Cabin cruising altitudes for regular transport aircraft

John Affleck, Arnold Angelici, Susan Baker, Ted Brook, Mary Cimrmancic, Robert Cocks, Chuck Dejohn, L. Dan Eldredge, James Elliott, Tony Evans, Edmond Feeks, Karen Fox, Jim Fraser, Pedita Hall, Karen Heupel, Yuki Kakimoto, Jeffrey Kyff, Matt Lewis, Guohua Li, Tom LunaGraeme Maclarn, Roy Marsh, Joe McKeon, Eduardo Mera, Verba Moore, Mike Muhm, Brian Musselman, Donna Murdoch, Greg Ostrander, Glenn Pascoe, Eduard Ricaurte, Diane Ritter, Robert Ryan, Farhad Sahiar, Bill Salazar, Tarek Sardana, Dennis Shanahan, Joseph Sky, Tracy Smart, Jan Stepane, Nathan Villaire, Nicholas Webster, Deborah White, Alex Wolbrink, Andy Woodrow, Rawson Wood, A. J. Wurmstein, Shawn Zarr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The adverse physiological effects of flight, caused by ascent to altitude and its associated reduction in barometric pressure, have been known since the first manned balloon flights in the 19th century. It soon became apparent that the way to protect the occupant of an aircraft from the effects of ascent to altitude was to enclose either the individual, or the cabin, in a sealed or pressurized environment. Of primary concern in commercial airline transport operations is the selection of a suitable cabin pressurization schedule that assures adequate oxygen partial pressures for all intended occupants. For the past several decades, 8000 ft has been accepted as the maximum operational cabin pressure altitude in the airline industry. More recent research findings on the physiological and psycho-physiological effects of mild hypoxia have provided cause for renewed discussion of the " acceptability" of a maximum cabin cruise altitude of 8000 ft; however, we did not find sufficient scientific data to recommend a change in the cabin altitude of transport category aircraft. The Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) should support further research to evaluate the safety, performance and comfort of occupants at altitudes between 5000 and 10,000 ft.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Aviation medicine
  • Aviation safety
  • Cabin pressurization
  • Hypoxia
  • Physiology
  • Pilot performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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