Tag Archives: Fire protection

Another chapter of the "USAF Hangar Foam Party" saga.

After the F-15, F-16 and A-10 submerged by foam at Eglin AFB, Florida in 2009, and the C-17 at Charleston AFB, South Carolina, last year, here below you can find some pictures of another Air Force’s fire suppression system filling a hangar with foam I received from a member of the 457th Fighter Squadron “Spads”.

They were taken when the 457th FS AFRC (Air Force Reserve Command), from NAS Forth Worth JRB, Texas, was on a TDY (Temporary Deployment) to Portland ANGB, Oregon, in August of 2008  for DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) with the local based 123rd FS of the OR ANG. It was their last day there, they were all packed up and all of a sudden the foam suppression system for the hangar they were operating out of went off.

“Spare parts, computers, and other materials got covered. Our Vipers  were out on the flightline. It was a mess, but allowed for us to get a good game of flag football in while the fire folks cleaned it up” the 457th FS’s airman says.

Image courtesy of 457th FS member

It looks like this kind of incident is rather frequent, therefore, what about an in-depth check of all the fire suppression systems before a new “foam party” takes place in one of those hangars sheltering some costly stealth planes?

A test at Ellsworth AFB in August 2005 lasted more than expected (for a human error?) and a B-1 hangar that had to be covered by one meter of foam within four minutes or less was almost filled by the fire suppression system that was allowed to generate foam for the full four minutes.

Another foam party! This time at Charleston AFB. Maybe USAF should check its fire suppression systems

When I published the picture about the F-15, F-16 and A-10 submerged by foam at Eglin AFB, Florida, I thought that this kind of incident was quite rare.

I was wrong.

First of all, a visitor recounted that something like that happened with a C-135 VIP transport at Hickam AFB many years ago. They put it into the fuel cell hangar, and left the cockpit windows open. It rained that night, the roof leaked, and the fire suppression system went off. They found the cockpit filled with halon.

Then, a pilot sent me the following picture taken in 2011 at Charleston AFB, South Carolina, when a fire suppression system went off inside a huge C-17 hangar.

Obviously, the size of both the hangar and the C-17 is such, that the U.S. airlifter was far from being submerged by foam.

Courtesy image

Foam party! Hangar fire suppression system submerges F-15, F-16 and A-10 in foam at Eglin Air Force Base

According to “youmustvotenato”, the user who posted it to Reddit, the following picture was taken after the fire suppression system base went off because of a spark from a welder set.

Clearly visible in the image an F-15 belonging to the 85th TES (Test and Evaluation Squadron), an F-16 of the 40 FLTS (Flight Test Squadron), and an A-10 (most probably belonging too to the 46th Test Wing): based on the the tail codes, the hangar must have been one used by the 46th TW at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Image credit: via youmustvotenato / Reddit

The foam generators suspended from the ceiling released suppressant similar to soap that submerged the planes in the hangar. It takes two minutes to fill a 90,000 square-foot hangar with more than three feet of  two percent high-expansion biodegradable foam.

Here’s a video showing how fire suppression systems work.

Thanks to @Menzo2003 for the heads-up