Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Aircrafts

Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Aircrafts


What is special about the Carbon Monoxide Detector by Forensics?

Forensics Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Detector for aircraft offers an efficient solution to monitor the cabin levels of carbon monoxide that can prevent potential tragedies. The company’s product has been on the market for the last three years earning rave reviews as an effective in cabin safety device.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas is highly poisonous and exposure to the gas can result in short to long term health issues or even death. This is why carbon monoxide detection is becoming the norm around the world. In aircraft especially, CO gas can have fatal consequences impeding a pilot’s abilities that could end in a plane crash. Similar accidents around the world has led to many governments mandating the use of a carbon monoxide detector in all aircraft. 

Forensics Detectors Carbon Monoxide Detectors for aircraft and vehicles are available worldwide and proven effective by users in various applications. The company’s CO detectors for aircraft have been manufactured with Japanese sensor technology for maximum protection from CO exposure at low-level 9ppm alarming to prevent CO exposure from exhaust leaks, faulty heating or polluted air entering a cabin that causes headaches, nausea and fatigue that can adversely affect a pilot’s ability to control an aircraft. 

Why did Forensics choose 9ppm as the first alarm level?

Forensics Detectors Carbon Monoxide Detectors feature a low alarm at 9ppm as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). 

How does Carbon Monoxide enter the cabin of a aircraft?

To provide cabin heat, a heat exchanger is usually attached to the exhaust system of a single engine aircraft. Since the exhaust gas and air for the cabin heat move along two independent tubes, the exhaust and cabin air should remain distinctly separate.

A significant hazard can result, however, when there is a failure in the piston engine exhaust system. This can come in the form of CO entering the heat exchanger air, which is used to heat the cabin, or through a leak in the firewall between the engine compartment and cabin. An FAA report notes that piston engine exhaust gases typically contain 5% to 7% CO, although an exhaust system failure may result in a smaller concentration of CO due to mixing with other air in the engine compartment. Irrespective of how frequently it occurs, there is a high risk for a hazard whenever there is an exhaust system failure. According to one FAA report, 70% of exhaust system failures result in a CO hazard. Thus, proper inspection and maintenance of the exhaust system is extremely important.

Are there any FAA regulations for Carbon Monoxide Aircraft Cabin Monitoring?

The FAA standard for CO in an aircraft cabin is no more than 50 ppm as mentioned in 14 CFR Part 23, Airworthiness Standards, Section 831, Ventilation, 1999. However, there is currently no requirement to monitor for CO in the cabin. Due to the colorless and odorless characteristics of CO, it is extremely difficult to determine if hazardous levels of CO are in the cabin without some type of CO detector. However, little guidance exists regarding suitable CO detector technology for use in aircraft. Additionally, if CO detectors are used in the cabin of aircraft, no guidance exists to recommend the best placement to detect CO quickly and accurately.

Where is the best place to mount a Carbon Monoxide Detector in my aircraft cabin?

If a portable CO detector is to be used in a aircraft, it is essential that it be positioned in a location in the cabin that ensures early and consistent detection of the CO when it enters the cabin. Additionally, the CO detector should be placed in a location where the pilot can be sufficiently alerted to the warning signals of the CO detector should it alarm. 

Potential pathways of CO into the cabin for many aircraft types included the heater vents, unsealed holes in the firewall, as well as fresh air vents. Thus, the following locations were selected to meet the above-mentioned objectives: visor above the pilot (clearly visible and accessible), lower panel of right and left doors (near heater vents and visible), the instrument panel (close to the firewall, visible and accessible), and the back-seat area (near fresh air vent).

Forensics Detectors recommend for a CO detector not to be placed indirect sunlight. We recommend the CO detector display is VISIBLE to the pilot at all times. DO NOT mount on air vents as the temperature changes may effect the CO detector operation.

Is Carbon Monoxide a real problem in aircraft?

Yes it is. A review of the NTSB accident/incident database indicates that CO-related accidents due to muffler and exhaust system leakage were more prevalent in the colder months. However, CO accidents occur throughout the year, including the summer months. Additionally, inadequate maintenance and inspections (e.g., poor weld, poorly repaired or improperly modified muffler, holes or cracks in the muffler that were missed) were involved in a sizeable proportion of the CO-related accidents. The NTSB accident/incident data supports the known difficulty of inspecting mufflers and the joints in the exhaust system already identified by the FAA through various communications. Furthermore, reports from the SDR database revealed some case-by-case issues with mufflers, but no general trends could be identified. Finally, the review of the NTSB accident/incident database indicates a strong relationship between the lifespan of mufflers and their failure, where a large majority of the mufflers that were determined to be the cause of the CO exposure had muffler usage greater than 1000 hours.

What are some notable accidents in aircraft due to carbon monoxide?


LONDON — Emiliano Sala, the Argentine soccer player who died in a plane crash in the English Channel. Mr. Sala, 28, who was on a flight from France to Wales on Jan. 21 when the aircraft went down, sustained carbon monoxide poisoning in the cockpit of the plane, according to a report released by Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch as part of its inquiry into the crash.


In 2017, a private pilot was flying his newly purchased Varga 2150A airplane on a visual flight rules cross-country flight. After flying for about 80 minutes, the airplane suddenly entered a spiraling descent from cruise flight. Witnesses observed the airplane flying erratically at low altitude before it impacted an open field near Bowling Green, Ohio; they stated that the engine was running until impact. Toxicological testing of the pilot’s blood found 55% carbon monoxide saturation (toxic level is 20 percent).



What is an example aircraft defect that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning? 

In 2020 the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, whilst investigating a aircraft accident believe to be due to carbon monoxide poisoning, the ATSB found pre‑existing cracking of the engine exhaust collector-ring, which could lead to exhaust leakage into the engine bay.

carbon monoxide aircraft

Further, the ATSB found a breach in the firewall from missing bolts used to secure magneto access panels in the firewall under the instrument panel in the cabin. Any breach in the firewall can allow the ingress of gases from the engine bay into the cabin.” 

The subject aircraft had departed from Cottage Point and taxied for about seven minutes before taking off on its planned return trip to Rose Bay. Shortly after take-off, the aircraft deviated from the operator’s standard flight path, stopped climbing, and entered the confines of Jerusalem Bay below the height of surrounding terrain. The aircraft then continued along the bay, made a very steep right turn, and collided with the water.