AerospaceFan
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A Question About Fire Suppression

Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:05 am

Years ago, I recall seeing what seems to me to be FAA test footage of the flammability of aircraft interiors. Doubtless, much progress has been made concerning the use of fire retardant in interior fixtures and so forth.

Query -- why don't the latest aircraft incorporate fire suppression systems, such as foam dispensers or inert gas, etc.? Or are such systems already in existence? (I don't seem to ever recall seeing any references in standard passenger safety instructions suggesting that any such systems exist, at least in passenger compartment.)

I realize that with passenger compartments, there might be issues as to breathability, but surely that can be handled, since oxygen masks are already provided. Perhaps such suppression systems can be installed in cargo holds, at least, assuming that they aren't already. Is it an economics issue?

Maybe this could be a safety measure that could be considered in future airliner designs. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

[Edited 2005-12-22 00:11:33]
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DeltaGuy
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:10 am

I'd think the only thing you'll want to spray people with is water- which does nothing for an electrical or fuel fire, which is precisely what you'd normally have on a plane...unless someone lit their inflight mag on fire  Wink

Anything else, like foam, would be downright messy...imagine sitting in the cabin and being doused with it to the point where you couldn't walk..yes, you'd be uncharred, but I'm sure someone would find a liability for it. Halon, no thanks, unless you want everyone onboard dead.

The fire supression systems in the cargo bins are fairley good, as long as the smoke detectors are in fair order. I think maybe the biggest obstacle to foam, etc, would be the weight of these said systems- just a shot though.

DeltaGuy
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AerospaceFan
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:16 am

^^Good point about the possible "sticky situation" with foam.  Wink

I suppose that whoever invents an effective substitute suppression agent that doesn't have any of the negative features of foam -- for example, dissolves quickly into a nontoxic gas -- would be quite the multi-millionaire. Such an agent wouldn't just be limited to use on aircraft; imagine having such a system in buildings, etc., which could render water-based suppression systems -- and attendant water damage -- a thing of the past.

I'm surprised no one has invented it yet.  Smile
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PhilSquares
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:21 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
but surely that can be handled, since oxygen masks are already provided.

Not quite true. Granted there are oxygen masks that will deploy, but you don't want them deployed in a fire due to the effects of oxygen will have on the flame source.

Secondly, while O2 is supplied, it's not like it is in the cockpit. What you get in the cabin is a diluter system, not a pressure system. You will have ambient cabin air mixed in the mask system. So any additives to the cabin will be inhaled by the passengers.
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futureuapilot
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:24 pm

This isn't inside the aircraft, but it's still not a good situation...

http://www.micom.net/oops/BubbleBath1.jpg

You were supposed to Simulate the fire surpression test!!!


http://www.micom.net/oops/BubbleBath2.jpg

-Sam
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Grbld
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:35 pm

Hmm, I suppose those are the pics of the Hawkers in the hangar?

There are also portable Halon bottles in the cabin, to be used on anything from toilet fires to electrical fires (where you can't use water) or spills with dangerous goods (where using water might make things worse). Halon is extremely effective in putting out the fire, but it's also not very healthy and as such, the aviation industry is the only place now where Halon may be used.

The tradeoff with Halon between some potential breathing problems and putting out the fire quickly is evident. A small cabin fire can turn in to a flashover in a matter of only a few minutes, where the fire suddenly rapidly engulfs the cabin. That is why a real cabin fire is one of the most urgent emergencies that exist, much more so than an engine fire or failure.

There was a situation with a Saudia aircraft (I think it was a Tristar) that had a cabin fire but the flight crew didn't fully realize the danger and as they slowly taxied off the runway, most people in the back burned to death after a flashover had occurred.

All materials in the cabin (except for the passengers and their stuff) have been certified according to certain fire resistant criteria.

Grbld
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:37 pm

Quoting FutureUApilot (Reply 4):

Pics dont display.

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
such suppression systems can be installed in cargo holds

Cargo holds are Equipped with Detection & Extinguishing systems on most Aircraft.
regds
MEL
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Woodreau
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:26 am

Quoting Grbld (Reply 5):
the aviation industry is the only place now where Halon may be used.

It is also used in the maritime industry where Halon is considered the only effective means of putting out an engine room fire. (other than the ship sinking.)
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Starlionblue
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:02 am

Quoting Woodreau (Reply 7):
Quoting Grbld (Reply 5):
the aviation industry is the only place now where Halon may be used.

It is also used in the maritime industry where Halon is considered the only effective means of putting out an engine room fire. (other than the ship sinking.)

Halon is also used in some computer rooms.


The British Airtours 737 accident in 1985, with 55 fatalities on the ground, was a wake up call of sorts for the industry. The fatalities were mostly from inhalation of toxic fumes given off by the interior fittings. Fire safety standards for interior fittings were completely revised. Nowadays, the stuff inside a plane is very hard to set alight.

Further details: http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19850822-0

[Edited 2005-12-23 01:02:41]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Grbld
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:13 pm

Quoting Woodreau (Reply 7):
It is also used in the maritime industry where Halon is considered the only effective means of putting out an engine room fire. (other than the ship sinking.)

Thanks for the info, Woodreau!
 
jarheadk5
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Sat Dec 24, 2005 2:26 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
Perhaps such suppression systems can be installed in cargo holds, at least, assuming that they aren't already. Is it an economics issue?

FAR 125 states all aircraft over 20pax capacity or max cargo capacity of 6k lbs. or more must have some sort of fire detection & extinguishing systems in the cargo hold(s). Depending on the compartment's classification and accessibility, this can be as simple as a crewmember and a hand-held fire bottle, or as complicated as a multi-sensor smoke & fire detector network and a built-in crew-activated extinguisher system.
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lotsamiles
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Sat Dec 24, 2005 5:02 am

There are currently some efforts in the industry to develop a fire suppression system for the main deck of a freighter. However, the volume is very large and thus to fill it with foam or anything else means that you have to carry around a lot of weight for all the bottles and agent. This is mainly envisioned for long over water flights where you can't get on the ground quickly.

On a freighter with a class E compartment fire suppression is provided by the crew members with hand held extinguishers! However, in practical application no crew members want to be exposed to an in-flight fire. Thus freighters are designed so that the crew can depressurize the main cargo compartment and starve the fire, landing as soon as possible. The air distribution system has to be designed to keep any smoke out of the cockpit so that the crew can avoid any contact with potentially toxic smoke. Of course, this only works on a freighter where you have no passengers (or passengers with personal oxygen supplies that last far longer than pax PSU's).

The lower lobes still typically have class C compartments with full detection and halon suppression.

Regards,
Lotsamiles
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:40 pm

Quoting Lotsamiles (Reply 11):
On a freighter with a class E compartment fire suppression is provided by the crew members with hand held extinguishers! However, in practical application no crew members want to be exposed to an in-flight fire

Any data on an Class E Fire being extinguished on board.
regds
MEL
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Whiskeyflyer
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:02 pm

the great news is the replacement for Halon has been approved by the FAA (currently sole supplier is the manuafacturer of the Eclipse aircraft)
Its called PhostrEx and uses enviromentally friendly gases as it does not deplete the ozone layer (Halon is banned for all excpet aviation, but with this new stuff, the regs may change)

Click on, for more info:

http://www.eclipseaviation.com/index...room&task=viewpr&Itemid=348&id=853
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: A Question About Fire Suppression

Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:23 pm

The Advantages of PhostrEx over Halon sure sound very Encouraging.
regds
MEL
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