Dangers of co
I read something on a car forum that may apply to airplanes or at least pilots. First, I met a pilot who talked about someone he used to know that flew for UPS in a Caravan each morning from Denver to Aspen. One day he was lost, in good vmc he just flew in level flight at 12,500 until he ran into the mountain range which has tops up to about 14,500. The post flight accident investigation showed a high level of carbon monoxide in his blood, and with no evidence of a problem with the airplane heater, it was discovered that just before the flight he had stood out on the ramp next to the automatic package loader as it was running and the exhaust was putting out a lot of CO. The pilot was probably using the autopilot for the first portion of the flight, and forgot or was asleep and never took it off to climb for the last leg.
I know some airplanes put out a lot of CO even at idle, ( I think a Firefly is one, maybe P-47) and it is recommended to use O2 even on the ground.I know if you need to sit for awhile and idle behind a Merlin, it is a good idea to have the wind so that it doesn't blow into the cockpit.
Anyway, the car owner was curious about CO in his garage, so he bought a electric detector and found that when he was running his car in the garage with the door open, there was pollution when he got near the rear, even though he got no reading inside the car with the heater on. So, back the car out in the open if you need to run it, and it is a really good idea to use a CO detector if your plane is that type. Sporty's sells those inexpensive plastic stick on detectors.
If you are operating at high altitude, as the pilot out of Denver was, then O2 in your body is already down a bit, and you don't want any CO or other pollution to get into you body.
Of course, it is critical to have the heater checked at annual to make sure it is not leaking into the plane. And Co is odorless and tasteless, so can sneak up on you, except other smells in the exhaust may alert you.
Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 01-28-2014 at 02:47 PM.
Having suffered from CO poisoning on a Mooney, I am leery of it. I've taken a couple different CO detectors flying with me.
Yes, I've got an open-cockpit airplane. But I've a friend who had a bad case in a Starduster, so it can happen.
The one I took with me last summer showed 80 ppm during taxi (threshold for long-term exposure is 30). This appeared to be due to a crosswind, and the slow turning of the prop swirling exhaust into the cockpit. Soon as the power was applied for takeoff, it dropped to about 8 ppm...same reading it gave on the ground.
CO poisoning is insiduous; in my case, I was in the co-pilot seat with two very experienced pilots (WWII AAF vets). None of us suspected a thing until I collapsed after landing.
Y'all be careful....
That is why I have one of these install on my panel.
Besides the speaker and the annunicator on the unit, it will trigger an alert with audio on my EFIS, and will light up another annunicator that is mounted directly in front of me. If all that doesn't get my attention, I'm not sure what will.
I believe the type shown above sell for about $500. The stick-on detectors that change color are less than $5, but they start to lose effectiveness as soon as you take them out of the wrapping, and need to be replaced every 90 days.
An in-between option is battery powered home CO detector for 30-50 dollars. Get one with a digital readout.
Originally Posted by Gil
CO Guardian sells two versions. One for experimentals and one for certified aircraft. I was able to pick mine up at OSH for about $300.
No question you can do it less expensive with a home unit. I did get the one without the pulse oximeter. I figured I can pick up one of those cheaper elsewhere and it would be impossible for anyone setting in the rear to put their finger in the unit mounted in the panel.
I bought a pulse oximeter at Walgreens for $39.00.