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AACs - Part 1-43 - Airworthiness Articles
Part 1 - Airworthiness Articles
Noise Isolating Headsets
Cockpit noise can reduce the effectiveness of aircraft communications, can cause noise related fatigue and in some cases can damage the pilot's hearing. In recent times, manufacturers of aircraft headsets have been improving the noise isolation of their products. These headsets are very effective in protecting the pilot's hearing from the aircraft noise in the cockpit and this is a desirable result.
There is, however, a possible down side to this protection.
Aircraft manufacturers are required by the aircraft certification rules to provide warnings for such things as stall, undercarriage position, aircraft configuration etc. for your protection.
Noise attenuating and noise cancelling headsets can in some circumstances reduce the effectiveness of the cockpit aural warnings and other aural cues such as abnormal noises which might give some warning of unusual operations. This is particularly so at times of high stress when aural cues need to be quite effective to gain the pilot's attention.
Staff in the Head Office Avionics Section of Continuing Airworthiness in the CAA feel that pilots who use these headsets should be made aware of this possibility and have some care in the way they use the headsets.
No regulatory action to limit the use of such headsets is being considered. The responsibility for adequate communications in the cockpit and for responding to the aural warnings belongs with the pilot. However, owners or operators whose pilots use this type of headset should, where practicable, give consideration to wiring the aural warnings through the aircraft audio system.