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FAASTeam
FAASTeam Notice
Type: Airworthiness
Notice Date: Monday, April 14, 2014
Notice Number: NOTC5196
Maintenance Safety Tip 1403 - Keeping Combustion Heaters Healthy
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Aircraft combustion heaters are great. When “healthy” they provide comfort and a sense of well-being. However, if they become unhealthy, they can be deadly. You, the AMT, are the heater doctor and it is your job to conduct a “physical” on each one.
 
The next time you maintain an aircraft with a combustion heater keep in mind that a carbon monoxide leak, a fuel leak, or fire could likely be catastrophic. Heaters require special attention. Components such as combustion liners, air pressure switches, and fuel regulator valves have been so problematic that the FAA has issued Airworthiness Directives (ADs). Do you know if an AD applies to the combustion heater installed on the aircraft you work on? If not, take time to research AD’s, review maintenance records and manufacturer instructions, talk with the aircraft owner, and find out. If ADs do apply, read each one carefully.  What does the AD require? Has the AD been complied with in the past, or if it is recurring, when is it next due?
 
Even if there is not an AD for your particular aircraft, consider the operating environment, age, and operating time to assess if additional heater physicals are prudent. You are the doctor. Are you confident the heater will function safely until its next physical?
 
A good place to start your AD research is http://www.faa.gov/ where you will find links to Airworthiness Directives.  Another useful link for an AMT is http://www.faa.gov/mechanics/. Check it out!

National FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) and AFS-300