Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 36

AIRPORT GURU
AUTHOR Curt Castagna

NEW AIRCRAFT HANGAR FIRE SUPPRESSION STANDARDS:

More Risks than Rewards?

AIRCRAFT HANGARS pose unique challenges for fire protection
since they differ in size and use. They are often large structures
with high ceilings that house high-value business and
commercial aircraft, their support equipment and associated
maintenance activities. These uses have traditionally required
a higher level of fire detection and suppression. However,
modern hangars and aircraft are equipped with technologies
providing more effective and sophisticated protection from
potential ignition sources than ever before. While fire detection
systems in hangars must adequately address unusual heights
and distances, a rapid response must be balanced against the
protection of life and property in the event of false alarms and
consider advances in technology over the past two decades.
The National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA), which sets
standards for f ire suppression and
building codes, has proposed a new
Standard on Aircraft Hangars (i.e.,
NFPA 409) requiring the installation of
foam fire suppression systems in Group
II hangars, which are those covering
more than 12,000 square feet and with
main doors up to 28 feet high. These
changes are intended to help safeguard
life and property through the proper
construction and f ire protection
of hangars used for aircraft storage,
maintenance or related activities.
However, many in the aviation industry
argue the risks outweigh the rewards in

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CURT CASTAGNA

Curt Castagna, president and CEO of
Aeroplex/Aerolease Group, is a member
of the Los Angeles County Airport
Commission, president of the Van Nuys
and Long Beach Airport Associations,
and a board member of the National Air
Transportation Association. A certified
private and instrument-rated pilot,
he has instructed courses in aviation
administration at Cal State Los Angeles
for over two decades.

terms of negative economic impacts and
the numerous hazards associated with
inadvertent foam discharges.
Notably, the standards contained in
NFPA 409 have no authority of their
own, but become primary requirements
when adopted by a local jurisdiction
through its fire marshal or building and
safety department. There are currently
more than 300 codes and standards in
place, with interpretations varying
at the local level by authorities who
exercise considerable discretion.
In terms of challenges to airport
businesses, proposed changes to NFPA
409 contain two major mandates that
place a tremendous financial burden
on aircraft hangar owners without
measurably increasing safet y to
structures or personnel. First, Group
II hangars must incorporate foam fire
suppression systems that require an
enormous amount of water to operate
and, second, foam and water must
be collected in a cistern or other safe
containment device. By some estimates,
this equipment may cost approximately
triple that of deluge type sprinkler
systems (which typically allow a choice
of water or foam) and, in some cases,

36 \ AIRPORTBUSINESS / JUNE/JULY 2019

may even equal the cost of the hangar
itself.
In a survey conducted by the
National Air Transportation Association
(NATA) - the leading organization
representing aviation service businesses
such as fixed base operators, charter
prov ider s, a ircra f t management
companies, and maintenance and
repair organizations - over 77 percent
of responding members stated the
costs associated with implementation
of these changes would prevent
their construction of new hangars.
Also, some companies are building
smaller hangars to avoid the expense
of installing a foam fire suppression
system plus its associated maintenance
and operational costs. For example,
NATA estimates the incremental cost
for a foam fire suppression system in
a general aviation hangar ranges from



Airport_Business_June-July_2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Airport_Business_June-July_2019

Inside the Fence
Industry Update
A Forward Look Into the Past
The Rise of Secondary Airports
Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Find Success in Fuel Training
A Stream of New Revenue Management
Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport Guru
Legal Matters
Product Focus
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 1
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 2
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 3
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 4
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 5
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Inside the Fence
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 7
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Industry Update
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 9
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Forward Look Into the Past
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 11
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 12
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 13
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - The Rise of Secondary Airports
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 15
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 17
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 18
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 19
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 20
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 21
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 22
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 23
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 24
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 25
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Find Success in Fuel Training
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 27
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 28
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 29
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Stream of New Revenue Management
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 31
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 32
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 33
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 35
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Airport Guru
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 37
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Legal Matters
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 39
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Product Focus
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 41
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 42
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 43
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 44
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 45
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