Blinding smoke in the cockpit may be one of the most dangerous, yet least known hazards among certain sectors of the aviation industry.
86% of domestic Cargo aircraft are now EVAS equipped, thousands of corporate operators, executive, and VIP aircraft have also chosen to implement EVAS to protect against the hazards of smoke on the flight deck, yet only one major U.S domestic passenger airline has protected itself from blinding smoke in the cockpit. The vast majority of the flying public and most commercial passenger airlines still fly entirely unprotected if smoke becomes blinding to a pilot.
The threat is not just to those flying on passenger aircraft, the passengers and crew, an incident in 2012 in Dubai resulted in a 747 just barely missing an apartment complex as the pilot was left completely blinded by smoke before the plane crashed. The result of that incident became the impetus of over 72% of the world's cargo aircraft, and over 86% of U.S domestic cargo aircraft choosing to become EVAS equipped.
11.2.6 In the event that the other controls and mitigations listed above have not been effective, the crew may experience smoke in the flight deck that reduces visibility (protective breathing equipment is already required but does not necessarily provide visibility). There are means to displace smoke physically in order to make the flight critical instruments and electronic systems visible in the event of significant loss of visibility in the flight deck. To be most effective, a manufacturer should align any vision augmentation system with the capability and duration of the protective breathing system.
We hope that air carriers the world over do all they can to quickly address the critical safety issue that is at the core of safe flight - a pilot being able to see in order to fly.