With all our cross country flying, we identified a need for a gap-filling oxygen system. Something more that disposable oxygen canisters and something less than traditional portable oxygen systems. This is useful during times when oxygen wasn't anticipated, as a backup to your portable or built-in system, or to provide oxygen without dipping into the main reserves of your portable/built-in system.
To satisfy this need, we came up with a .36L liquid volume carbon fiber/aluminum composite oxygen bottle that provides 2.1 hours of continuous flow and weighs only 1.9lbs full.
This weekend, we went flying over Idaho to put the bottle to the test. The bottle is simple to use - just open and close the regulator, which also serves as the valve. The flow is 0.5LPM and is non-adjustable, making the bottle perfect for lower altitudes up to 15kft.
The size of the bottle is very nice - it fits in the cup holder of our RV-10, on the dashboard, or in the seat next to you. It can be kept in your flight bag pocket or cup holder until you need it. At less than 2lbs full, it is light enough to haul around or keep in your bag until it is needed.
The single prong cannula is ideal for quick use. It slips over one ear and gently secures itself using an embedded shape memory wire and soft prong flare. A clip attached to the cannula can be linked to your shirt collar to further retain it in place.
I used about 15 minutes of the 2.1 hours as I climbed to 8k MSL for the cruise between Twin Falls Idaho and Sun Valley. At these altitudes, we know from our oximeter work that your blood oxygen level can dip into the low 90s. This is not good, even though the FAA doesn't regulate below 12.5k. Not only is your vision impacted, but your cognitive skills aren't as sharp and your heart rate speeds up leading to exhaustion. Having this small portable option is ideal for this type of quick flight at mid altitudes.
As detailed in other blog posts, you can fill these yourself using another portable aviation oxygen tank as a transfilling source. Mountain High makes a custom Aithre filling hose for under $200.
For those pilots already using Mountain High, you can get your Aithre oxygen bottle fitted with a MH regulator so you can continue to use any of your current equipment. This option is available from MH or from Aithre.