UN Seeks Halon Input
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme’s Halons Technical Options Committee (HTOC) need industry input on halon emissions.
Companies that service and repair halon 1301 systems/cylinders should assist this effort by completing an online survey administered by the two international aviation bodies. The survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/NDJPGH3.
Halogenated hydrocarbons (halons) impose minimal weight and space storage burdens in an aircraft environment and deploy as an effective fire extinguishing agent. As a result, halons are the principle agent used in aviation fire suppression.
Unfortunately, the operational benefits of halon use are offset by major environmental concerns; their production was banned under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer and ceased worldwide in 2010. Use of the compounds remains legal and will continue in commercial aviation until reasonable alternatives are available. Recycling programs meet current industry demand but will not remain indefinitely viable.
Under U.S. rules, “halon 1211…or equivalent” is required for use in onboard fire suppression (see 14 CFR §§ 25.851, 121.309). Seeking that “equivalent” without an explicit regulatory mandate – but in advance of rising market pressure – will require direct engagement.
In its December 2014 report, the FAA’s Halon Replacement Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommended a framework to ensure industry and government action to find and implement halon alternatives. The committee, which was supported by ARSA as well as industry members, private businesses and environmental specialists, urged the creation of a “halon replacement focal point” within the agency to lead industry efforts and liaise with other governmental bodies.
“[U]nless steps are taken now to accelerate the implementation of halon alternatives, there is a risk that the aviation industry’s current course of halon resource management will become unsustainable,” the report said.
In the meantime, industry stakeholders performing halon recycling-related work should provide feedback to the ICAO/HTOC questionnaire. Responses will be analyzed to determine the current and projected future quantities of halon used in civil aviation fire protection systems and actions to minimize unnecessary emissions as well as management of existing reserves.
Responses to the questionnaire will be treated as confidential and will only be disclosed in aggregate.
To complete the survey, visit: www.surveymonkey.com/r/NDJPGH3.
To read the official invitation letter, which includes a hard copy of the survey, click here. (Note: Enclosure B is not included in this version.)
Aerospace businesses should ensure suppliers, customers and other industry colleagues performing work on halon systems also have access to the questionnaire.