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Q-talk 138 - Another Useless Accessory HOPEFULLY!!

Most people would accept the premise that Q-birds and commercial airliners don't have a lot in common. One ugly fact that they do share is that both have had occupants survive the crash just to perish in the ensuing fire.

This is not to say that the Q has an exorbitant number of fiery crashes, but a couple do come to

mind where the pilots were reported to have survived the landing, but perished in the subsequent fire. Over the years I have heard of off runway landings that resulted in the plane flipping over onto its back, trapping the passenger(s) inside while simultaneously bathing them with fuel. In these occurrences, the occupants were fortunate that the fuel did not ignite and they were safely rescued.

I've always had this concern in the back of my mind. As a result, I have carried a small handheld Halon extinguisher. However, I have never felt that to be a complete solution. My first concern is that if I were upside down in the cornfield with a smashed canopy, could I actually get to it, release it from it's station, pull the pin and activate it. Another concern is if the fire starts in the engine bay, the hand operated extinguisher in the cockpit isn't going to be a significant aid.

Up until the August 2008 issue of Kitplanes, I was not aware of a workable alternative. Kitplanes ran an article titled, "Fire in the Hole". The company featured was SafeCraft, who designs and manufactures remote fire detection and extinguisher systems primarily for NASCAR racers as well as other race cars, race boats and most recently, motorized gliders in Australia.

The operation is very simple. The Halon cylinder is connected to the sensor(s) via %" stainless tubing, which has the other end attached to a special temperature sensitive sensor. Should the sensor be setoff, the Halon is automatically dispersed into the area in which the sensor is located. Question: How much Halon do I need? One pound is supposed to protect 50 cubic feet of area.

The SafeCraft standard system consists of: an aluminum cylinder filled with Halon, a sensor, a pressure gauge, flared fittings and mounting bracket. There are a couple of options such as manual activation and a second sensor. The cylinders come in numerous sizes and Halon content.

The sensor/nozzles come in the following temperature ranges; 135, 155, 175, 200, 286, 360, and 500 degree F set points. Question: How do I know what temperature sensors I need? The approach I used was to stick temperature sensing dots at the locations I was considering locating the sensors. I stuck several different temperature dots around the cockpit and on the firewall. Then I went flying on a hot day and also left the plane sitting out in the sun on a hot day to see if either environment would change the color of the dot from white to black. I chose 200F for the cockpit and 286F for the engine bay. Wahl Instruments -www.palmerwahl.com, sells a product called Temp-plate, Model No. 240-151F which includes four temperature dots - 150/200/250/300F.

My system is the following:

Qty. 1 - 40-1140-2 Cylinder/Valve, 2lbs of


Qty. 1 - 20-2015-200 Sensor/Nozzle - 200F (cockpit)

Qty. 1 - 20-2015-286 Sensor/Nozzle - 286F (engine bay)

Qty. 1 - Mounting Bracket/Clamps

Qty. 1 - ISSD4BU Firewall Bulkhead Union

You will have to check with SafeCraft on current pricing, but I would look for it to be $400+. It may help to mention my name. It may save you time explaining your application. Don't look for

any $ savings. My name has exceptionally low name-dropping value.

Contact Don Warren with SafeCraft 5165-C Commercial Circle Concord, CA 94520 800-400-2259

PS: Don is a really nice guy, but his follow-up leaves a lot to be desired. You will have to stay on his case to get results.

You can order a printed copy of Q-talk #138 by using the Q-talk Back Issue Order Page.