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Old 05-03-2011, 04:14 PM
170 driver 170 driver is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Walterboro SC
Posts: 145
Default Engine compartment fire extinguisher

With all the talk about fires, I was wondering if anyone has an extinguisher that can be discharged into the cowling while in flight like jets and helicopters do? This seems like a nice safety option if the price is reasonable. I have made my interest in this type of system known to a major manufacturer of these systems and told them there are many of us who may be interested if the price is reasonable. Since this is a non certified experimental market, the cost should be reasonable according to my contact. They are looking into it now.
Jim Poe
RV9 First Flight 2/23/09
s/n 91416
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:25 PM
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randyintejas randyintejas is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Tyler, Texas
Posts: 350

I think there is to much air flow in the cowl for it to be effective. Others have talked about this.
RV 7
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IO360 9:5:1 AFP
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Tyler, Texas
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:44 PM
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RVG8tor RVG8tor is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Olympia, WA
Posts: 1,236
Default Fire warning

What I was thinking of is a warning system. I have an extra OAT probe and I thought a simple temperature probe in the engine compartment with an alarm set at something other than what normal compartment temperate would be. I have not pursued this since I am still trying to finish the build! This idea would however be fairly low cost to implement. My thinking is putting the probe low in the center of the firewall since all air goes down this way and so if a fire started up high the overall temperature at the exit would rise. A fire loop system would be idea as well but I have not seen one for light airplanes.

Food for thought

Mike "Nemo" Elliott
RV-8A (First Flight 12-12-12!)
Olympia, WA

Dues Paid 2017
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:29 PM
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RV7Guy RV7Guy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,804
Default Safecraft

I'm going to put the Safecraft AS5 in my new 7. It is only about 5 lbs. Whether it is 100% effective or not it has to be better than a hand held extinguisher in the cabin when the fire is under the hood!!!

The plan, 2 nozzles in the engine compartment, 1 in the cabin. Also, a couple of yet to be determined fire sensors in the engine compartment.

Here's the Spruce link.

More specific info at
Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler AZ
RV-7 N717EE-Flying (Sold)
RV-7 N707EE-Building
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:34 PM
David Z David Z is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario
Posts: 282
Default Elements of fire

Fires require three things, remove any one of them and the fire goes out. Fuel, ignition and oxygen.

All fire extinguishers do is cut the supply of oxygen to the fire. Once the extinguishing agent is used up, the supply of oxygen returns, and the fire potentially re-ignites

The first and most important step is to turn off the supply of gasoline forward of the firewall. With no gasoline, the most flamable substance is now removed.
Now turn off the mags/ei and the electrical system. That will eliminate most sources of ignition, and hopefully prevent re-ignition.
Any remaining or self sustaining fire [burning wires, oil, etc.] can potentially be put out by an extinguishing agent.

It's a great idea, and if the right system is available, I would add one when the time comes. But it's not a one step solution to solve all problems, just another step and added level of protection.
RV-8 Empennage Passed Pre-Close Inspection
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:53 PM
170 driver 170 driver is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Walterboro SC
Posts: 145

There has been alot of research on chemicals since Halon came out,,,there are several other types either available or soon to be available,,,some sound promising for a high airflow environment like inside the cowl. Like a liquid or vaporized powder that coats everything...possibly could put a nozzle or two in the ram air intake area on top of the engine and one behind the acessory case and one under the carb area...
Just some thoughts and some ideas.
Jim Poe
RV9 First Flight 2/23/09
s/n 91416
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:30 PM
TS Flightlines TS Flightlines is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Ridgeland, SC
Posts: 2,028
Default FWF-fire nozzles

Back in the race car days, we had a fire supression system that discharged both in the cabinn and under the hood (cowl). The cabin system was MANDATORY. I dont know about aircraft, but I do know the the NASCAR supression systems do work.
Maybe its some to look into.
Tom Swearengen, TS Flightlines LLC
Teflon Hose Assemblies for Experimentals
Proud Vendor for RV1, Donator to VAF
RV7 Tail Kit Completed, Fuse started-Pay as I go Plan
Ridgeland, SC
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:44 PM
170 driver 170 driver is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Walterboro SC
Posts: 145

Halon does a fine job of evacuating the oxygen from an area,,,probably not a good thing in an aircraft cabin at altitude,,It may overcome the pilot and then there is a passed out pilot in a plane on fire and some people have said that it is not all that effective in the cowl with a high airflow, it disburses too quickly I suppose...I guess there is no magic bullet just yet,,,but the research is still ongoing I'm sure.
Jim Poe
RV9 First Flight 2/23/09
s/n 91416
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Old 05-03-2011, 07:02 PM
rubber314chicken rubber314chicken is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 69

Originally Posted by RVG8tor View Post
What I was thinking of is a warning system. I have an extra OAT probe and I thought a simple temperature probe in the engine compartment with an alarm set at something other than what normal compartment temperate would be.
Would an OAT probe be able to handle those temperatures? I know dynon has room for extra thermocouples, and you can configure those to do what you want, and alarm at temperatures you want.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:06 PM
Wayne Gillispie Wayne Gillispie is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,494
Default I am installing thermal cutoff fusible links rated at 262F

around my engine compartment in various places...near fuel pump, fuel servo, spider, starter, alternator, filter air box, oil cooler etc. Similiar device used also in sprinkler heads, bank vaults(for the guys that like to use their oxy/acetylene torch), air duct dampers in commercial buildings to cutoff airflow.

I do hvac for a living and have seen these save many homes from burning down. They can be purchased for around $3.00/ea or less depending on qty. They are available in temperature ranges from 262F to 464F. I am starting with the lowest as I will not put them too close to exhaust or cylinder heads. I may decide to use higher cutoff temperature versions later on after test flying. I will install some thermistor temp sensors to measure actual temps during test flying.

All you need in addition to these is some 18 ga red wire(heavier gage for durability not amp draw), 1/8" and 1/4" heat shrink to go over solder joints and fusible link to prevent shorts, butt splices if desired, 1 amp fuse or cb, 12vdc 5-terminal relay from auto parts store. 12v power from fuse/cb to a series loop around engine compartment and back to relay coil to energize with master on. Jumper 12v pwr to common terminal of relay. Run ground to led and other relay coil terminal. Connect a 12v+ LED wire to NC terminal which will be keep the LED off as long as fire loop has continuity. Once fire warning led lights up you would want to confirm by other means that you do have a fire and not just a malfunctioning circuit. In the Blackhawk we got nuisance warnings occasionally. We had the luxury of opening the side windows and lean out to look with a harness on. In my RV-10 I will descend and circle tightly and look for smoke trailing behind, higher than normal fuel flow, open front heat vent for a second to smell. Once a fire is confirmed then fuel selector off, mixture pull, master off, etc. Will this give me 1-10 minutes notice- maybe. Will it get me excited even if there really is not a fire-probably. It may add another pound or so to the empty weight.

I think a fire extinguishing system for the engine compartment would only do you good once you were on the ground and airflow was near stopped. I will carry a 5 lb halon on top of the tunnel just for cabin fires or brake/wheel pant fires. I already have smoke hoods and combustible gas leak detector.
Still thinking about some thin stainless under tunnel bottom skin. I'll decide before my next acs order.

P.S. I installed a smoke alarm in every room in my house, crawl space and attic. All interconnected. Every once in awhile when I burn something on the stove they all go off- usually 6am when company is in town. Good wake up call. The military training I guess- Safety First.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
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