Use of oxygen and protective breathing equipment . The regulations pertaining to the provision and use of oxygen systems are contained in Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 20.4. These regulations apply to all Australian aircraft and the supplemental oxygen requirements for sailplanes can be summarised as follows

  • The Pilot in command must be provided with, and continuously use, supplemental oxygen at all times during which the aircraft flies above 10,000 feet altitude.
  • A second pilot must be provided with supplemental oxygen:
  1. in respect of any period exceeding 30 minutes during which the aircraft flies between 10,000 feet altitude and Flight Level 120 (both inclusive); and
  2. at all times during which the aircraft flies above Flight Level 120 and must use supplemental oxygen at all times during which the aircraft flies above Flight Level 140.
  • A passenger must be provided with supplemental oxygen if the flight is longer than 30 minutes above 10 000 feet altitude and up to and including Flight Level 140. The passenger must be provided with supplemental oxygen during all periods that the aircraft flies above Flight Level 140.


Oxygen Services

Members may have found it difficult and expensive to get a privately-owned cylinder refilled. You may even have found it impossible to get the cylinder tested and re-certified. What becomes quickly apparent is that the major oxygen suppliers have no interest, and make no provision for, filling cylinders which are not their own. That is, you can rent cylinders from them but not supply your own. This approach severely restricts the options in getting re-fills and many locations have only aviation type outlets willing to assist, at a price appropriate to their industry.

Airborne oxygen cylinders, whether fabricated from steel, aluminium or composite materials, are required to undergo hydro-static pressure testing to 1.67 times rated maximum pressure every five years. The ID of the testing station and date of test is then imprinted on the shoulder of the cylinder. Note: Cylinders that are not current cannot legally be re-filled. Most steel and aluminium cylinders have an unlimited life-span, but composite cylinders must be retired from service no later than 15 years from date of manufacture.

So, members may face two challenges – firstly having the cylinder tested (if required) and secondly getting the cylinder re-filled with Aviators Dry Breathing Oxygen (ADBO). These two services are rarely available from the one vendor – often testing stations do not re-fill cylinders and, furthermore, re-filling stations may not supply ADBO, although practically all will supply medical oxygen. In practical terms this should not be considered a problem as medical oxygen (and also welding oxygen) meets the quality specification for ADBO. Present-day oxygen production technology and quality control has for ever dispelled the old-wives-tales of unacceptable moisture levels and cylinder purging procedures between oxygen “grades”.

The following links take members to known sources of cylinder hydrostatic testing and re-certification, cylinder re-filling and service centres which are sympathetic to our needs and willing to be open minded regarding cost for service.

Oxygen equipment providers, Service organisations and  Refill outlets

Canberra Gliding Club ACT   02 6452 3994 Bottle refills
John Cameron Aviation NSW Bankstown 02 9791 0155 Bottle testing & refills. Ask for Peter Rainer
Go Soaring          QLD            07 5499 4636 Mountain High Oxygen Systems
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. VIC Mooroolbark 03 9725 1577 Bottle testing
Scuba repair and service centre VIC Moorabbin 03 9555 5777 Hydro testing, bottle cleaning and filling
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. WA Jandakot 08 9332 7655 Mountain High Agent
Gascon Systems VIC     Balwyn North     03 9484 4190

Design and manufacture specialised gas control equipment and provide a service to the Medical gas markets.

Aircraft Spruce USA    

Oxygen monitoring sensors

If you have other reliable sources in your state or city who can assist in this area, please contact the web administrator with details to enable inclusion and expansion of the following information.


Since Miden Medical ceased supplying Aviators Dry Breathing Oxygen some months ago many glider pilots have had difficulty in sourcing an alternative oxygen supply. All of the diving and SCUBA outlets which offer their clients oxygen re-fills are purchasing and re-filling with Medical Oxygen, mainly from Supagas, but some from BOC. The medical oxygen produced by these companies meets the specification (referCivil Aviation Order 108.26) for Aviators Dry Breathing Oxygen (ASBO) in all respects, as does commercial (welding) oxygen. All three “grades” are supplied from one common manufacturing process – they are thus identical – but packaged, valved and labelled differently to suit the market and meet applicable Australian Standards.

In terms of delivery cylinder cleanliness and quality management, all medical and ADBO cylinders are completely evacuated prior to re-filling with oxygen. Commercial oxygen cylinders are equipped with a pressure retaining device in the cylinder valving which maintains a low pressure (about 0.5 bar) in the cylinder even if the main valve is fully open – thus no risk of contamination from the external environment.

We have identified four companies which are willing to re-fill portable glider oxygen cylinders, fitted with the standard CGA-540 screw thread connections, with medical oxygen. These are listed in the services table below. The re-filling cost will comprise (1) a labour cost component, plus (2) the cost of the volume of oxygen charged, which will depend on the cylinder size and final pressure.

Indications are that the costs for the common Mountain High cylinder sizes will be approximately as follows – i.e. about half of cost of ADBO from Miden.

AL 180 cylinder:                                  $18

AL 248 cylinder:                                  $23     

AL 415 cylinder:                                  $28

AL 682 cylinder:                                  $43

Avox steel 22 cu. ft. cylinder: $37

There are a number of common-sense protocols to follow when dealing with the re-fill station of your choice:

  1. Make absolutely sure that your cylinder is still within the 5-year validity period for hydrostatic testing. The testers mark and date of the last test is most commonly stamped on the shoulder of the cylinder (e.g 10/12).   That is, tested October 2012 and valid to end of October 2017. Note that a cylinder with a charge (i.e.still containing oxygen) may continue to be used even if it is past its re-test date, but must not be re-filled until it is re-validated.

  2. Contact the re-fill station ahead of time to give them a heads-up regarding your intentions. Most will be able to do re-fills while you wait, but don’t just turn up and expect it.

  3. The oxygen cost will be based on the nominal cylinder capacity so don’t expect a discount for the gas remaining in a partially full cylinder.

  4. Make sure that your cylinder valve is closed and the CGA-540 screw coupling is clean and securely wrapped or capped when presenting it for re-filling. A new Zip-Lok plastic bag is useful here if the original soft plastic caps are not available.

  5. You may be asked to sign a declaration that the oxygen is solely for aviation use (e.g. as opposed to re-filling paint-ball guns). Please cooperate with the supplier – this requirement is likely to be waived as they get to know us.







Dive Gear Australia

11/53-57 Rimfire Drive,

Hallam, Vic 3803

Corry Allen,
Tyler Walker


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Academy of Scuba

267 Burke Rd,

Glen Iris, Vic 3146

Trav Wellington


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Scuba Repairs & Service Centre

65 Levanswell Rd,

Moorabbin, Vic 3189

John McCormick


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All-About Scuba

17/30-34 Maffra St

Coolaroo, Vic 3048

Ronald Lelieveld

0417 383 576

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