mSv per year (for the highest exposed group), while air crew members are exposed to an average of 3.03 mSv (measured by the above mentioned average methods), but can - without any further measures - be exposed to 6 mSv.

It ought to be mentioned that in accordance with the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) radiation workers can be exposed to up to 20 mSv per year. But if the dose exceeds 6 mSv certain precautions with regard to health should be taken, and the documentation should be filed for at least 30 years or until the person in question reaches or would have reached the age of 75 years (whatever is longer). - In some European countries the limit of 6 mSv is fixed and must not be exceeded. In at least one country the limit of six is only valid if it is measured with an accuracy corresponding to that of GlobaLog®, otherwise it is 4 mSv. In the USA the case is a little different.

The NCRP (National Council of Protection and Measurements) has a limit of 50 mSv per year with regard to occupational exposure. However, 20 mSv/year or 50 mSv/year - a flight crew member would never come close to either. Both the ICRP and the NCRP set the limit for the general public to 1 (one) mSv per year. So why are the limits set 20 - 50 times higher for radiation workers? The answer is that the NCRP, ICRP, and other regulatory agencies assume that occupationally exposed people have chosen to accept the risks of their radiation exposure in exchange for the benefits of employment.

The balance of risks and benefits is intended to be fair or even advantageous to the worker. But in order - for the workers themselves - to evaluate the benefits towards the risks, they must have been informed about the risks, and they must know their exposure. Otherwise a legal problem could arise between a worker hit by radiation related cancer and his employer. It is consequently one of the requirements in the EU Directive that the air carriers are "to inform the workers concerned of the health risks their work involves".

This is a task that GlobaLog® with great success has performed for its customers at several occasions. It is also a task that has to be performed with great delicacy in order to provide the proper knowledge without frightening the employees.

Today most crew members have heard about cosmic radiation and the related health risks. And there is no doubt, that the health risks are not underestimated, when crew members meet and talk. This is another reason to provide proper information to the crew members. Not doing this may become expensive. In Europe several airlines that have not given proper information, experience pilots flying lower than optimal in order to avoid radiation. - And providing a radiation account where the radiation dose can be checked continuously after each flying day will promote the safe feeling of each individual crew member. For each dollar spent on GlobaLog® hundreds of dollars may be saved on fuel.

It will always be a question of how far an employer must go to fulfill his responsibility to protect his employees against occupational damages. One thing that without doubt must be fulfilled is the commitment to inform the employees about the risks of their job in order to let them make an informed decision about their continued employment in the job. Another important thing is that the employer does all in his power to minimize the risk. In this case what could be done better than adopting the strictest rules on Earth (the European) and managing these rules with the most accurate tool there is GlobaLog®.

The fact that GlobaLog® is priced reasonably and makes the whole process easy and independent of airline staff resources, only adds to the value of GlobaLog®. And being able to follow the accumulation day by day makes it very difficult for a crew member to blame the airline of not taking care, especially if the account is kept within the limits of the strict European rules.

The rare case of any crewmember exceeding 6 mSv (and the real limit in most of Europe and in the USA being 20 and 50 mSv, respectively) there may still be the possibility of letting them continue flying, especially if the crew members in question sign a statement saying that they have received the proper information about the health risks involved with their occupation and that … etc. - pending legal practice in the state in question.

Once implemented GlobaLog® runs fully automatically without interference from airline personnel. From the files of the flight operations department the necessary data are exported to GlobaLog as soon as the system "sees" an On-Block Time (i.e. a concluded flight). The radiation for the flight is calculated and is distributed to each of the crew members on the crew list for the flight (active crew members as well as passive crew members and "deadheads"). - Immediately after the individual crew member can access his/her logbook by employing his/her user name and password.

For each flight the logbook will contain information about:

The Radiation dose for this flight 
The accumulated radiation dose 
The accumulated radiation dose for the calendar year 
The accumulated radiation dose for the last 365 days 
The accumulated radiation dose since the crew member declared herself 

The pilots' logbook contains the specification of flight time (as required by FAA, JAA, and other CAAs), including an accurate calculation of night flying time together with the above specified doses of radiation. For Cabin attendants and passengers (passive transfers and "deadheads") GlobaLog has developed a simplified logbook with only the data necessary to relate a specific radiation dose to a specific flight.

In addition to the individual logbooks an administrator logbook is available. This logbook provides a summary for all crew members to the benefit for the airline administration. From this logbook the administration can enter any crew member logbook for the closer analysis of any value. In coordination with the airline (and the crew organizations) the administrator's logbook may be made available to the Aviation and Radiation authorities of the country.

GlobaLog® has a useful cooperation with FAA's CAMI (Civil Aerospace Medical Institute), to which we make available the monthly average data, which we - as indicated above - do not find very valuable. The reason that CAMI is interested in our data is due to the fact that - while they get their data from only one neutron monitor - we get our data from a total of five stations positioned at five different positions on the Earth. This enables us to verify our data against each other, and it provides us with a continuous and secure data flow. This accuracy and continuity is of the utmost importance for GlobaLog® as we operate with minute-by-minute radiation data for the purpose of crediting the crew members with the actual radiation doses during the hours and minutes they were flying.

The GlobaLog® formula was first approved by the Danish Space Research Institute. Now GlobaLog® has been approved in several European countries as "suitable computer program" for the calculation of cosmic radiation exposure to flight crews. At the moment GlobaLog is setting the standard in Europe and beyond. - Global Aviation Data A/S was funded among others by the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation. During the development of the concept, GlobaLog® was domiciled at the Danish National Laboratory in Risoe, where most of the radiation knowledge in Denmark is concentrated.  Back to all F.A.Q.