AAR aims to trial AirManager cabin air system this year

Washington DC
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US aerospace firm AAR hopes to begin a trial with a US airline in the latter half of 2010 of the AirManager cabin air sterilization system developed by UK firm Quest.

AAR and Quest on 25 January announced a wide-ranging partnership entailing AAR building and distributing the AirManager product, servicing the units and supplying engineering support for the development of supplemental type certificates (STC) required by the US FAA to install and operate the system.

AirManager uses a two-stage system to sterilise the cabin air. First air passes through an electrical "close coupled field" that eliminates smells and breaks down and destroys airborne pathogens. The second stage entails the treated air passing through high air flow filter (HAF) that traps particles that pick up an electrical charge as they pass through the air treatment unit.

AAR director of business development Rande Cruze says there is quite a bit of interest from airline engineering groups in environmental control and the capabilities to of AirManager to destroy mold and contaminants that spread viruses like H1N1.

Carriers are also interested in a potential fuel burn savings achieved through the use of AirManager. The system operates at a lower pressure compared to existing filters, and less bleed air from the engines is needed to recirculate the sterilised air.

Cruze says the exact fuel savings for the Boeing 737 and 757 models won't be clear until the company starts active testing with an operator. AAR should secure the Next Generation 737 STC in mid-to-late April, he adds.

The AirManager has a reasonable install cost of under $100,000 per aircraft, says Cruze.

Quest, meanwhile, is continuing to look for companies to develop STCs for Airbus A330s/340s and Boeing 777s and 767s, says company founder David Hallam. Discussions are underway with Cranfield Aviation and Marshall Aerospace.

The company also aims to develop STCs for Airbus narrowbodies and "move sideways to the [Boeing] 717", says Hallam.

In addition STC preparations are underway for Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, he says, and Quest has also examined offering AirManager on the Gulfstream 550.