FAA Recommends Banning Laptops from Checked Baggage

By Paul Riegler on 21 October 2017
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IMG_9627 (1)The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration wants global airlines to ban laptops from checked luggage, citing recent tests that showed that the devices’ lithium batteries could bring down an aircraft if they overheat when packed next to flammable items in the cargo hold.

The agency conducted a series of tests and found that a single overheating laptop in a checked bag, packed near common household products including nail polish or aerosol sprays can result in a fire or explosion capable of disabling the cargo hold’s Halon fire-suppression system.

One test “showed that, given the rapid progression of the fire, a Halon fire suppression system cannot dispense Halon quickly enough to reach a sufficient concentration to suppress the fire and prevent the explosion.”

The results have led safety experts to recommend that it is safer for laptops to remain in passenger cabins, where a fire or explosion would be identified more quickly and dealt with more effectively.

Because an impaired fire-suppression system would allow a fire to spread freely through the cargo hold and into the passenger cabin, a laptop fire “could lead to the loss of the aircraft.”

The FAA’s recommendations were endorsed by pilot unions, European air-safety regulators, and others in the aviation industry.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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