The Project

Safety aboard aircraft is always one of the main preoccupations of aircraft manufacturers and airline companies. Therefore fire safety is one of the major research topics that have been addressed to improve the passenger safety. Fire is an omnipresent threat to life exacerbated in aircraft by the large quantities of highly flammable fuel and very limited possibilities of escape. Tremendous improvements in aircraft fire safety have been introduced during the last 20 years and these efforts have contributed to a significant reduction of the number of accidents, from a level of 15 accidents per million of flight hours in 1959 to two accidents per million of flight hours in 2000. Thanks to these fire safety technologies, e.g. improved cabin materials, aircraft evacuation became more effective and ground fire fighting was improved. In consequence, along the years air transportation has become the safest means of mass transport ever.

But, for the last 15 years the slope of this decrease stays close to zero. Further efforts in fire safety research are still required in order to keep reducing the risk of fire related accidents despite the increase of the air traffic.Nevertheless, in the last 10 years, over 3000 fire incidents have been recorded, many of them with potential for catastrophe, with around 40 fatal fire accidents worldwide [FAA]. With the expected growth in passenger air traffic, the number of fire fatalities will increase by four percent every year! Consequently, to prevent incidents and accidents, aircraft manufacturers aim at improving fire safety requirements, commit to long range Fire Safety Research, and develop efficient technologies while keeping a balance between aircraft safety and economics and performance. But, the evolution of technologies and equipment in new generation of airplanes can have the potential to turn this trend into the opposite direction.

 

In this context, AircraftFire addresses important questions such as:

  • Does the increase of composite on board these aircrafts induce more fire threat than the conventional ones?
  • Does the time of flashover change, which is considered as a critical point in post crash cabin fires where the fire rapidly grows to engulf the entire cabin and which generally marks the end of the survivability of passengers still within the cabin?
  • Should the fire procedure be conserved, adapted or strongly modified?
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