The Silent Killer: How To Prevent CO Poisoning in Your Airplane

The Silent Killer: How To Prevent CO Poisoning in Your Airplane

The Silent Killer: How To Prevent CO Poisoning in Your Airplane

You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it, but it’s a dangerous killer that can easily find its way inside your airplane. Known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) can have deadly consequences if not detected early enough. Although CO poisoning can wreak havoc on a cockpit anytime of the year, it’s during the winter season that it most often rears its ugly head. That’s because most small airplanes use exhaust systems for cabin heat and windshield defrosting, the perfect conduit for CO gases created during engine combustion to sneak in.
Pilots can learn more about CO in Barry Ballenger’s article “Plane Poison: The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide,” in the November/December 2009 issue of FAA Aviation News. Ballenger urges pilots to take extra time to inspect the airplane’s heating and defrost system during preflight. “Look for signs of deterioration, such as cracked or distorted components, torn flexible ducting, or loose or missing hardware,” adds Ballenger. “Taking a few extra minutes to preflight exhaust system components may save your life.”

Dan Weiler
Executive Director of the Cessna Owner Organization
(715) 445-5000, ext. 116
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Daniel
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