Engine Exhaust and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Engine Exhaust and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The FAA recommends that you do the following:
Aviation Safety
CE-10-19 R1
March 17, 2010
SUBJ: Engine Exhaust and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
This is information only. Recommendations aren’t mandatory.
This Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) advises the owners and operators of general
aviation (GA) aircraft of an airworthiness concern, specifically the need to inspect properly and
maintain the exhaust system to prevent carbon monoxide leakage into the cabin and to install a
commercially available carbon monoxide detector in the cabin. This revision adds the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Center library website and revises the recommendation
At this time, this airworthiness concern is not considered an unsafe condition that would warrant an
airworthiness directive action under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), part 39.
This SAIB is in response to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation of an
accident on December 17, 2000, where a Beech Model BE-23 aircraft impacted terrain killing the
commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane. The NTSB determined the probable cause
of the accident was in part “the pilot’s incapacitation due to carbon monoxide (CO) and a fractured
The FAA tasked Wichita State University to conduct research that focuses on carbon monoxide
safety issues as they apply to general aviation products. A technical report titled “Detection and
prevention of carbon monoxide exposure in General Aviation Aircraft, Document No.
DOT/FAA/AR-09/49, dated October 2009” was published, and is available from the National
Technical Information Services using the contact information noted below, and is also available
electronically at http://www.tc.faa.gov/its/worldpac/techrpt/ar0949.pdf. The report shows that 43
commercially available CO detectors, sampled from each of the five sensor technology types
(biometric, electrochemical, spot, infrared, and semiconductor) were surveyed to determine the most
appropriate sensor technology. The electrochemical sensor-based CO detectors were found to be
most suitable for use in the GA environment. Limited field testing using portable electrochemical
CO detectors was conducted in two GA aircraft models to determine the best location for a CO
detector. Based on the analyses of collected CO data, the instrument panel appeared to be the best
location for the placement of CO detectors. The report notes that, to increase the probability of being
able to detect at least 50 parts per million (PPM) anywhere in the cabin, the CO detector should be set
at a lower alarm threshold of 35 PPM. Performance parameters and specifications of various CO
detectors (available on the market) were compiled into a database as shown in Tables B-2 through B-
5 of the technical report.

2. To detect leakage of gases into the cabin due to cracks in the exhaust system, conduct
engine run up tests with cabin heat on and check for CO in the cabin with a hand-held CO
detector during 100 hour and annual inspections.
3. Continue to inspect the complete engine exhaust system during 100 hour/annual
inspections and at inspection intervals recommended by the aircraft and engine
manufacturers in accordance with their applicable maintenance manual instructions.
For Further Information Contact
Sarjapur Nagarajan, Aerospace Engineer, FAA Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City,
Room 301, Missouri 64106; phone: (816) 329-4145; fax: (816) 329-4090; email:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
For Related Information on the Technical Report, Contact:
U.S. Department of Commerce
National Technical Information Services (NTIS)
Alexandria, Virginia 22312
(703) 605-6000 or 1-800-553-6847
1. Consider the information in the technical report, and use a CO detector while operating
your aircraft.

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