The US Federal Aviation Administration has launched a market survey in its search for a portable hand-held fire extinguisher that does not use ozone-depleting Halon 1211.

Though production of Halon is generally banned in developed countries around the world, its use in aviation has continued through an exemption due to the industry's "unique operational and fire safety requirements," according to the FAA.

The market survey is seeking "information to redesign or optimise an aircraft hand-held fire extinguisher using an approved streaming replacement agent on the [US Environmental Protection Agency's] significant new alternatives policy list," the FAA said in a 31 January announcement. "The target is being the lightest, smallest volume, and most practical design effective enough to replace a portable Halon 1211 extinguisher used in aircraft applications."

Testing of applicable extinguishers to prove equivalence with Halon is to take place at the agency's William J Hughes Technical Centre at the Atlantic City international airport using fire tests developed by the international fire protection working group.

The FAA plans to interview interested companies at its technical centre from 21-23 February.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news