Mission Aviation Fellowship

CAA electronic carbon monoxide trial findings

The UK CAA has completed a 12-month trial on the use of electronic carbon monoxide detectors in general aviation (GA) aircraft and has recently published its findings.

The CAA reports that feedback gained from the 12-month trial, combined with a review of CAA mandatory occurrence reporting (MOR) data, suggests the risk of CO exposure remains a persistent background threat throughout the year and is somewhat elevated during cold weather operations.

Anecdotal test evidence supported by results from the 12-month study suggest that electronic CO detectors designed for domestic use can function reasonably at typical recreational GA altitudes (up to 5,000ft). However, the CAA adds that bearing in mind domestic devices are designed for ground use, reliance on specific ppm readings should not be assumed as being 100% accurate.

The CAA says that whilst effective maintenance remains the first line of defence against CO and is the only way to avoid exposure, choosing to fly with an electronic CO detector is a decision pilots can make to protect themselves and their passengers from CO should maintenance fail. With a wide range of CO detectors on the market.

The CAA adds that it has never been easier for pilots to find a device that suits their needs and budget.

Active CO detectors are also increasingly being built into other aviation equipment as standard, including ADS-B devices and headsets, making them more prevalent in GA aircraft. Additionally, some active CO detectors can be paired to personal electronic devices such as smartphones and smartwatches, increasing the likelihood of being alerted to elevated CO levels.

The CAA says that the evidence gathered to date indicates that active CO detectors capable of alerting pilots via aural and/or visible
warnings are a net safety benefit to GA pilots and their passengers.

Whilst the risk of CO poisoning may be known and understood by many GA pilots, the same cannot be said for consumers and third parties generally, who may fly in piston engine aircraft on a commercial or recreational basis.

The CAA therefore advised pilots to consider the significant safety benefits offered by flying with an active CO detector.

Image accredited to the UK Civil Aviation Authority

Author: FTN Editor

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