Safety Alerts SA-070 and SA-069 warn mechanics and pilots that the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is generally overlooked and underestimated – a dangerous prospect given that many internal combustion engine airplanes are heated by air warmed by exhaust systems using a heater shroud. A defect or leak in the exhaust pipes or muffler can introduce the colorless, odorless and tasteless gas into the cockpit – with sometimes fatal results.
The NTSB encourages aircraft mechanics to inspect exhaust systems, air ducting, firewalls, and door and window seals thoroughly at every 100-hour or annual inspection. The agency encourages pilots to install a carbon monoxide detector on the instrument panel of their aircraft, noting that detectors with aural alerts and a flash notification are more likely to draw a pilot’s attention to the potentially lethal condition.
Safety Alerts SA-070 and SA-069 are available online at https://go.usa.gov/xRuXK and https://go.usa.gov/xRuXW. The NTSB also produced companion videos for the alerts, available on the NTSB’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/qZuJbuSZG-w and https://youtu.be/i2q7TISBFbc.