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Monday, 22 February, 2021

UMD Report Focuses on Foam Fire Suppression System Discharges in Aircraft Hangars

The University of Maryland’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering released a report titled Review of Foam Fire Suppression System Discharges in Aircraft Hangars as part of a research study on the impacts of low-expansion foam, high-expansion foam and deluge systems in aircraft hangars. The report includes incidents experienced by commercial airlines and the US DoD and provides data on fuel spills compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard as well as a search of fire incidents in aircraft hangars in the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). 

Key Report Highlights:

  • Information in the USCG database indicates only 1 in-hangar fuel spill occurs each year in the U.S. (no information is available whether any of these spills resulted in a fire). 
  • In a survey conducted by the research team to commercial airlines and the US DoD, 242 of 245 incidents of foam discharges that occurred predominantly over a 17 year period occurred despite no fire being present. 
  • The discharges without a fire, i.e. “accidental discharges” comprised 98.8% of the total number of discharges. In one of the three incidents that included a foam discharge due to a fire, only one is confirmed to include a fuel spill.

This report supplements data included in a 2019 report that outlined code requirements for fixed foam fire suppression systems in Group II aircraft hangars and also  reviewed the causes, hazards, and associated costs of accidental discharges of foam fire suppression systems. NATA and the University of Maryland signed a sponsored research agreement for this report to be conducted. 

Read the report here.

For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for more than 80 years. Representing nearly 3,700 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.