FAA Adopts AD on Halon 1211 Extinguishers

A British company supplied contaminated gas that was used to fill portable fire extinguishers on various types of aircraft. If used on a fire, the gas may not suppress it as intended, and toxic fumes could be released, the agency said Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday announced it has adopted a new airworthiness directive affecting SICLI Halon 1211 portable fire extinguishers that are installed on various aircraft and rotorcraft. The agency's final rule said the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom informed the European Aviation Safety Agency recently that significant quantities of Halon 1211 gas that are "outside the required specification" have been supplied to the aviation industry for use in fire extinguishers for aircraft passenger cabins and flight decks.

EASA published Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) 2009-39 on Oct. 23, 2009, to alert the aviation community. "The results of the ongoing investigation have now established that LyonTech Engineering Ltd, a UK-based company, has supplied further consignments of Halon 1211 (BCF) to SICLI that do not meet the required specification," the rule states. "This Halon 1211 has subsequently been used to fill P/N [part number] 1708337B4 portable fire extinguishers that are now likely to be installed in or carried on board aircraft. The contaminated nature of this gas, when used against a fire, may provide reduced fire suppression, endangering the safety of the aircraft and its occupants. In addition, extinguisher activation may lead to release of toxic fumes, possibly causing injury to aircraft occupants."

The new AD becomes effective March 8, and FAA is accepting comments on it until April 5. Affected aircraft manufacturers include Airbus, Boeing, Cessna, Bombardier, Eurocopter Canada, Eurocopter Deutschland GMBH, Eurocopter France, and McDonnell Douglas. The long list of serial numbers of affected SICLI fire extinguishers is available in this document.

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