Difficult and Exhausting

How a “Simple” Thing Like an Exhaust System Can Create Deadly Difficulties

Photo inside a combustion engine.

All Blocked Up

Photo illustration.
Photo of the baffling that rotated inside the muffler leading to the accident referenced in this article. (Photo courtesy of NTSB)

Out Cold

The flight path of the last 7.5 minutes of the referenced CO poisoning accident. (Photo courtesy of NTSB)
Photo of a muffler.
The wreckage of the muffler from the CO poisoning accident. (Photo courtesy of NTSB)

Fire in the Hole

There are three general types of exhaust failures:

1) Muffler failures/blockages

2) Exhaust leaks

3) Exhaust cracks

A post-accident photo of the fire damage to the nose of the airplane. (Photo courtesy of NTSB)
The source of the inflight fire on the Piper Malibu Mirage. (Photo courtesy of NTSB)

Easing Your Difficulties

With GA aircraft exhaust systems, even small constrictions or blockages can cause degraded performance or worse.

Photo of a pilot wearing a headset.
Photo of a headset that features a CO detector. (Photo courtesy of Lightspeed Aviation)

Learn More

This article was originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine.



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FAA Safety Briefing

Official FAA safety policy voice for general aviation. Part of the national FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam).