Pests like rats, cockroaches, bedbugs are ubiquitous. They are encountered in almost every sector of life such as telecommunication, automobile, railways, aviation and so on. Likewise pest infestation is unfortunately a common problem on planes around the world. Air journeys make it easier for the pests to travel to countries and continents where there may not have any natural predators. Also there is a high possibility of disseminating new diseases to the various countries they travel.
Rodents tend to board an aircraft through open doors and access panels, when it is parked for a relatively long period of time either in the hangar or on the apron, especially during the night when human activity is reduced. Also, they have been observed entering the aircraft during loading of catering trolleys and cargoes.
Rodents usually cause damage by gnawing on the wiring and cables of the airplanes. Rodents are blessed with two pairs of continuously growing incisors. Inorder to keep these incisors sharp and to avoid their overgrowth, these notorious mammals continuously gnaw on something hard, like wires and cables.
For safe flight, there are various navigation sensors and aircraft flight control systems fitted in an aircraft. The advent of “fly by wire” and electro-actuated flight surfaces (rather than the traditional hydraulics) has massively increased safety. To supplement air traffic control many aircrafts use TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System). To help avoid collisions with terrains, the aircrafts use systems like GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) often combined with a Radar altimeter. To assist aircraft flying at night or in instrument meteorological conditions, weather radars and lightening detectors are used. One can just imagine the catastrophic situation in case of loss of control due to failing of one of these systems. Hundreds of lives are at stake. Reason? It is the gnawing of rodents on the communication, navigation cables and wires thus paralyzing the airplane.
Let us have a look at a few recent incidences where many flights have been diverted due to rats on board!
- Rat on flight, AI Dreamliner grounded
April 4, 2016, TOI, India
One of Air India’s Dreamliners has an unwelcome tenant. Spotted off and on, the rat has disrupted flights at least thrice this month. The aircraft (VT-ANV) took off from Melbourne as AI309 just before 6am (India time). After flying for about six hours, the rodent was sighted and the aircraft diverted to Singapore where it landed after 1pm. “Rats on board can lead to a catastrophe if they start chewing up electric wires. If that happens, pilots will have no control on any system, leading to a disaster,” a senior commander said. The aircraft, worth Rs 1,500 crore (at current prices), has been fumigated repeatedly and rat traps have been laid but there is no shooing away the rodent.
- Rats on a plane! Packed passenger jet bound for London forced to make mid-air diversion after rodent spotted in the cabin
December 30, 2015, Mail Online
A plane carrying 240 passengers en route to London from India was forced to return to Mumbai when a rat was spotted in the cabin.
Air India flight 131 was flying over Tehran in Iran, heading to Heathrow, earlier this morning when the passengers raised the alarm. The pilot took the decision to turn the plane around to land back in Mumbai.
Insects like cockroaches, bedbugs are also included in the list of unwelcome on-board passengers. Cockroach infestation is very commonly observed on aircrafts. Infestations of cockroaches can be transferred from aircraft galley to food carts and vice versa. This increases the risk of spread of pathogens such as food poisoning organisms. Bedbugs, on the other hand are commonly found in the carpets of the airplane. Bedbugs often are a reason behind spreading skin diseases. Thus presence of bedbugs is highly undesirable.
So is there any solution for this pest menace?? Do tedious processes like fumigation and use of rat traps really help? The reality is that these conventional methods are proving to be ineffective in managing the pests. So the question is what can be done to discourage these notorious pests from causing further on-board damages.
We at C Tech Corporation have come up with a solution for this problem. Our product Combirepel™ is an extremely low toxic, non-hazardous rodent and insect aversive. This product acts through a series of highly developed intricate mechanism ensuring that rodents and insects are kept away from the target application. The product is compliant with RoHS, RoHS2, and REACH and is FIFRA exempted. We do not aim at disturbing the ecosystem designed by nature. Our non hazardous eco-friendly products do not kill the target species but only repel them.
The products are available in the form of solid masterbatches which can be incorporated as a polymer additive in the sheathing of wires and cables used in various sensitive equipments in an airplane to make it rodent and insect resistant. Also the food lockers and other vulnerable areas to damage can be coated with our lacquer based solutions. Our products have a long shelf life. Thus Combirepel™ is definitely an effective solution for controlling and managing the problems and threat posed by pests in airplanes.