Smoking in the plane


Well-Known Member
This just popped up in my head right now. Does anyone know the FAA regulations for smoking inside a GA aircraft? Not that I care because I don't smoke, but I was wondering how do people that smoke get to light up on long trips? I always see ash trays in Cessnas and other small planes, but why would they put them in there when smoking affects people's oxygen levels, which ultimately can affect concentration?
As long as its used for personal use under part 91 and no oxygen is installed, I don't think theres any regs. I once had to move a Piper Lance, and the owner wasnt around to do it. I opened up the door to release the parking break, and it smelled like an ashtray in that thing...yuk!
The day after I got my comercial I flew a bunch of dirtbags to some job site in Kansas in a 206. All four guys in back chain smoking less than 5 feet from the tanks. About half way through I reminded them that AV fuel might be flamable, but what do I know. Anyway they decided to stop. I don't might cig smoke but at 10,000 I was getting a buzz off the second hand.
Obviously not the smartest thing to do for a variety of reasons but there are no regs against it.

I've also read that the tars in cigarette smoke can damage the delicate gyros in the instruments. And imagine what all that smoke in a small enclosed space would do to your lungs, if it will damage a mechanical device.
Exactly! You'd think it'd be a good idea for the FAA to regulate smoking in the cockpit, but then that would be getting in the way of people's freedom. Even if I did smoked, I would never light up when full attention needs to be available for any emergency situations.
I think it was in "North Star Over my Shoulder" where Bob Buck was describing his being a FO with a captain who would smoke cigars during the flights. Imagine that... We sure have changed as a country over the last 50-60 years! I don't imagine the SW pilots would have been fired back then either.

And I think that it was in Fate of the Hunter where Ernie Gann talked about a captain who would strike matches and hold them in front of Ernie's face when he was flying at night. Ernie would blow them out and he'd light another. Talk about learning to deal with distractions!