You are on page 1of 28

uk

engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20 FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS


20.1 FIRE DETECTORS
A complete fire warning system consists of a detection system, an extinguisher
system and a method of detecting that the fire is out. There are specified areas that
only have detection systems, these are parts of engine bays and hot air ducts.
Detectors are mounted within the zones next to the components more prone to a fire
or overheat condition, the choice of detection system, fire or overheat, depends on
the contents of the zone.
Zone 1 (UK) contains the fuel control system, in this zone a fire could develop
therefore the detection system used is a FIRE WARNING SYSTEM.
Zone 2 (UK) includes the rear section of the engine and the jet pipe, this zone is
identified as an overheat area only and will have an OVERHEAT WARNING
SYSTEM.
A fire or heat detection system should:

Give a rapid indication of condition with an audio warning for fire (bell), the audio
should have a cancellation facility and should be auto resetting.

Provide location information concerning the fire or overheat condition.

Have a warning system that will continue during fire.

Continue to operate where the fire is located.

Provide an indication that the fire is out or that the overheat condition no longer
exists.

Include an in flight test facility.

Not automatically shut down the main power unit or operate the engine fire
extinguishers, it may however shut down the APU usually only when on the
ground.

Not produce false indication in event of failures or fault conditions.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-1

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

Engine Nacelle Fire Zones.


Figure 20.1.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-2

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.2 FIRE WIRE SYSTEMS


A fire wire system employs a continuous flexible sensing element that is wrapped
around the potential fire or overheat areas within a fire zone.
Three types of element are used; resistive, capacitive or gas pressure. The
response to a temperature rise depends on the value of temperature applied and the
length of sensing element to which it is applied. A high temperature over a short
length or a low temperature over a long length will both operate the warning system.

Firewire sensing element.


Figure 20.2.
20.2.1 RESISTANCE TYPE FIRE WIRE

The Firewire system of fire detection employs a continuous and flexible sensing
element which is fitted in the aircraft potential fire zone. The element consists of a
stainless steel capillary through the centre of which runs an electrode insulated from
the capillary by a filling material. The filling material has a negative temperature
coefficient.
When the Dielectric Resistance is High the
current flow from the Electrode to the
Capillary is Low.

When the Dielectric Resistance is Low


the current flow from the Electrode to the
Capillary is High and operates the
warning circuit

Intense Heat on a small length allows


increased current flow sufficient to operate
the Warning Circuit.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-3

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS
Less heat on a large length allows
increased current flow sufficient to
operate the warning Circuit

Operation
Normal ambient conditions
Under normal ambient conditions current flow between the centre electrode and the
capillary is approximately 1mA. Therefore the current in the relay coil will be
approximately 1mA. The relay will not energise.
Fire conditions
Ina fire condition the current will increase and when it rises to the range 9-17mA the
relay will energise to operate the warning circuit.
The warning will switch off when the fire has been brought under control or when the
temperature falls.
Circuit test.
When the test switch is operated the a. c. circuit is completed through the loop of the
central electrode, not through the filling material, and the capillary tube. The relay
will energise If the sensing element is continuous.
A break in the sensing element will not render the system inoperative, however it will
be detected on test. Ingress of moisture at the breaks can cause a fire warning.

A resistance type fire detection circuit


Figure20.3.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-4

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.2.2 CAPACITANCE FIREWIRE

The sensing is identical to that used in the resistance system. The Triple F.D.(Fault
Free Fire Detection) system utilises the total impedance and the capacitive effect of
the sensing element. The element is, in effect, a capacitor with the electrode acting
as one plate and the capillary acting as the other plate.

When the dielectric strength is low the capacitance of the element will be low. The
impedance. will be high and limit the charging current to a negligible value. The
quantity of charge stored during a charge half cycle is negligible.

When the Dielectric strength is high the capacitance of the element will be high. The
impedance will be low and the element will store a greater quantity of charge. During
discharge the current will operate the warning circuit.

Intense heat on a small length allows a large charge to be stored. This will operate
the warning circuit during discharge,

Less heat on a large length allows a large charge to be stored. This will operate the
warnings during discharge.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-5

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

The control unit


The control unit can be split into three sections each performing a separate function.
These are the charging circuit (SI, MR1 R3, the sensing element, RI), the readout
circuit (S2, MR2, R2, the sensing element, R1) and the warning circuit (S3, MR2,
RLA, C2, SCR). In the example shown the power supply is 115v 400Hz.
Normal ambient conditions
Charge circuit
The capacitance of the sensing element will be low therefore the charge taken by the
sensing element, during the positive half cycle, will be low. S2 is also connected
across the element but Ll prevents it contributing to the effective charging current.
Readout circuit
During the negative half cycle the potential on the sensing element will discharge
through the readout circuit. Current flow will be negligible because of the low charge
on the element.
Warning circuit
The SCR is biased off during the positive half cycle by the output of S3 as it flows
through R4.C3 is charged at the same time. During the negative half cycle C3
discharges R4 to hold the SCR biased off. The warnings are therefore inhibited.
Fire warning conditions
On the charge half cycle the element will store a greater quantity of charge. This will
discharge through R4 on the negative half cycle. The voltage developed across R4
will bias on the SCR. Relay A will energise and:
i switch on the warnings
ii short circuit R3
C2 will charge.
During the next positive half cycle the sensing element is charged to a higher level
due to the short circuit on R3. Relay A is held energised by the discharge of C2.
This cycle is repeated for as long as the warning condition persists. Because R3 is
shorted the circuit will remain activated until the fire zone cools to a temperature well
below the normal ambient condition.
TEST
In-situ testing is normally achieved by a test switch on the aircraft warning panel.
When the test switch is closed relay B will energise to connect C1 in parallel with the
element to simulate a fire condition. If the system is serviceable the warnings will
operate.
Moisture ingress can still affect the dielectric in the sensing element and cause a fire
warning.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-6

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

Capacitance Type Firewire System


Figure 20.4.
Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-7

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.2.3 COMBINED RESISTIVE/CAPACITIVE TYPE

a combined resistance/capacitance system will only give an indication if the


resistance of the loop goes down and the capacitance goes up. This further reduces
the chance of a false alarm. The system shown in figure 20.4. also has test and fault
identification built in.

A Dual Loop Combined Resistance/Capacitance Firewire System.


Figure 20.4.
Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-8

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.2.4 GAS OPERATION FIRE WIRE

The operating principle is the gas law i.e. pressure increases with temperature.
As the helium in the sensor tube senses an overall temperature increase, its
pressure is proportionately raised. Then a pressure switch (approx.40 psi) operates
to couple an electrical supply to the fire or overheat warning.
The sensing element is pre-pressurised with helium (approx.20 psi) and this lower
pressure is monitored by another pressure switch that will if the base pressure is lost,
indicate a failure of the sensing system.
Should a localised temperature be experienced, which was of a value considerably
above that needed to activate an overall temperature warning, a central core of
titanium hydride will release hydrogen in to the tube. This action is sufficient to raise
the pressure and initiate the fire warnings. As the temperature reduces the central
core will re-absorb the hydrogen.
Note:
The detector is a hermetically sealed unit. Any attempt at disassemble it may cause
serious damage and is likely to render the unit inoperative.

Gas Filled Fire Detection System.


Figure 20.5.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-9

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

Gas Type Electronic Detector System.


Figure 20.6.
Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-10

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.2.5 PRECAUTIONS WHEN WORKING WITH FIREWIRE.

All firewire is delicate and great care must be taken not to damage the sensing loop.
There is a minimum bend radius (normally 1 inch), the wire should not be crushed or
abraded by other components. They should be cleated in the correct position using
the special cleats, and the rubber insulator should be correctly fitted. Only the correct
part number sensing elements must be used and any seals must be correctly
replaced and fitted to any junctions to prevent ingress of moisture causing false
alarms.
20.2.6 SINGLE LOOP

One continuous loop clipped round the engine cowl in the most fire vulnerable areas.
20.2.7 DUAL LOOP

This is two independent systems usually running parallel round the engine cowl in the
most fire vulnerable areas.
Each fire zone has dual sensing loops. Each loop, A or B, is independent of the
other.
On some aircraft only one system is used at a time, the other being held as a spare.
Some aircraft can use both loops at the same time, only giving a warning when both
loops sense the overheat condition. (Figure 20.7.)
When the loop selector switch is selected to BOTH, loop A and loop B must detect a
fire condition before the warning system will be activated.
If only one loop detects a fire condition while the selector is at BOTH a fire warning
will not be given (some systems can give a lower grade indication of this happening).
If the selector is switched to a single loop position (A or B), full fire warnings will be
given if the selected loop senses fire conditions.

Dual Loop Mounting.


Figure 20.6.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-11

uk

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

engineering

A Dual Loop Firewire System.


Figure 20.7.
20.2.8 DUAL LOOP SYSTEMS

Dual loop fire warning systems are used to prevent spurious warnings, they consist
of two identical systems. Both loops are required to detect the fire condition in order
to initiate the fire warning, if only one loop detects the fire condition, only a loop light
will illuminate. The following example shows the indications you would see on an
electronic instrument system (Figure 20.8.)(E.I.C.A.S. engine indication crew alerting
system), or as shown E.C.A.M. (electronic centralised monitoring system). In the
example shown, the fire detection system provides the flight deck with nacelle
temperature, loop faults, over-temperature and fire indication and warnings.
Some aircraft are equipped with dual loop fire warning, but these are kept
independent of each other. This allows for a failed system, without causing delays, it
also gives a means of confirmation if a spurious warning is suspected.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-12

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.3 FIRE AND LOOP FAULT INDICATION (E.C.A.M.)


The fire detection control electronics module is made up of two circuits which process
signals from fire detection loops.
The loop fault circuit indicates a fire detector loop fault to the flight crew. The
E.C.A.M. responds with a loop fault message on the warning display. E.C.A.M.
illuminates the master caution light and sounds a single chime. The fire detection
and protection panel illuminates the loop test lights.
The over-temperature and fire circuit indicates a fire warning to the flight crew. The
E.C.A.M. responds with an engine fire message and a corrective action procedure on
the warning display. The E.C.A.M. also illuminates the master warning light and
sounds a continuous chime. The fuel shut-off lever is illuminated on the pedestal and
the engine fire pull handle is illuminated on the fire detection and protection panel.

ECAMS Fire and Loop Fault Indication.


Figure 20.8.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-13

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.4 FIRE SUPPRESSION


Typical fixed systems in the types of aircraft for which fixed fire extinguisher systems
are specified, it is usual for the extinguishant to be stored in the containers under
pressure and to be discharged by electrically firing cartridge units within the
extinguisher discharge heads. The firing circuits are controlled by switches or fire
control handles in the flight crew compartment; some types may also be automatic as
in the case of an APU. The layout of a system and the number of components
required, depend largely on the type of aircraft and number of power plants and also
on whether fire protection is required for auxiliary power units, landing gear wheel
bays and baggage compartments.
A secondary function of the Engine fire handles is to isolate the engine from other
aircraft systems to prevent them from making the fire worse, and also to stop the fire
spreading. The systems usually affected are fuel, hydraulics, and air systems. See
figure 20.9.
There are two types of fixed systems used for power plant fire protection.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-14

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

Isolation Functions of Engine Fire Handles


Figure 20.9.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-15

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.4.1 TYPES OF FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM


20.4.2 ONE SHOT SYSTEM

In this system the extinguishant bottle has only one outlet from the neck and is
connected to one engine only. If the operation of that cylinder fails to suppress the
fire, nothing can be done unless another bottle is fitted as a back up.

A Single Shot Fire Extinguisher System.


Figure 20.10.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-16

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.4.3 TWO SHOT SYSTEM (SHARED EXTINGUISHERS)

The extinguishant cylinder in a two shot system has two outlets from the neck and
each outlet supplies extinguishant to a different engine.
Each outlet is operated independently by a suitably marked firing button situated in
the cockpit.
When the first shot button is pressed, the relative extinguisher will discharge its
contents via a Directional Flow valve to the required fire zone.

BOTTLE INDICATOR

A Two Shot Shared Extinguisher System.


Figure 20.11.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-17
Figure 20.9.

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.4.4 TWO SHOT SYSTEM (SINGLE HEAD EXTINGUISHERS)

In this type of system, there are two separate extinguisher bottles for each engine,
each having a single outlet, to the same engine.
The system operates in the same way as the two shot system.

A Two Shot System Using Single Head Bottles.

Figure 20.12

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-18

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

A Two Shot System With Single Head Bottles.


Figure 20.13.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-19

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.5 EXTINGUISHERS
Extinguishers vary in construction but are normally comprised of two main
components: the steel or copper container and the discharge or operating head.
CARTRIDGE

A Typical Two Head Fire Extinguisher Bottle.


Figure 20.14.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-20

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.5.1 OPERATING HEAD

A pressure gauge or operated indicator, discharge plug and safety discharge


connection are provided for each container. The discharge plug is sealed with a
breakable disk combined with an explosive charge that is electrically detonated to
discharge the contents of the bottle.

A Typical Spherical Twin Head Extinguisher.


Figure 20.5.

20.5.2 SAFETY DISCHARGE

A pipe is connected between the indicator and the pressure relief outlet on the
extinguisher. When discharge occurs, the extinguishant flows along the pipe and
blows out the sealing plug and nylon disc revealing the bright red interior of the bowl.
The sealing plug prevents the ingress of moisture that could corrode the rupture disk
and cause premature leakage.(Fig 20.16.)

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-21

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

Fire Bottle Discharge Indicator.


Figure 20.16.

20.5.3 DISCHARGE TUBE CONFIGURATION

Very dependent upon the type and size of engine installation, typical system shown
in figure 20.15. Piccolo pipes and spray nozzles are used to direct the extinguishant it
the engine bay.

Typical Discharge Tube Installation.


Figure 20.15.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-22

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.5.4 OPERATING TIME

In most systems the extinguishant will discharge in a few seconds. More recently a
system has been developed which will discharge in 1 to 2 seconds. This system is
known as HRD (high rate of discharge).
20.5.5 EXTINGUISHANT

Older aircraft use Methyl Bromide as the extinguishing agent, this has been replaced
by BCF (Bromochlorodifluoromethane) Halon 1301. Both of these chemicals are
CFCs and are banned under the Montreal Protocol. A recent amendment to this
document has allowed their continued use in aircraft until a suitable alternative is
found or existing stocks run out. CO2 is sometimes used however it does form snow
when released which can cause hot metal components to explode so its use is
limited.
20.5.6 INDICATIONS OF FIRE DETECTION

When the fire detection system is exposed to an overheat condition or fire, the
detector warning lights in the cockpit illuminate and the fire warning bell sounds. The
warning light may be located in the fire-pull handle on the instrument panel, a fire
warning light on the warning panel, a red flashing alarm warning light and a light in
the HP cock or throttle for the relevant engine.
20.5.7 FIRE T HANDLE

These fire switches are sometimes referred to as fire-pull T-handles.


In some models of this fire-pull switch, pulling the T-handle exposes a previously
inaccessible extinguishing agent switch and also actuates micro-switches that
energise the emergency fuel shut-off valve and other pertinent shut-off valves.
(Figure 20.19.)

Fire T Handle.
Figure 20.18.
Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-23

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

20.5.8 FIRE BELL

An alarm bell control permits any one of the engine fire detection circuits to energise
the common alarm bell. After the alarm bell sounds, it can be silenced by activating
the audio cut-out switch or pressing either of the red alert flashers. The bell can still
respond to a fire signal from any of the other circuits.

Isolation Functions of Engine Fire Handles


Figure 20.19

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-24

uk

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

engineering

20.6 DISCHARGE INDICATORS


In fire extinguisher systems of the fixed type, provision is made for positive indication
of extinguisher discharge as a result of either (a) intentional firing, or (b) inadvertent
loss of contents, ie. pressure relief overboard or leakage. The methods adopted are:

Mechanical in operation.

Electrical in operation.

These devices are known as bottle gone indicators.


20.6.1 MECHANICAL INDICATORS

Mechanical indicators are, in many instances, fitted in the operating heads of


extinguishers and take the form of a pin, which under normal conditions is flush with
the cap of the operating head. When an extinguisher has been fired and after the
charge plug has been forced down the operating head, the spigot of the plug strikes
the indicator pin causing it to protrude from the cap.

Mechanical Bottle Fired Indicator.


Figure 20.20.
20.6.2 ELECTRICAL INDICATORS

Electrical indicators are used in several types of aircraft and consist of fuse
indicators, magnetic indicators and warning lights. These are connected in the
electrical circuits of each extinguisher so that when the circuits are energised, they
provide indication that the appropriate cartridge units have been fired. In some
aircraft, pressure switches are mounted on the extinguishers and are connected to
indicator lights, which come on when the extinguisher pressure reduces to a
predetermined value. Pressure switches may also be connected in the discharge
lines to indicate actual discharge as opposed to discharge initiation at the
extinguishers. Detecting devices may also be incorporated into the firing heads to
indicate discharge.
Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-25

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

A fuse indicator has a pellet of coloured wax around heating element, when electrical
power is applied to the element the wax vaporises and spreads itself all over the
clear plastic indicator dome.

20.7 CARTRIDGES OR SQUIBS


These devices are the electrical detonators that fire the bottles. The cartridges come
with either two or three pins to ensure correct electrical connection and has a pin in
the base which connects to the bottle which is offset in different ways to ensure
correct fitment.
Prior to fitment to the bottle , the serviceability of the cartridge must be checked. Two
test are carried out:
1.

Continuity test. A Safety Ohmmeter is connected to the two firing pins on the
cartridge and the resistance is the measured. This ensures that the cartridge
has a circuit and that its resistance is within limits.

2.

An insulation check is also carried by shorting the two firing pins together and
checking from them to the body.

When these checks are carried out the cartridges must be removed from the aircraft
and mounted in a fixture so that the charge is shielded but unrestricted in case of
accidental firing.
These detonators are explosive devices and special precautions apply when
handling and transporting them. Prior to fit a No Volts Test must be carried out to
the fire system wiring to ensure that it will not go off when connected. When handling
the cartridges do not touch the pins as a static discharge could fire it, ensure that you
are earthed and are not wearing clothing that is generating large amounts of static.
They should be transported and stored in steel boxes and in a secure manner.
On some aircraft a squib test is provided, when pressed provides a circuit through
the cartridge with a current flow low enough to prevent firing the squib, but sufficient
to illuminate a green light if the squib is serviceable.

Do not press the fire button to do this test!


20.7.1 LIFE CONTROL OF SQUIBS

The service life of fire extinguisher discharge cartridges is calculated from the
manufacturers date stamp, which is usually placed on the face of the cartridge. The
cartridge service life recommended by the manufacturer is usually in terms of hours
below a predetermined temperature limit. Cartridges are available with a service life
of approximately 5,000 hours.

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-26

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

Cartridge (Squib) Test.


Figure 20.21

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-27

uk
engineering

JAR 66 CATEGORY B1
MODULE 15/17
PROPULSION
SYSTEMS

Intentionally Blank

Issue 3 Jan 2004

Page 20-28