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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-09-053
Details
Synopsis: On June 28, 2008, about 2215 Pacific daylight time, an ABX Air Boeing 767-200, N799AX, operating as flight 1611 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California, experienced a ground fire before engine startup. The captain and the first officer evacuated the airplane through the cockpit windows and were not injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The cargo flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121. At the time of the fire, the airplane was parked near a loading facility, all of the cargo to be transported on the flight had been loaded, and the doors had been shut.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require operators of transport-category cargo airplanes to install smoke detectors in the supernumerary or similar compartment of their airplanes.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: San Francisco, CA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA08MA076
Accident Reports: Ground Fire Aboard Cargo Airplane, ABX Air Flight 1611, Boeing 767-200, N799AX
Report #: AAR-09-04
Accident Date: 6/28/2008
Issue Date: 7/8/2009
Date Closed: 12/21/2015
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Fire

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/21/2015
Response: We have previously stated that your planned issuance of a certification policy memorandum (which will now be issued as a certification policy statement) would constitute an effective plan of addressing the issue for new installations, but that similar action would also be needed for existing airplanes. In the letter that issued this recommendation, we discussed that supernumerary compartments are frequently unoccupied and that, if a fire were to develop in these compartments for some unknown or unanticipated reason, it could grow undetected in flight until it represented a serious threat to flight safety. We have disagreed with you that the actions you had already taken to address the root cause of the ABX flight 1611 accident (and to satisfy Safety Recommendations A-09-43 through -50) are sufficient to prevent further events, and we continue to believe that mandating smoke/fire detection within all existing supernumerary areas and remote crew rest areas is warranted. In your current letter, you repeat that you have determined that existing airworthiness standards are adequate and that action to require that all existing supernumerary and remote crew rest areas be equipped with a smoke detector is not warranted. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-09-53 is classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/30/2015
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: Although our letter to the Board dated January 15, 2013, noted that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing a policy memorandum, we have determined a policy statement is a more effective vehicle to provide information regarding prerequisites for applicants seeking approval of supernumerary areas. This guidance includes requirements for fire protection systems in supernumerary areas and crew rest areas that are considered isolated or remote. We expect to release the draft policy for public comment by December 31, 2015. Additionally, the FAA has taken several actions to address the root cause of the accident that is the basis for this recommendation with regard to in-service airplanes, including addressing the design of the supplemental oxygen system hoses and the lack of positive separation between electrical wiring and electrically conductive oxygen system components. These actions include: • Completing an evaluation of several manufacturers' oxygen system designs and issuing airworthiness directives associated with these systems for all Boeing products (addressed in A-09-43 and -44); • Developing a new process to filter, review, analyze, and trend aviation safety data for in-service aircraft fleets, and identify corrective actions to mitigate safety risks across the fleet (addressed in A-09-45); • Planning actions to ensure compliance with existing regulations regarding the separation of oxygen lines from potential ignition sources (addressed in A-09-46 and -47); and • Issuing final policy PS-ANM-25.1441-01, Mitigating Fire Hazards in Gaseous Oxygen Systems, on December 9, 2014, to clarify our guidance associated with the use of flexible oxygen hoses and address other potential oxygen system issues that could result in a fire (addressed in A-09-48 and -50). Based on these actions, and our evaluation of the original accident, we determined that existing airworthiness standards are adequate and as such broader action directed at all existing supernumerary and remote crew rest areas is not warranted. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this recommendation and provide an update by November 2016.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/26/2013
Response: We disagree with the FAA that the actions already taken to address the root cause of the ABX flight 1611 accident are sufficient to prevent further events, and we continue to believe that mandating smoke/fire detection within all existing supernumerary areas and remote crew rest areas is warranted. Although the FAA’s policy may constitute an effective response for new installations, similar actions are also needed for existing airplanes. Accordingly, pending issuance of the policy memorandum, and similar action being taken to address in-service airplanes, Safety Recommendation A-09-53 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/15/2013
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: As previously stated, we are drafting a policy memorandum to provide guidance for those applicants seeking approval of supernumerary compartments and/or remote crew rest areas. The policy will include prerequisites for obtaining an exemption for supernumerary areas, which will include a requirement for fire and smoke detection for some configurations, along with other limitations that will be imposed through the exemption in future programs. However, the policy does not apply to existing supernumerary and remote crew rest areas. We find that the actions we have taken to address the root cause of this accident are sufficient to prevent further events of this nature and to mandate smoke/fire detection within all existing supernumerary areas and remote crew rest areas is not warranted. We anticipate publishing the policy for public comment by January 31, 2013. I will keep the Board informed on the FAA's progress on Safety Recommendation A-09-53 and provide an update by December 2013.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/17/2011
Response: The FAA’s plan to develop a certification policy memorandum to provide guidance for the approval of supernumerary compartments and/or remote crew rest areas that will include a requirement for fire and smoke detection is a timely and effective response to this recommendation of new applicants installing supernumerary compartments. This recommendation also applies to existing in-service airplanes with supernumerary or similar compartments. We do not believe that a policy memorandum would apply to existing airplanes, and we ask how the FAA proposes to address this segment of the affected fleet. Pending issuance of the policy memorandum, and a similar requirement applicable to in-service airplanes, Safety Recommendation A-09-53 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/13/2011
Response: CC# 201100278: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: Current FAA regulations do not adequately address fire protection in a supernumerary compartment or crew rest compartment on transport category airplanes. Requests by applicants for approvals of crew rest areas typically utilize special conditions to address safety concerns. Included in the special conditions are requirements for smoke detectors (e.g., Special Conditions No. 25-418-SC, Boeing Model 787-8 Airplane; Overhead Flightcrew-Rest Compartment Occupiable during Taxi, Take-off, and Landing, published February 25, 2011). Approval of the carriage of supernumeraries involves an exemption. In lieu of rulemaking to promulgate a new regulation to address this issue, which is a lengthy process; we believe that a more timely response can be provided via a policy memorandum. We are developing a policy memo to provide guidance for those applicants seeking approval of supernumerary compartments and/or remote crew rests. This policy memo will include prerequisites for obtaining an exemption for supernumerary areas, which will include a requirement for fire and smoke detection for some configurations. Other limitations will also be imposed through the exemption. The policy memo will also provide prerequisites for remote crew rest area special conditions that will be applied on future programs. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress and provide an updated response to this recommendation by June 2012.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/9/2010
Response: The NTSB is pleased that the FAA has assembled an interdisciplinary team of technical specialists to address these safety issues and looks forward to reviewing the FAA's findings related to Safety Recommendations A-09-44 and A-09-46 through -53 and, more importantly, its plan for addressing the safety deficiencies identified in these recommendations. Pending the NTSB's review of this information, Safety Recommendations A-09-44 and A-09-46 through -53 are classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/5/2009 12:30:33 PM MC# 2090617 - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: To comprehensively address Safety Recommendations A-09-44, and A-09-46 through -53, the FAA has assembled a team of specialists from various technical disciplines to review the recommendations and assess the underlying safety issues. Following this review we will develop a plan to address each recommendation.