Strategies for Improved Fire Detection Response Times in Aircraft Cargo Compartments

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Prompt fire detection in cargo compartments on board transport aircraft is an important safety feature. Concern has been expressed for the activation time of contemporary detection technologies installed on aircraft. This project will deliver a continuation of research on the issues that have been identified relative to fire detection improvements in cargo compartments on aircraft, with a particular emphasis on freighters. Gas sensors and dual wavelength detectors were demonstrated in a previous phase to be responsive to fires in the previous experiment program. Detectors placed inside a Unit Loading Device (ULD) responded quickly to the array of fire sources. Thus, a further exploration of these observations is conducted including wireless technology along with an analysis of the effects of leakage rates on fire signatures inside ULDs. One primary goal is to assess the differences in fire detection time for detectors located within ULD versus those located on the ceiling of the cargo compartment for fires which originate in a ULD. The results indicated the detector location with the shortest activation time is inside of the ULD. Within the ULD, the wireless detector outperformed both air sampling detectors, however, the results could vary if threshold levels were more restrictive.