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Cargo planes need better fire protection, NTSB says


Current fire warning systems installed in cargo aircraft don’t give pilots enough time to react to prevent a serious accident, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a new set of recommendations this week. The board wants sensors inside cargo containers that would more quickly detect a fire than existing sensors inside a plane’s cargo hold. Cargo containers should be fire resistant, and planes should have fire suppression equipment in their cargo holds as well, according to the recommendations. The NTSB reviewed three serious accidents resulting from fires that started inside of cargo containers since 2006, including two that happened after a 2007 FAA report found requiring carriers to install fire suppression equipment would be too costly. Current regulations mandate that fire sensors in the aircraft detect a fire within one minute of ignition, but the NTSB found in reality, those sensors can take from 2 to 18 minutes to notify pilots of a fire onboard.