Cockpit fires are a rare occurrence; however, they do happen. It doesn’t matter if your plane is a small Cessna, a jumbo airliner, or a fighter jet, all aircraft are susceptible to fire, especially in the cockpit where there are many intricate wiring routes to the control panel and instruments.
If you are one who serves in one of our Armed Forces and are in combat with the enemy, you know that a fire is likely, even if your aircraft is struck from the outside, and a fire does not start. The electrical wires can be jolted, and if they are worn, they can ignite from the impact. Thank goodness for the training you have received to put out the fire if possible, in addition to the excellent safety gear that you wear to protect you from burns. Faulty wiring and regular wear and tear on the wiring, which causes the coating to wear off and expose the wires, is the most common factor in cockpit fires.
Some of the training that you learned during the early part of your military career would include these steps for putting out an electrical fire. Here are the steps, in generalized terms based on the website, BoldMethod.com (http://www.boldmethod.com/learn-to-fly/aircraft-systems/electrical-fire/).
• Review the checklist as you will be under much stress. This list will help your recall the sequences necessary to extinguish the fire.
• Put out the fire.
o Turn off the switches for STBY BATT and the MASTER
o Close all vents, including the CABIN AIR and CABIN HT in the cockpit to avoid drafts as this could cause the fire to spread.
o Use the fire extinguisher only when absolutely necessary as they only last a few short seconds. So, you must be sure that all is done beforehand to prevent the fire from getting worse.
o Turn off all the other instrument switches, EXCEPT the MAGNETOS switch.
• Clear the air only when you’re sure that the fire is out.
o Open all the vents including the CABIN HT and CABIN AIR.
• Land safely as soon as possible.
Following procedure cannot be overrated and plays a vital role in your safety as a pilot, whether you’re in the US military or not. However, there is also protective clothing that is vital to your safety as well, and that is the Nomex flight suit.
Nomex is a combination of materials that make it the ideal piece of clothing you can wear while in flight. It is comprised of Aramid materials which makes it a one-of-a-kind item. Not only is it flame-retardant, but it is also lightweight, as well as durable and comfortable. All of this is due to the special weaving process in making the Kevlar aspect of the flight suit. This unique process is what makes the outfit so durable. The Aramid fibers in the Nomex flight suit can withstand temperatures of over 570˚ F. What an excellent article of protective clothing to have in your military chest! To learn more about the Nomex flight suit, read these two posts on our blog (https://carterny.com/history-of-the-flight-suit-and-how-nomex-material-changed-the-industry/) and (https://carterny.com/aramid-the-unique-fabric-of-the-nomex-flight-suit/).
If you are military personnel and are in the hunt for high-quality, comfortable, flame-resistant flight suits, call us! Our friendly customer service representatives will help you determine your size and complete your order.