Re: 777 fire? (fwd)

From:         Rick Hughes <> (Rick Hughes)
Organization: iiNet Technologies (Perth, Western Australia)
Date:         07 Jul 96 14:15:58 
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In Article <airliners.1996.1064@ohare.Chicago.COM>, "Richard A.
Muirden" <richard@rmit.EDU.AU> wrote:

>I got this from a friend re the 777 incident...

> -------------------------------------------------
>  The HongKong Standard, 24 Jun 1996, p.1:-

>  About 300 passengers were evacuated from a
> Cathay Pacific's aircraft that landed at Hong
> Kong's Kai Tak airport on 23 June 1996. The
> evacuation was due to a false fire alarm
> triggered by high moisture fruit on the plane's
> cargo section.

>  The plane will not take off until the Civil
> Aviation Department finish its investigation of
> the fire alarm system. In addition, the
> airline may revise its current policy of
> carrying high moisture goods on planes.


>The fruit is Durian. I don't know how anyone can eat it as it really smells
>awful.  Carrying Durian is a problem, as it has a very high moisture
>content which affects the smoke detectors in all aircraft. Over the years
>there have been several false fire warnings caused by Durian.  Because of
>this, airline companies have special procedures for carrying Durian, such
>as only in certain baggage holds and wrapped up in plastic.  It would
>appear that the smoke detectors on the B777 are even more sensitive than
>on other aircraft, as current procedures for carrying Durian on other
>aircraft seem to alleviate the problem.

This particular event was not  triggered by carriage of Durian.  The
cargo being carried at the time was fresh vegetables from Bangkok.  As
to their packaging, I don't have any details, but you can be SURE that
CX will not be allowing the same cargo onto a B777 packaged the same
way <G>!

You're not alone though ... most of us assumed Durian to be the
culprit initially.

CX have been carrying Durian around Asia for many years now and follow
the above procedures to the letter.  We prohibited the carriage of
Durian on our A330/340 aircraft initially until we had the fire
detectors modified, as we had a number of false cargo fire warnings on
the ground in Singapore with holds open and very high humidity (no
perishable cargo on board).  I don't know if the B777 has been cleared
to fly with Durian yet??  If it has, Durian properly packaged hasn't
been a problem to date.

>Cargo fire warnings are a very sensitive issue, as many aircraft over the
>years have been lost.  Cargo compartments have 2 independent fire warning
>systems and a warning is only given if BOTH systems detect a fire. The
>crew then flood the compartment with Halon fire extinguishant.  If the
>fire warning continues then you really start to think the worst and get
>the passengers off quickly. You never open a cargo compartment that has
>a fire warning if passengers are on board.  The compartment is sealed and
>by then filled with Halon.  When the compartment is opened the Halon
>escapes and air then feeds the fire.   It would be very foolhardy to
>assume any warning was false.

Agree 100%!!

Rick Hughes
0830, 29Jun96
Western Australia