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Monday, 08 July, 2019

NATA Teams with the University of Maryland to Tackle Foam Fire Suppression System Discharges in Aircraft Hangars

Washington, DC, July 8, 2019 – Last week, NATA and the University of Maryland signed a sponsored research agreement in an effort to review the causes, hazards, and associated costs of accidental discharges of foam fire suppression systems. The project will also address high-expansion and low-expansion foam systems, in addition to determining the rationale for the requirement of foam systems included in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 409 for aircraft hangars.

“There is significant uncertainty surrounding the benefits versus potential hazards related to hangar foam fire suppression systems,” NATA President and CEO Gary Dempsey stated. “NATA members have repeatedly voiced concern that the cost of installing these foam systems dramatically increases the expense of new hangars, while providing limited risk mitigation due to the low incidence of hangar fires.”

Feedback from the industry indicates the risk of accidental discharge of these systems is high and such discharges include significant costs related to clean-up, aircraft damage, and possible environmental damage.

“NATA is very pleased to contract with the University of Maryland’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering and Dr. James Milke to collect and analyze existing data to address the industry’s questions. We believe that this analysis will confirm what our members have expressed – that the cost of installation, maintenance, and clean-up from false discharges far exceeds the risk reduction of these systems,” Dempsey added.

The revision cycle for the NFPA 409 standard is currently underway and NATA’s proposal and industry comments are due by November 14, 2019. The NFPA 409 Technical Committee will review industry comments and internal processes will occur during late 2019 through mid-2021. The next edition of NFPA 409 will be published in early 2021.

If you have any questions on the project or would like to support the effort, please contact NATA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Megan Eisenstein, at meisenstein@nata.aero.

For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or schambers@nata.aero

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for over 75 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.