The CO Research Trust has today announced the subject of the first lecture in its new lecture series, in partnership with the International CO Research Network (ICORN). The lecture series will showcase the work of leading researchers in the field of carbon monoxide (CO) from all over the world.

The first lecture will take place on Thursday 23rd September 2021 from 3pm-4pm and will be given by Dr Andrew Spowage of Queen Mary University London. He will be presenting his teams White Paper which aims to further the understanding of CO poisoning in general aviation.

On 21 January 2019, the professional footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed in a light aircraft while travelling from Nantes in France to Cardiff. Both people onboard were sadly killed. Toxicology tests found levels of carbon monoxide (CO) within the footballer’s body was enough to cause symptoms such as seizure, unconsciousness, and heart attack.

Dr Spowage says: “In the last 20 years there have been 87 air accidents relating to CO poisoning reported in the UK, USA and Australia. Air accidents tend to be catastrophic, with the potential for significant loss of life and collateral damage. It is vital that we identify the key questions that need to be answered so that safety can be improved in this area”.

Even without physical examination of the wreckage it seems likely that CO poisoning played an important role in the crash. This high-profile case has brought the issue of CO poisoning in general aviation back into sharper focus. With his study, Dr Spowage aims to assess the status, best practices and risks associated with CO poisoning as well as providing a useful resource to build awareness within the general aviation community.

An important part of this project is to get the view of key stakeholders within the aviation sector, to help address any outstanding issues.

Adrian McConnell, Head of Charitable Operations at the CO Research Trust says: “Having made a public commitment to sharing information and research findings, we are delighted to launch our new Lecture Series with Dr Spowage’s presentation. By funding vital studies such as this, we are working towards improving the understanding of why CO continues to cause safety issues and pose a risk to life”.

In his presentation Dr Spowage will talk about:

- Sources of CO in the general aviation fleet

- The role of inspection and maintenance

- The importance of training and continuous education

- How CO alarms can save lives in the aviation sector

- What pilots can do to protect themselves

- Areas for future research

This work is particularly timely as the COVID-19 crisis has seen much of fleet aircraft grounded for extended periods of time, which may potentially lead to aircraft maintenance issues.

The Lecture Series will take place on the third Thursday of each month, from 3pm - 4pm. They are free to attend and the Trust encourages anyone with an interest in this area to come along. You can register for each event on the CO Research Trust website - Link here.



About the CO Research Trust

The CO Research Trust (formerly the Gas Safety Trust) is a registered charity which was established in 2005. The vision of the charity is a world where people are not exposed to carbon monoxide (CO).

Since 2013 the Trust has invested almost £3m in research projects and is committed to investing a further £1.5m in the next five years. Collaborating with partners has enabled the Trust to in- vest more in this area. This is an approach the Trust intends to continue. The Trust aims to be a source of information and evidence relating to CO exposure.

For more information please contact;

Natalie Fleck

CO Research Trust

Follow us: @COResearchTrust

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