Through the years, regulator and industry research, coupled with insights learned via incidents and accidents, has highlighted the need for specific attention on the carriage of items that can act as ignition sources and produce combustible gases (i.e., lithium batteries). In addition, airframe manufacturers have stated current fire protection systems may not mitigate a fire involving certain volumes, types, and combinations of lithium batteries and other hazardous materials.
An operator should perform an overall risk assessment of the items transported and how these items may interact. The FAA published recommendations for such a risk assessment in AC 120-121 – Safety Risk Management Involving Items in Aircraft Cargo Compartments, which states operators should consider the following:
- Potential Risks Introduced by Items in Cargo Compartments
- Fire Suppression and Containment Capabilities of the Aircraft
- Feedback and specifications from manufacturers
- Risk Controls
The topic of Cargo SRM extends beyond the carriage of hazardous materials, as discussed on this site. Please visit the resources for additional information to support general Cargo SRM.
Cargo Safety Risk Management Resources
Fire Safety Research at the FAA
The FAA's Fire Safety Branch, located at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, is the world's leader in aviation fire-safety research. The aviation community relies on Tech Center research, testing and technical expertise to better understand the potential consequences associated with the carriage of items, as well as the limits of aircraft fire suppression.
Their full body of research is available at Federal Aviation Fire Safety website.
FAA's Cargo Fire Safety Website
Cargo Safety Risk Management (SRM) is essential for determining and applying targeted strategies to control risks introduced based on the unique characteristics of the operator's system. The Federal Aviation Administration Cargo Fire Safety website provides links to research, considerations, and guidance as a tool to use during SRM.