Safety

February 2016 Issue




AltAlert Cabin Sensor: Portable, Simple

Itís pricey, but for backup cabin pressure altitude sensing and alerting, the mountable/wearable AltAlert device makes sense.

Early detection is the key to cabin pressurization failures and that’s precisely the purpose of the $399 Aviation Technology AltAlert personal cabin pressure sensor.

The six-ounce AltAlert measures 3.0 by 1.75 by 0.75 inches and can be mounted on a flat surface, clipped to a sun visor or worn on clothing. Powered by a 3-volt lithium CR2032 coin battery, the device utilizes an internal algorithmic software program to sense cabin pressure and rate of climb by way of a temperature corrected pressure sensor.

AltAlert pressure detector

The AltAlert has a clip for attaching to the shirt but that makes it difficult to see the LED indications.

I like that it’s stone simple to use. Simply load the battery (which activates the sensor) and the unit enters sleep mode while at ground level, but begins to sample pressure and its battery voltage every 15 seconds during climb, and once in level flight at altitudes above sea level. There isn’t even a power switch. Instead, the device functions continuously until the battery is spent, which is roughly 18 months unless an alert is triggered.

The alerting is via aural chirps and visual cues, with an internal 100-dBA Piezo alarm, plus a flashing LED, which is built into the test/mute button on the face. Above 10,000 feet, the LED flashes red every 15 seconds, accompanied by a courtesy chirp. As the pressure altitude climbs, the flashing increases in interval and the chirp is constant. A low battery is indicated by a yellow annunciator.

I tried the device (clipped to a kneeboard) in the pressurized cabin of a Pilatus and it never indicated false alarms. At 12,500 feet in a non-pressurized Cessna Centurion, it flashed every second and sounded three chirps, activating a 30-minute timer and subsequent sustained alert because I didn’t descend.

Contact www.aviationtechnologyinc.com and 858-735-7943.