Radiation exposure of German aircraft crews under the impact of solar cycle 23 and airline business factors.Health Phys. 2014 Dec; 107(6):542-54.HP
The exposure of German aircraft crews to cosmic radiation varies both with solar activity and operational factors of airline business. Data come from the German central dose registry and cover monthly exposures of up to 37,000 German aircraft crewmembers that were under official monitoring. During the years 2004 to 2009 of solar cycle 23 (i.e., in the decreasing phase of solar activity), the annual doses of German aircraft crews increased by an average of 20%. Decreasing solar activity allows more galactic radiation to reach the atmosphere, increasing high-altitude doses. The rise results mainly from the less effective protection from the solar wind but also from airline business factors. Both cockpit and cabin personnel differ in age-dependent professional and social status. This status determines substantially the annual effective dose: younger cabin personnel and the elder pilots generally receive higher annual doses than their counterparts. They also receive larger increases in their annual dose when the solar activity decreases. The doses under this combined influence of solar activity and airline business factors result in a maximum of exposure for German aircrews for this solar cycle. With the increasing solar activity of the current solar cycle 24, the doses are expected to decrease again.