I’ve been hearing about fume events where engine oil containing tricresyl phosphate as an additive can leak onto the HVAC packs and enter cabin air. These organophosphate are incredibly toxic and are used in nerve gases. There are even cases where pilots have died such as here (AVHerald) and here (BBC).

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for bringing this issue up, however, please consider to ask not for an opinion but for hard facts. Then this question will fit better with the preferred way of asking questions here. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2018 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ Wow. Is a situation with the pilots flying the next few days common or recklessness on the airlines' part ? Noone could guess they might still have medical issues ? (like internal bleeding as it turned out) $\endgroup$
    – Jeffrey
    Apr 5, 2018 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ You may ask only one more specific question: hoxw common are those event? what kind fume event exists? what are the risks associated?... $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Apr 13, 2018 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


The AVHerald article you linked to pretty much as the answer to your question:

  • How common are they?
    Nearly 2,000 events a year in the US alone.

[According] to the Kansas State University Research there have been 5.3 fume events per 24,000 daily flights in the USA or 1955 fume events a year. However, only 6 fume events per year get reported to the FAA.

  • How dangerous are they?
    In extreme cases, they can lead to death, but even mild cases diminish flight crew capabilities.
  • $\begingroup$ I’d say I agree with this but I’ll wait for a few other answers to mark one. Mainly wanted to post to see what other people think but as you said that’s not appropriate. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2018 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ In the comments several people report smelling fumes after a compressor wash. So there seem to be two sources for "dirty socks" smell: Oil heated above 700°F and solvents remaining after a compressor wash. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2018 at 5:24
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    $\begingroup$ On AV Herald, there is almost a fume event every day, and indications are many don't get reported. Some aircraft seem more susceptible to fume events, e.g the BAe146. See theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/19/…. The article also mentions the Aerotoxic Association: aerotoxic.org. Maybe a good reason to fly on the 787, which is the only aircraft not to use engine bleed for the cabin. telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/6839234/… $\endgroup$
    – Penguin
    Apr 5, 2018 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, every day, that’s quite often. I have heard that about the bae146. Now if only I could get Jet Blue to fly the Dreamliner from Boston to Sourh Florida. $\endgroup$ Apr 5, 2018 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ On AvHerald I'm sure fume events are the most common thing reported. A quick search for "fume" returned 14 so far this year. Nine of them are categorized as accidents, meaning someone, passenger or crew, was hospitalized. It's a big problem and it really doesn't get enough attention imho. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Apr 5, 2018 at 17:49

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