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Helipads: Aluminium and Fire

Aluminium does not melt

Aluminium has a lower melting point than carbon steel. As this is commonly known within the industry, we as an aluminium helideck manufacturer have been asked many times the question, what happens to an aluminium helideck when the helicopter on top of it, catches fire.

Our answer is that our helidecks are either equipped with a DIFFS or have a Safedeck configuration. Both systems will extinguish any fire on a helideck within seconds, so nothing happens to the helideck.

However regardless of the firefighting systems, aluminium helidecks are equivalent to steel helidecks in terms of structural integrity during a pool fire.

To make this evident we have conducted a pool fire test on a helideck mock-up with simulated parked helicopter on the helideck.

The details of the test are:

  • 1500 litres (400 gallons) of Jet A1 fuel place on a 5m*5m (16ft*16ft) aluminium helideck mock up.
  • Ignited and acting a pool fire wherein a helicopter loses it fuel during a crash on the helideck. The helicopter is simulated as a solid weight of 5200kg (11500lbs) placed on a carbon steel table, simulating helicopters under carriage.
  • The whole fire lasts for more than 15 minutes, and even the collapse of the table, did not damage the helideck surface.

The fire test has been witnessed by DNV.

Official witness report is available upon request.

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