A pioneering fire containment bag used by airlines worldwide has won an innovation award.

The AvSax was presented with the innovation award at the annual world Flight Operational Forum which was held in Norway.

This is a major international conference which focuses on flight safety and gives people the chance to discuss all aspects of operating aircraft.

The key speaker was Richard Champion de Crespigny who was the captain in charge of a Qantas A380 Airbus in November 2010 when one of its four engines exploded at 7,400ft as it was climbing out of Singapore, badly damaging the plane. Richard remained calm under pressure and managed to keep the plane in the air and then, using tremendous skill,  brought it down safely to land at Singapore.

According to the conference website: “The developments in recent years in aviation, with a significant increase in the number of aircraft operators, several airports, and more sophisticated materials, has led to an increased need for co-operation and coordination on issues of common operational interest.”

The citation for the AvSax states it won the innovation award “for inventing a bag with flame and blast mitigation properties designed to contain lithium-ion battery runaway events in flight.”

* AvSax fire containment bags are now on board several major airlines worldwide.

If an electronic device such as laptop of iPad starts to seriously overheat or emit smoke the cabin crew will pour at least two litres of water into an AvSax and then drop the burning device into the bag, adding additional water as required.

The water activates the polymer gel inside the bag causing it to expand around the device. Should the device keep on venting or even explode then the AvSax is tough enough to absorb the force. 

The AvSax cools the batteries in the device, reducing the likelihood of the battery catching fire but if it does go into what is known as thermal runaway when all the battery cells catch fire at incredibly hot temperatures it is all contained within the bag.