What You Need to Know About the Updated FAA AC 120-95A on Portable Oxygen Concentrators
- Sheila Wallace
I have the opportunity to view many operations manuals. One of the places where operators differ related to Dangerous Goods is the acceptance, or not, of Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POCs). The revision to FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 120-95A, Portable Oxygen Concentrators is an excellent opportunity for operators to adapt their policies and procedures to the FAA guidance regarding the onboard use of these medical devices.
Here is the rub; on July 12, 2005, the FAA published SFAR 106 to allow the use of two specific POC models onboard aircraft, subject to certain conditions. The FAA amended SFAR 106 seven times, editing procedures and policy and adding 22 more POC models to the list of FAA-approved POCs that could be used on aircraft.
Rather than continuing to approve POCs on a case-by-case basis, the FAA established the following acceptance criteria for POCs used on aircraft:
- The POC is legally marketed.
- The POC does not radiate radio frequency emissions that interfere with aircraft systems.
- The POC does not generate a compressed gas.
- The POC does not contain any hazardous materials (hazmat), except as provided for in 49 CFR part 175.
The regulations do not require operators to allow the use of POCs on their aircraft. FAA regulations simply allow operators to develop programs to accommodate passengers who have a medical need to use their own, or a medical oxygen service provider’s, POC on flights if certain conditions are met. These conditions include a battery packaging standard, POC stowage requirements, and some specific user responsibilities. For example, the POC user is responsible for bringing a sufficient number of batteries to power the POC for the duration of the POC user’s expected use of the device.
While the FAA does not require a passenger to consult with a healthcare provider prior to using a POC onboard an aircraft, your company may require a medical certificate from a passenger with a disability if there is reasonable doubt that the individual can complete the flight safely without requiring extraordinary medical assistance during the flight.
A few other details are outlined in AC 120-95A. I suggest reviewing and updating company policy so as to not come in conflict with the AC and 14 CFR Part 382, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel.
Advanced Aircrew Academy’s Dangerous Goods / Hazmat eLearning module has been updated with the latest information from AC 120-95A. Has your training program been updated yet?