Your Solution for Aircraft FGC System Testing by AMETEK AMERON

April 11, 2022

Your Solution for Aircraft FGC System Testing by AMETEK AMERON

Headshot of Alex Lekhtinen  By Alex Lekhtinen, Director of Business Development at AMETEK AMERON

Let’s imagine you are designing a new aircraft – wings, engines, and all. One of the requirements you need to address in order to certify your new aircraft is to make sure the aircraft has adequate fire protection for critical systems such as powerplants or cargo compartments inaccessible in-flight.

This system certification requirement is reflected in FAR 29.1195 Fire Extinguishing Systems, paragraph (d). This calls for the airframe manufacturer to demonstrate “… by either actual or simulated flight tests that under critical airflow conditions in flight the discharge of the extinguishing agent in each designated fire zone will provide an agent concentration capable of extinguishing fires in that zone and of minimizing the probability of reignition.”

You may consider placing a fire extinguishing bottle (or two) on the aircraft to quickly extinguish the fire in the potential “fire zones,” but how do you confirm that the fire suppression capacity you designed is sufficient enough to comply with the system certification requirements?

Of course, there are certain empirical approaches fire suppression system designers utilize for sizing the fire bottle and estimating required amount of fire suppression agent. However, the real-life agent distribution patterns may be significantly affected by, for example, engine nacelle hardware features or in-flight airflow through the protected volume - sometimes to the point where it’s close to impossible to accurately predict the agent concentration levels. The actual test is needed.

AMERON, a brand of AMETEK MRO, specializes in global aviation safety equipment, including repair and overhaul solutions, 650+ FAA/EASA-approved PMA parts and components, and a growing OEM portfolio. Serving customers for 50 years, AMERON has pioneered numerous advances in aerospace fire suppression systems and is a leader in pressurized gas systems, fire extinguishers, and pressurized stored energy systems.

AMERON’s Fire Extinguisher Gas Chromatograph System (aka FGC System) has been specifically designed to address the industry needs for fire suppression system certification testing. AMERON’s FGC system is FAA-approved for gas concentration testing inside fire hazard compartments, such as engine nacelles, auxiliary power units (APU), or cargo compartments.

When AMERON is selected by an aircraft manufacturer to design and develop a fire extinguishing system for a new aircraft platform, the agent concentration test is always an integral part of our program deliverables. However, we also offer this test as a service for certification testing of fire extinguishing systems made by other industry suppliers.

The AMERON FGC system has a modular construction which provides certain flexibility with how it can be installed on a test aircraft. The system utilizes 12 detector channels that can be used for measuring concentration of either Halon 1301 or HFC-125. 12 gas sample tubes are routed to specific pre-determined areas within the fire hazard compartments. Discharged gas is drawn into the chromatograph unit via the samples tubes by the vacuum pump system. Analog readings from each channel are digitized and analyzed using either proprietary or off-the-shelf data analysis software. With the installed system weight equivalent to the weight of an average adult person, this is one of the lightest FGC systems on the market.

AMERON takes complete responsibility for having the system ready for the flight test, from the test module logistics to the system configuration and pre-test calibration. While our personnel will not be aboard the aircraft during the fire extinguishing agent concentration test flight – though no doubt they would love to – the system is easy to activate and operate. Once back on the ground, AMERON personnel will take care of downloading the test measurements, analyzing and reporting the results, and recalibrating the system making it ready for the next round of testing.

Over the years, AMERON has conducted dozens of successful aircraft fire suppression system certification tests using its proprietary FGC system on both AMERON-designed and third-party fire extinguishing systems, in North America, Asia, and Europe.

Contact us to discuss how AMERON can help you with your fire extinguishing certification test requirements. 

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