The FAA is warning pilots that they may be missing important sounds, including cockpit warnings that aren’t transmitted over the intercom system, when wearing noise-canceling headsets. In a special airworthiness information bulletin issued Nov. 20, the FAA urges pilots to evaluate their headsets during normal ground and in-flight operations to determine whether alarms and environmental sounds are audible when using noise attenuation.
“Noise-canceling headsets are valuable tools that help reduce pilot fatigue, increase comfort, and deliver clearer communications,” said Justin Barkowski, AOPA director of regulatory affairs. “But it’s important to know what you may be missing when you’re using them. That’s why we’re encouraging our members to review the advisory information provided by the FAA.”
The bulletin, SAIB CE-16-08, advises pilots who cannot hear cockpit alarms or such environmental sounds as wind, vibration, or unusual mechanical or engine noises to find other solutions.
Similar information was provided in Information for Operators 07001 issued in January 2007. Although the information was directed primarily at commercial operators, general aviation pilots are now being encouraged to review that information as well.