American Society of Civil Engineers


Feasibility Study of Rotorcraft Fire Fighting for High-Rise Buildings


by Erminio Zanenga, (M.Sc. Student, Ph.D. Candidate, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Milano, Via La Masa 34, 20156 Milano, Italy; presently, Dept. of Propulsion and Power, Rolls-Royce UTC, School of Engineering, Cranfield Univ., Beds MK43 0AL, U.K), Domenico Leonello, (Ph.D. Candidate, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Milano, Via La Masa 34, 20156 Milano, Italy), and Carlo L. Bottasso, (corresponding author), (Associate Professor, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Milano, Via La Masa 34, 20156 Milano, Italy)

Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 23, No. 3, July 2010, pp. 166-175, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)AS.1943-5525.0000021)

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Fire risk in high-rise buildings is of special concern to the fire community, since it is crucial but still technically extremely challenging to significantly improve the current fire fighting capabilities when a calamity happens above the "seven story limit." In fact, at the moment, there is a lack of effective means for fire fighting in this rare but potentially deadly and costly accidents. To address this problem, in this work we provide a preliminary exploration of a new concept for fire suppression: the use of rotorcraft vehicles for aerial fire fighting in high-rise buildings. If available, such system could effectively support fire fighting efforts conducted with conventional means; moreover, it could provide for one of the very few alternatives to classic systems in certain critical cases such as postearthquake fires. At first, we analyze the operative context with the help of a few reference realistic scenarios which allow for the estimation of some key physical parameters. Next, we evaluate two alternative fire extinguishing technologies, and we identify in the water impulse cannon the solution which seems to be the most effective and compatible with the use on-board a rotorcraft for the scopes considered in this work. The analysis leads us to the identification of a target vehicle as a possible candidate platform for the development of a fire fighting helicopter. Finally, we propose a preliminary design of the fire fighting kit, and we evaluate the handling qualities of the vehicle during operations with reference to the ADS-33 normative.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Aircraft
Fires
High-rise buildings

Author Keywords:
Fire fighting
Aircraft design
Rotorcraft vehicles