Fire Protection in Aircraft Hangars: Part 2

Did you know that the presence of jet fuel in an aircraft hangar can greatly alter the level of fire safety required by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)? By allowing only unfueled aircraft in the hangar, you can greatly reduce the code requirements to a simple sprinkler system. However, since fueled aircraft are the norm, most owners and builders don’t find this as an option.

NFPA 409 is the standard on aircraft hangars. Under this code, hangars are categorized into 4 groups for fire protection:

Group I

  • Aircraft bay is larger than 40,000 ft2 
  • Hangar door is taller than 28 feet

Group 2

  • Aircraft bay is less than 40,000 ft2 but larger than 12,000 ft2
  • Hangar door is shorter than 28 feet

Group 3

  • Aircraft bay is smaller than 12,000 ft2

Group 4

  • Larger than a group 3
  • Membrane covered rigid steel frame

As you can see, fire and smoke protection vary greatly in aircraft hangars. The above lists only represent the most simplistic categorizations. For more information, contact a fire protection engineer today.