Aeromedix Flight Blog
Flying, Medicine and Everything Inbetween
Brent Blue is a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner who introduced Digital Pulse Oximetry to general aviation in 1995. He has been the team doctor for the US Unlimited Aerobatic team at the world competition in Hungary and lectures extensively on Hypoxia and carbon monoxide at altitude. Dr. Blue flies a Cessna 340, a Cessna 185, and a 450 Stearman out of his home airport near Jackson Hole in the United States.
"Maintenance expert Mike Busch discusses carbon monoxide (CO) in the cockpit reviewing CO-related accidents. He discusses the physiology of CO poisoning, sources of CO in the cockpit, and provides recommendations on CO detectors for cockpit use." -EAA.org (November 5, 2015)
The FAA Released a Bulletin on Engine Exhaust and CO Monitors. This Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) advises the owners and operators of general aviation (GA) aircraft of 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.
The model that Aeromedix offers notifies you when the cockpit air has 10 parts per million of carbon monoxide.
The front panel features an LCD display that shows CO concentrations down to 7 PPM; levels below 7PPM display as "0" and levels above 50 PPM display as "HI." There are two LED lights: the green "power" light blinks briefly about once a minute to indicate that the unit is functioning, while the red "alarm" light flashes in sync with the 85dB alarm horn to warn of carbon monoxide.
One unique aspect of the CO Experts Model 2015 is that it provides six alarm levels, ranging from 10PPM to 50PPM. The low-level CO warning activates immediately at concentrations between 10 and 25 PPM. When levels reach between 25PPM and 35PPM, the alarm emits four quick beeps and flashes every sixty seconds. The medium-level warning activates immediately at concentrations of 35PPM and emits two quick beeps and flashes every thirty seconds. The high-level alarm activates after CO levels reach 50 PPM, and alarms every twenty seconds. The flashing red light and quick-beeping horn are particularly well-suited for in-flight use, since it makes it virtually impossible to confuse a CO alarm with other audible alarms such as stall warning or gear warning horns.
The front-mounted "test/reset" button performs two functions. If pressed while the unit is alarming, the button will silence ("hush") the alarm for a period of time that depends on the CO concentration -- The unit will silence at the following lengths during the presence of the specific CO Levels.
- 10 PPM - 24 hours
- 25 PPM - 60 minutes
- 35 PPM - 30 minutes
- 50 PPM - 15 minutes
- 70 PPM - 4 minutes
At other times, the button activates a recall of the memory (peak level, how long ago, duration, and COHb%) and a self-test (red LED and horn). Pressing and holding the button clears the memory.
An extensive "fail-safe" design monitors the CO sensor, electronics and battery. Any detected failure results in a single "chirp" of the audible alarm and a single flash of the red LED once a minute, with the error condition indicated on the LCD display. Possible indications are "BAT" for low-battery, "ERR" for a failure of the electronics, and "SENSOR END" for a sensor failure (or end-of-life).
The Ultra Low-Level Carbon Monoxide Detector is now available at Aeromedix.com or by calling 1.888.362.7123.
The ReliefBand® with replaceable batteries is back! Available to consumers without the need for a prescription and at a new low price, the ReliefBand® is an FDA cleared nerve stimulation medical device that treats and relieves motion-sickness, sea sickness and even morning sickness! It is safe, drug-free, highly effective and clinically proven solution without side effects associated with medication. The ReliefBand® does not cause drowsiness, interact with medications, interfere with alcoholic beverages or cause drug-like side effects.
Because it produces no side effects, the ReliefBand® is fully FAA-legal for pilot use, and is ideal for student pilots and aerobatic pilots who need relief from motion sickness as well as passengers.
Aeromedix only offers products that have been tested and approved by Dr. Brent Blue, a FAA Senior Aviation Medical Examiner and Board Certified physician. If Aeromedix sells it, it works! The Reletex was released in 2011, replacing the original ReliefBand®. Many customers have asked what the difference is between the Reletex and the ReliefBand®. The Reletex is a prescription only medical device.
The ReliefBand® is an over the counter (OTC) version of the Reletex. The ReliefBand’s® maximum output of 35mA is slightly less than the 40ma of the Reletex. The ReliefBand® is now available with replaceable batteries (a 3V Lithium battery). Unlike the Reletex, the battery life doesn't depend on the individual usage of the device.
Finally, The ReliefBand® has replaceable batteries again, a popular feature of the first generation of ReliefBand® devices. If you want to know more about the ReliefBand® or place an order for one, visit Aeromedix.com. As always you can call us as well at 1-888-362-7123.
The FAA put out an National Proposal for Rule Making (NPRM) last September which was hidden under a miss titled name which would allow passengers who need to use a portable oxygen concentrator on board aircraft to do so without a physician's statement and without notification of the airline. Since most of these units are rented by the passenger who have little familiarity with them and require multiple batteries, it is easy to have malfunctions without proper preparation which requires communication between the prescribing doctor, passenger, and the airline.
Now this may seem like something that does not affect you but the elimination of these two requirements will cause many medical emergencies in the air and diversion of aircraft for those emergencies. If you are on board, you will suffer that consequence. Of course the oxygen dependent passenger could also suffer serious medical problems or even die!
Even though the comment period has official closed, the FAA is accepting comments for the next week. Please comment ASAP at the link below and tell FAA "to continue the requirement for a physician's statement and advance notification of the airline of a passenger intention to use a portable oxygen concentrator on board."
Thanks for helping to keep oxygen dependent passengers safe.
***Air Safety Institute Safety Alert***This month has seen two tragic accidents that involve pilot incapacitation at high altitudes. While it’s impossible to say for certain that hypoxia was the primary cause, both mishaps, flight profiles, and the reports from the military pilots who intercepted the aircraft point toward this as a possibility. Unlike our military counterparts, most General Aviation (GA) pilots have not undergone high altitude training in a hypobaric chamber or used a Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD) to learn hypoxia symptom recognition. As a quick reminder, here are some of the typical symptoms of hypoxia:• Cyanosis (blue fingernails and lips)• Headache• Hot flashes or a feeling of warmth• Decreased reaction time• Impaired judgment• Euphoria• Visual impairment, reduced visual acuityEven though these are the most common symptoms each pilot’s physiological responses are unique. With the insidious nature of hypoxia and the resulting loss of cognitive abilities, it quickly becomes difficult to recognize the symptoms in time to take prompt action and mitigate the risks of becoming incapacitated while flying.The good news is that GA pilots have a powerful low cost tool available to them to help avoid succumbing to the effects of hypoxia. A pulse oximeter is the best defense against hypoxia and can be purchased from a variety of aviation vendors or any drug store.When flying an unpressurized aircraft pilots should check their oxygen saturation levels regularly (about every 10-15 minutes). In a pressurized aircraft, pilots should use the pulse oximeter as needed or if they experience the first symptoms of hypoxia. Cabin pressurization problems and hypoxia are serious emergencies. Communicating this to ATC and the use of supplemental oxygen, if available, is imperative.It is also important to remember that each pilot’s ability to maintain adequate oxygen levels will be slightly different based on a variety of health and lifestyle factors, but in general, if the pulse oximeter shows 90% or above blood oxygen saturation the pilot’s brain should be receiving enough O2 to function normally. Below 90% mental function begins to deteriorate, and the pilot should use supplemental oxygen or descend to a lower altitude until oxygen saturation levels increase back to normal.Bottom line is: If you fly regularly above 10,000 feet msl, a pulse oximeter should be part of your equipment and you should check your oxygen saturation levels regularly during the fight. If you’d like to read more about hypoxia, below are links that go into greater detail.http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/pilot_handbook/media/PHAK%20-%20Chapter%2016.pdf
Great weather for day 3 with large crowds. Busy day included two air shows—normal afternoon and evening. One ending with fireworks and the “wall of fire” which is a juvenile display of dynamite and gasoline blowing up for no other purpose than to blow something up for elementary school kids. If you are going to blow something up, let us try something that needs blowing up instead of wasting fuel and polluting the air.
Gave my regular “through the fence” forum. I hope this forum will become moot as this issue fads away as a bad memory. Because I was with the grandkids all day, I miss a tribute dinner for Bob Hoover. Fortunately, after I dropped the kids at the camp ground to sneak over to the Hilton for a drink with friends, I ended up sitting with Bob. For 93, his wit and quickness has not changed. He told a great story about the late Tex Hill, the famous fighter and test pilot, and him walking through the Hilton several years ago. He said Tex excused himself to go to the bathroom and said “I need to shake hands with the retired!”
I took several shots of Bob’s hands with my phone and one is posted. He is the greatest. Aircraft parking continues to be open and closed depending on the traffic flow. No significant incidents so far this year. EAA has a dedicated group of volunteers at the Chairman and Vice-Chairman levels who have a tremendous amount of experience & institutional knowledge. They donate a lot of time and should be thanked anytime you see them.
Day two opened with the 0730 safety briefing. I attend as one of the airshow “doc of the day” which could be dock on the bay, but whose interested in inadvertent rhyming—or I am just tired sleeping in a tent with 0730 meetings!
Attendance is up. The Osprey is pretty amazing. The crowd has actually cheered at the short field landing and takeoff competition and no mishaps except one wheels up landing in Appleton (no one hurt- pilot error).
My lecture on Special Issuance Medicals was well received with lots of questions. I hope it is my last lecture on the subject with what I think will be a great step forward—discontinuance of the 3rd medical in the near future.
Got to catch up with Mike Goulian and Patty Wagstaff—true airshow professionals. Patty is performing on Wednesday. Michael performed today and did his normal awesome job. Went to the Aircraft Parking party at Steve and Pat Owen’s house. It is always great to be able to thank these folks for their hard work and sometime thankless jobs. Remember, they are volunteers trying to accommodate a large number of folks. Give them a break and thank them profusely.
Also, went to the ICON party for a few minutes to catch up with the usual suspects. Party is always great but will be more exciting when they have a production aircraft. Rain and thunderstorm came in tonight. Pretty wet but no damage. Hope this pattern does not continue all week.
Attendance is up and parking is 99% full. Pilots are being redirected to Appleton and Fond du Lac! In spite of some clouds, the folks who were held up by the weather on Sunday have made it in. I presented Wayne Boggs, Air Boss, at the 11:30 AM air show safety briefing with a Rubber Chicken Emmy for Best Actor in the broad category “Aviation Theme Shows about Air Bosses” for his starring role in “Air Boss.” The air show performers enjoyed the event.
My lecture on concentration for the air show performers included the hint about sniffing rosemary but that is now an inside joke! Air show was very good, highlighted by Matt Chapman, Bill Stein and the US Marine Corp Osprey. One off airport landing was reported by the ultralight folks without injury or damage to the aircraft but the pilots did have to do the walk of shame as the aircraft was trailered back to the field.
The Thunderbird show line has been explained and many pilots are unhappy about not being able to go to their aircraft if they are parked in front of the T-Bird line from 1:30 PM to the Thunderbird show is finished, about 6 PM. Some are planning a departure on Friday to avoid the issue beginning Friday afternoon, however, advance sales for the weekend tickets are way up so EAA officials are happy.
Mosquitos were out Monday night as the wind died down and it warmed up a bit. More rain is predicted so the North 40 campers, including us, are preparing. The grandkids really enjoyed the show, and especially dinner, at the camp site which consisted of the hotdogs, baked beans and smores. What’s not to like?
Been through two exhibit halls (B & D) and the normal folks are still there. Lots of empty booths (I’d say 5% in D) and no Microsoft this year. Lots of kids trying to find simulators to try out but vendors are more interested in selling to pilots, as they are true training sims. EAA might want to consider a sim experience next year.
No medical issues have come up so far.
Camping was a proverbial water torture. No long rain storms, just one for fifteen minutes every couple of hours. Then it got cold so those who came to the North 40 without sleeping bags were a tad bit chilly. Drove around the grounds and the number of planes is down but this is probably due to the recurrent thunderstorms that kept us wet. I am sure more will come during the good weather today. At least density altitude will not be a problem.
Took the grandkids to Parnell’s for chicken and Andy’s for ice cream. Figured I would get the best off airport experiences for kids out of the way first! During our nightly sit around the airplane, we had a nice visit with Alex who is in the Air Force stationed in Alaska. He flew an American Champion down in a mere 35 hours. Convinced him he needed to stop by the Oregon Aero booth to pick up a seat pad for the trip back. His butt is pretty skinny and certainly is flat after that much butt time. He stopped at the Champion factory on the way to Oshkosh and was treated royally. Nice to see an engaged and excited young pilot willing to fly solo from Alaska to Wisconsin in a VFR aircraft.
Glad to report the North 40 showers are working as well as the bathrooms. Sure wish there was a way to keep the water running for shaving! Saw what appeared to be a funnel cloud over Lake Winnebago but turned out to be a “cold air funnel” according to the weather experts. Sure reminded us about the potential damage from severe weather on the EAA grounds.