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Thread: Aircraft Firewall

  1. #1
    Registered User Tom Nalevanko's Avatar
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    Aircraft Firewall

    Ok; you are at 10,000 ft. and the flight is uneventful so far. But then you notice a bit of smoke and conclude that your engine is on fire. You try to cut the fuel but the valve seems stuck and the fire seems to continue...

    Just a little drama to start the thread.

    Of course your airplane has a stainless steel, fiberfrax-lined firewall; but what about the upper cowling and windshield. Won't the flames burn the cowling away and melt the windshield before BBQing you, the pilot. Or is my mental model of flame dynamics all wrong. What say the experts?

  2. #2
    Moderator Topaz's Avatar
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    Re: Aircraft Firewall

    Hardly an expert, but most cowlings vent cooling airflow out the bottom. It's likely the worst of the heat would go that way, too. It should take a fair amount of time for the heat to burn through the upper cowling, assuming it's metal. Should be enough time for a decent and landing, I would think.
    "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry David Thoreau

    Design Project: Conceptual Design of an "Inexpensive" Single-Seat Motorglider
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    Registered User RacerCFIIDave's Avatar
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    Re: Aircraft Firewall

    Well...we have all been taught...and I have taught all my students to: in this situation... dive the airplane at a reasonable margin below Vne based on turbulence and blow the fire out by leaning its mixture to the point of extinguishment...

    I have to admit to never liking this option very much...

    This is why I plan on installing a racecar style Aqueous Film Forming Foam fire supression system in anything I build or own...beginning with the raceplane...

    This system will have nozzles in the engine area...the battery area (if different) and in the area of any fuel or oil reserviors...


    Dave
    "When the Government fears the People there is Liberty, When the People fear the Government, there is Tyrrany." Thomas Jefferson

  4. #4
    Registered User rtfm's Avatar
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    Re: Aircraft Firewall

    Hi,
    Sounds interesting. I have recently had a good mate (Paul Bruty - in the Aussie gyro world) crash his gyro and burn. I believe he is still in hospital and the crash was last year). So I'm interested in your fire fighting measures. Can you provide links, details etc? I'd like to look into this.

    Regards,
    Duncan

  5. #5
    Registered User Tom Nalevanko's Avatar
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    Re: Aircraft Firewall

    The composite aircraft that catch on fire and make it to the ground usually end up as an outline of ashes somewhat resembling a plane. I wonder about the ones that don't make it?

  6. #6
    Registered User RacerCFIIDave's Avatar
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    Re: Aircraft Firewall

    Quote Originally Posted by rtfm View Post
    Hi,
    Sounds interesting. I have recently had a good mate (Paul Bruty - in the Aussie gyro world) crash his gyro and burn. I believe he is still in hospital and the crash was last year). So I'm interested in your fire fighting measures. Can you provide links, details etc? I'd like to look into this.

    Regards,
    Duncan
    I'm not sure of the best source for racecar stuff in NZ...but I'm equally sure it exists...basically the system I plan to install in the raceplane and everything else I build or buy is the same as in any Formula car...

    Here in the States...I will likely source it from www.pegasusautoracing.com

    The system consists of a pressure cylinder loaded with fire supression agent...either Halon or AFFF, (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) my personal favorite...and aluminium hard line running to the nozzle areas, the nozzles themselves...and either a pull cable or electronic actuator...(I like the pull cable)

    They make a lightweight version that uses a Carbon Fiber cylinder...I believe the whole system will come in under 6lbs...
    Pull the handle...the fire goes out...

    A Nomex suit helps too... I have seen Bill Simpson set himself on fire more than once...it is a hellofa sales pitch! After watching him douse himself in gasoline and carry on his sales pitch while fully ablaze... its hard to not believe in Nomex...

    In Safety, and hoping for Liberty

    Dave
    Last edited by RacerCFIIDave; March 18th, 2008 at 09:01 PM. Reason: bad link
    "When the Government fears the People there is Liberty, When the People fear the Government, there is Tyrrany." Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
    Registered User RacerCFIIDave's Avatar
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    Re: Fire Suppression System

    The system I would reccommend, having used it in racecars for years...

    Is the OMP AFFF system... from pegasusautoracing.com

    Part Number 2465-004

    $510.00

    Hope that helps...

    Fire sux....

    Dave

    "When the Government fears the People there is Liberty, When the People fear the Government, there is Tyrrany." Thomas Jefferson

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Midniteoyl's Avatar
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    Re: Fire Suppression System

    Or, you could paint your protection on...

    http://www.contegointernational.com/
    Jim

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    Express 2000FT (hopeful - Again)

  9. #9
    Registered User RacerCFIIDave's Avatar
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    Re: Fire Suppression System

    Quote Originally Posted by Midniteoyl View Post
    Or, you could paint your protection on...

    http://www.contegointernational.com/
    Very cool stuff...I will file that one away for several projects...starting with the Mercedes 126C I am rebuilding with a veggie fueled hot-rod Diesel...

    But... I think I prefer both... that bottle of AFFF sure buys you a bunch of time at least... cheap at $510...

    When asked once why I carry a gun...(very angrily by an Asheville hippie) I replied..."I carry this gun for the same reason there is a fire extinguisher bolted to the floor of my truck... I hope I never need either one...but if I do...neither one is gonna help me much at home..." (and yes...NC is an open carry State...)


    Dave
    Last edited by RacerCFIIDave; March 19th, 2008 at 03:49 AM. Reason: left an item out
    "When the Government fears the People there is Liberty, When the People fear the Government, there is Tyrrany." Thomas Jefferson

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