The problem with Unit Load Device (ULD) fires is that the intensely hot fire remains contained by the ULD without being detected. At some point the fire will breach the ULD, giving it the potential to quickly spread out of control, and allowing little time for the pilot to safely land the aircraft.
Firetrace, a world leader in enclosure fire protection, has developed a system to detect and suppress ULD aircraft fires where they start – inside the ULD – while alerting the pilots to the situation. The Firetrace system is autonomous, installs directly into the ULD, and provides wireless communication with the monitoring device, so there are no additionally handling requirements for the ULD.
The Firetrace system has demonstrated consistent performance in suppressing a fire for ETOPS 207 (337 minutes) when tested against the shredded paper-cardboard box test as described in the Minimum Performance Standard for Aircraft Cargo Compartment Halon Replacement Fire Suppression Systems (2nd Update).
The complete Firetrace ULD fire suppression system weighs less than 50 lbs (22.7 kg) per ULD (A2N), and is designed to withstand air cargo hold environment extremes. The units can be installed in the ULD in under an hour and once in place can be remotely monitored to ensure system operability.