What Happens When You Sneeze Inside Airplane?

Interesting facts
Sneezing Inside Airplane

Have you ever wondered how particles travel throughout the whole cabin inside airplane when you sneeze?

Sitting in an airplane has already so many disadvantages. The space is already very limited, circulation of the air inside is not so great and all of sudden person next to you sneezes. This released hundreds of particles to the air around forming some sort of cloud, which one lingers above everyone’s head. Now you might be thinking: “Am I going to get sick?” Well, nothing is for certain, but ANSYS has the answer. ANSYS is company that specializes in modeling high flying infectious scenarios with precise simulation software. They use fluid dynamics calculates by computer to simulate the pattern of airflow in airplanes in order to help airlines and health officials trace how are flu particles distributes at 11,900 m (39,000 ft).

This video reveals how the person sitting in the middle of a cabin can spread the germs contained in sneeze particles throughout whole airplane.

“The particles are colored to show you where the stuff goes” said to Popular Science aerospace and defense industry director for ANSYS, Robert Harwood. “Those droplets gets picked up by the airflow and get transplanted all over the cabin. They actually spread pretty far.”

Unless you are living under the rock, you must know about Ebola thing. You might also asked yourself, if this is the way that it spreads. No, this is not how Ebola spreads, because Ebola is not airborne pathogen. However, the flu is. It does spread through air, and it is actually much more dangerous, affecting tens of millions people everywhere and causing up to 49.000 deaths, only in America.

Injections against flu doesn’t provide 100 percent protection, there is always need for new ways how they can keep people who get infected every year to minimum. One of the ways to predict, how certain virus can spread, is to use airplane as a model. It is one of the most efficient models of travel for pathogens. Filled with hundreds of people, squashed unable to run away – perfect breeding environment for flu. All what you need is one sick passenger.


In airplanes, the air is nonstop pumped from inlets in the ceiling and recycled out through vents at passengers’ feet, making airflow quite complicated to recreate. “Every two minutes, there is a whole new air in the aircraft,” Harwood said.

With all the variations in aircraft, the scientists simulate hundreds of scenarios, how germs and other contaminates can spread. ANSYS’s software also helps airlines to improve their environments inside planes.

Airplane seats as a ticket to infection

Airplane seats as a ticket to infection

“The more system you put inside airplane, the more weight you have and the more money it costs,” Harwood says. “Every company wants cheapest flight but they also want their passengers to be healthy. This is exactly why our technology is useful – they see how they can improve performance without sacrificing cost.”

You might want to check out our article about windowless planes with the view, I am pretty sure, everyone would love to experience.

Source: Popular Science

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Michaela Miklusak

Michaela Miklusak is deputy editor of TechandFacts.com and big technology enthusiast. Michaela now lives in Singapore, where she studies System Engineering and Informatics. michaelam@techandfacts.com

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