The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Technical Committee on Airport Facilities has voted to approve revisions to the NFPA 409 standard for aircraft hangar fire protection requirements. The changes, as championed by NATA, call for the creation of a new risk-based process for determining and defining hangar fire protection requirements.
They would also exempt Group II hangars—typical business aviation industry hangars between 12,500 and 40,000 sq ft—where hazardous operations are not performed from the fire foam system requirements currently present in NFPA 409. Hazardous operations are defined in the revision as “including but not limited to fuel transfer, welding, torch cutting, torch soldering, hot work (such as cutting, brazing, or grinding), spray painting, oxygen service, composite repairs, fuel system or fuel tank maintenance, aircraft cabling, wiring changes, or initial electrical system testing.”
“NATA is pleased that the Technical Committee acknowledged that the requirements for foam in Group II hangars have not kept pace with the current risk of fire in modern hangar operations and aircraft,” stated Megan Eisenstein, the trade association’s managing director of industry and regulatory affairs. “The low risk of fuel spill fires in non-hazardous operations hangars warrants modified protection requirements.”
If no written objections are submitted by the NFPA’s membership, the revisions will be ratified at the association’s annual meeting, which is slated for next June.