The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which develops building fire codes including requirements for aircraft hangars, recently proposed new technical changes that will affect aircraft hangar owners. The current March 6 comment period deadline to address the changes limits the amount of time the general aviation industry has to review, prepare and submit its concerns.
Aviation and airport management organizations are urging hangar owners to contact the NFPA, requesting a six-month extension to the March 6 comment period deadline and asking the NFPA to convene a group of general aviation aircraft hangar owners and their professional organizations to review and develop a code appropriate to general aviation, accounting for implementation cost and benefit.
The NFPA is the national authority for development and implementation of fire building codes. For the general aviation industry, NFPA 409 provides fire codes for all aircraft hangars in most jurisdictions throughout the United States; specifically, requirements for Group II hangars (those of more than 12,000 square feet with hangar doors 28 feet high or less) and Group III hangars (those of less than 12,000 square feet).
NFPA 409 currently mandates that aircraft hangar owners incorporate foam fire suppression systems requiring an enormous amount of water, and that the foam and water be collected in a cistern or other safe containment device. Those two requirements place a huge financial burden on aircraft owners, equaling the cost of the aircraft hangar itself by some estimates. New technical changes would make these requirements even more onerous to small businesses having aircraft hangars.
NFPA 409 code is incredibly complicated, according to experts, and is interpreted differently throughout the country. Aircraft hangar owners, many of whom operate small businesses, find the requirement’s cost impractical and not justifiable. The new technical changes will only add additional cost for small businesses, according to a Florida airport management group. “The NFPA must consider the impact this requirement will have on small businesses and convene a special group of general aviation aircraft hangar owners to review and develop a new code appropriate to our industry,” the organization wrote to its members.
To review the NFPA code proposal, click here.
To contact the NFPA: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to
Timothy A. Hawthorne
National Fire Protection Association
Airport Facilities Committee NFPA 409
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169-7471