NTSB recommends fire intervention methods for cargo aircraft

December 12, 2012

Washington – The Federal Aviation Administration should require cargo-carrying aircraft to install additional measures to prevent and suppress fires, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Current FAA regulations require cargo compartments to be constructed from flame-resistant materials and to use oxygen-deprivation-based fire-suppression systems. NTSB recommends (.pdf file) the following interventions:

  • Early detection systems of fires originating inside cargo containers and pallets
  • Cargo containers constructed of materials that meet the same flammability requirements of cargo compartments
  • Sufficient “active” fire-suppression systems such as flooding suppression in all aircraft cargo compartments and containers

The recommendations were made following three NTSB investigations of cargo aircraft fires that concluded current regulations were not effective in alerting crewmembers of fires and assisting in suppression. The incidents included a substantially damaged aircraft in Philadelphia in 2006; an aircraft that crashed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in 2010, killing two flight crewmembers; and a crash off the coast of South Korea in 2011 that killed both crewmembers on board.