From SnF23: Mitigate This Silent (Underappreciated) Risk!

As pilots, we are trained from day one to identify and mitigate risks. Unfortunately, most serious threats do not “self-announce!” Hazards are sneaky and are often masked by our own cognitive biases (there are 47 total). We humans normalize all our daily activities – and that includes pilots. We see what we are used to seeing (confirmation bias). A silent killer I was aware of, trained for, but not actively monitoring is carbon monoxide poisoning. I have been disabled twice by well-maintained aircraft. The beautiful new Lightspeed “Delta Zulu” headsets are attractive ANRs but also actively monitoring for this risk. They adjust audio precisely with an associated app, but my favorite feature tis the continuous CO poisoning; some planes are quietly trying to kill you.

Our average GA plane is about 50 years old, and as CFIs we are especially vulnerable to CO since we swap from one plane to another continuously (they might be quietly trying to kill you). Since I have been wearing these new Lightspeed Delta Zulu headsets, I have found three planes with a toxic levels of poison gas. The client/pilots always point to their (state-of-the-art) plastic spot monitoring system (a $4 device?). They confidently believe they are safe. Wow, what a wake-up call for this CFI/DPE. Please consider active monoxide monitoring for safety (this muffler heating system was outlawed in automobiles years ago). Lightspeed Aviation is collecting (and anonymizing) data from users and the preliminary results are already shocking; many planes seem to be leaking poison gas into the cockpit (early data). I strongly suggest you actively monitor the CO levels in every plane you fly.

And yes, you can win this very headset in our SAFE spring sweepstakes. That is not a coincidence…our sponsors are all safety-oriented companies. Scott Ashton at Aerox has supplied a PrO2 oxygen system as a prize, and SPorty’s is providing a PJ2+ handheld! Consider a “step-up” or donation to enter our sweepstakes. Fly safe out there (and often).

See you at Sun ‘N Fun 2023 at “Charlie Hangar” Booths #19/20. SAFE sponsors and members please join us at Sunset Cafe for a free SAFE breakfast Thursday (March 30th), 8am. (Get your free ticket here) Watch for SAFE Forums and events on the SAFE Toolkit App (allow notifications for alerts!)

SAFE developed an insurance program just for CFIs! When you are an independent CFI, you are a business (and have legal exposure). This program is the most reasonable but also comprehensive insurance plan you can have (and every agent is a pilot!)

Author: David St. George

SAFE Director, Master CFI (12X), FAA DPE, ATP (ME/SE) Currently jet charter captain.

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