Are airlines prepared to deal with fires on board?

John Cox, Particular to USA TODAY
Printed 7:00 a.m. ET April 8, 2021 | Up to date 12:40 p.m. ET April 8, 2021


We’re all itching to begin touring as soon as once more, and after we will we are gonna wanna do it with the most secure airways when doable.


How usually do planes gasoline up? And what number of journeys can they fly earlier than refueling the airplane? 

– Larry, Nashville

It varies by the kind of airplane and the gap flown. Usually, an airplane will gasoline when it lands. Nonetheless, if gasoline is pricey, it might be doable to keep away from fueling at an airport by carrying additional gasoline on the inbound flight. This is called tankering. 

Many airplanes can carry a number of hours of gasoline however won’t refill as a result of the extra weight causes a rise within the gasoline burn. 

So there’s not a easy reply to your query. If the flight is a protracted transoceanic flight, the airplane will refuel when it lands. If the flight is brief, then it’s doable that the value of the gasoline will decide whether or not and the place fueling is completed.

For instance, if an airplane departs Charlotte, North Carolina, for New York and plans to fly on to Windfall, Rhode Island, the value of gasoline in New York would be the deciding think about opting to hold sufficient gasoline to fly each flights. 


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With everybody carrying cell gadgets, together with cellphones, laptops and tablets, I am involved about fires as a consequence of battery malfunction. Do all airways now carry a fireproof field or gadget to place out a battery fireplace if a battery catches fireplace within the cabin?

– Howard S., Sturgis, South Dakota

Many airways do have containment gadgets to carry a lithium-battery-powered gadget that has overheated and gone into thermal runaway. I have no idea if all airways have them, however the majority do.

Sadly, the FAA steerage for flight crews to take care of a tool in thermal runaway is outdated and has conflicting data. This is a chance to enhance security by updating the steerage to flight crews.

John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways and runs his personal aviation security consulting firm, Security Working Techniques. The views and opinions expressed on this column are the creator’s and don’t essentially replicate these of USA TODAY.

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