Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date




The aircraft cabin environment is unique due to the proximity of the passengers, the need for cabin pressurization, and the low humidity. All of these aspects are complicated by the fact that the aircraft is a semi-enclosed structure. There is an increased desire to monitor the aircraft cabin environment with various sensors for comfort and safety. However, the aircraft cabin environment is composed of a large number of factors. Some of these factors can include air quality, temperature, level of pressurization, and motion of the aircraft. Therefore, many types of sensors must be used to monitor aircraft environments. A variety of technology options are often available for each sensor. Consequently, a fair number of tradeoffs need to be carefully considered when designing a sensor monitoring system for the aircraft cabin environment. For instance, a system designer may need to decide if the increased accuracy of a sensor using a particular technology is worth the increased power consumption over a similar sensor employing a more efficient, less accurate technology. In order to achieve a good solution, a designer needs to understand the tradeoffs and general operation for all of the different sensor technologies that could be used in the design. The purpose of this paper is to provide a survey of the current sensor technology. The primary focus of this paper is on sensors and technologies that cover the most common aspects of aircraft cabin environment monitoring. The first half of this paper details the basic operation of different sensor technologies. The second half covers the individual environmental conditions which need to be sensed. This will include the benefits, limitations, and applications of the different technologies available for each particular type of sensor.

Copyright Statement

This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at 41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, published by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.2514/6.2011-5090.