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Ear pain while flight landing/takeoff

  1. Aug 9, 2012 #1
    Why do we get ear pain while flight landing or take off? The common answer I get is due to the pressure change. Are we saying we have not yet developed a technology to quickly adjust the pressure?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2012 #2

    russ_watters

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    It isn't a matter of technology, it is a matter of cost. Holding the pressure constant requires a stronger, heavier and more expensive cabin.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2012 #3

    dlgoff

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    Well, one could have a relief valve surgically installed. :devil:
     
  5. Aug 9, 2012 #4
    Some airplanes are much better than others in this respect. I can feel no ear pain in B777's and i feel terrible in A320's.
     
  6. Aug 9, 2012 #5

    Mech_Engineer

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    The planes are only pressurized to about 10.1 psia (equivalent 10,000ft asl) while cruising. This means there has to be a drop in pressure from where you take off, but between 10,000ft altitude and cruising altitude pressure is controlled. Ever notice you ears don't really pop once you've passed 10,000 ft?
     
  7. Aug 10, 2012 #6
    I do not think it is due to the lack of strength and weight of the cabin. When the flight is in the high altitude, there is no problem in the pressure. If it has to do with the strength of the cabin, the issue should be seen all the time.

    My educated guess is that the pressure control systems are unable to act as real time as needed, which is also surprising.
     
  8. Aug 10, 2012 #7

    Evo

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    Not everyone is affected by the pressure changes, and many only if they are suffering from a cold or similar sinus problems, I used to fly frequently and the only time I had a problem was the one time I flew with a cold.

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001064.htm
     
  9. Aug 10, 2012 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Boeing's new 787 is designed to maintain higher cabin pressures and higher humidity than traditional aircraft.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_787_Dreamliner
     
  10. Aug 10, 2012 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    The number of pressure cycles plays a significant role in the life of an aircraft due to metal fatigue. Less pressure means less fatigue and more pressure cycles are possible. This problem apparently goes away to some extent by using a carbon-fiber body.
     
  11. Aug 10, 2012 #10
    Actually it was the series of disasters with the Comets that revealed the cabin pressure - metal fatique problem.
     
  12. Aug 10, 2012 #11

    russ_watters

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    Though it was already explained somewhat, you're not understanding what is happening. Let me expand:

    The fact that the cabin pressure is maintained at 10 psi while at high altitude means that when the plane takes off, the cabin pressure is allowed to "float" from sea level pressure down to 10psi. Then once it reaches 10psi naturally, cabin pressurization control kicks-in to keep the cabin pressure constant for the rest of the trip (until it descends again). The cabin pressure was purposely chosen to be less than atmospheric pressure.

    Tight/accurate pressure control is not the issues. If it were, this issue wouldn't just be seen during takeoff and landing, but would be seen all the time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
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