Delta’s LAX Hangar Suffers Accidental Foam Discharge

An unusual incident occurred at Delta Air Lines‘ new hangar at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Earlier this week, there was an accidental foam discharge. This caused the whole hangar and the ground outside to end up covered in foam.

Delta LAX Foam
Delta has quite a task on its hands to clean up all the foam that was discharged overnight in Los Angles. Photo: Tankdiver via Airliners forum

Quite a mess

The thick substance towered up to the wings of the Atlanta-based carrier’s smaller aircraft within the hangar. According to Tankdiver, a member of Airliners’ popular forum, staff could not contain the foam. Therefore, employees had no choice but to open the hangar door to let the material out.

There are reports on the website that a plane backed into the hangar with the auxiliary power unit (APU) on. This may have triggered the fire suppression system, forcing the foam to be dispersed.

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Nonetheless, there most likely would have been some sort of heat within the building to cause the incident to occur. Alternatively, a sensor could have gone rogue. Staff at the site must have been panicking while the foam spread across the vicinity. Regardless, at least the aircraft here got a squeaky clean polish out of it.

Delta LAX
The snow-like material made Los Angeles International resemble the likes of Denver and Salt Lake City. Photo: Tankdiver via Airliners forum

Los Angeles presence

Delta operates at LAX’s Terminal 2, Terminal 3, and Terminal TB – Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). The airline formerly departed from Terminal 5 and Terminal 6. However, it switched in spring 2017 as part of a $1.86 billion plan to improve operations in the Californian city.

Simple Flying reached out to Delta for comment on what happened at the LAX hangar. A spokesperson for the company shared that the fire suppression system in the hangar malfunctioned and caused foam to be dispersed.

However, Delta is still investigating the cause of the incident. Nonetheless, there was no impact on operations and the airline is working with its local environmental contractor to clean up the foam from the aircraft and hangar.

Delta Air Lines, On Time Performance, Punctuality
Despite the messy situation, Delta said that the incident did not hinder its services at the airport. Photo: Getty Images

Volatile system

Last September, a similar incident happened at Airbus’ brand new manufacturing plant in Mobile, Alabama. A fire suppression system was activated, which caused fire-retardant foam to be sprayed all over the building. Additionally, the first A220-300 that was being assembled in the hangar got covered.

Ultimately, the system’s sensitivity shows that it can be relied upon if there was an actual fire. However, it looks there are some units that are extra fragile when it comes to a little bit of heat in the area. Therefore, it can be a costly job to clear up the mess if the foam is discharged without a proper reason.

What are your thoughts on what occurred at Delta’s hangar at LAX? Have you seen anything like this before? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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ubman

I used to work for delta and understand how things go there . In my opinion those fire systems dont malfunction like that. I believe either sonebody accidentally activated it or some procedures were not followed and the system got activated. It is that simple. Delta does not like to be in the news for things like this and this is there cover story. I am sure the person responsible for this is fired or demoted

Martyn

On a fire course we were shown a video of a fixed high expansion foam installation being used very impressive on how fast it fills the area and anybody caught in it can safely walk out.

Moaz abid

Imagine: Break time, cleaners bored. What to do, have a snow fight🤣🤣🤣🤣

Jim McGinty

If the aircraft entered the hangar with the APU running, then the system more than likely functioned as designed as the heat signature from the APU would trigger the system detection devices. Upon activation of the foam system discharge, the hangar doors are suppose to automatically close to contain the foam so that the fire is extinguished. Opening the hangar doors defeats the purpose of a foam fire extinguishing system.

JB

Foam party!

Barney

Most of these systems are designed with multiple infrared flame sensors located around the interior perimeter of the hangar. For the one we have, a single sensor triggering sets off the alarm and charges the system,a dual sensor triggering sets off the cannons. There are manual override panels but to use them you have to be positive the fire alarm is false and you have to get to them in seconds. Unfortunately this foam is usually corrosive and it takes a massive effort to clean the planes after they’re contaminated.

Barney

Most of these systems are designed with multiple infrared flame sensors that need to see open flame (not heat) within the interior perimeter of the hangar. For the one we have, a single sensor triggering sets off the alarm and charges the system,a dual sensor triggering sets off the cannons. There are manual override panels but to use them you have to be positive the fire alarm is false and you have to get to them in seconds. Unfortunately this foam is usually corrosive and it takes a massive effort to clean the planes after they’re contaminated.

Bob

Looks the Airbus is skimming the cloud tops!