The management of aircraft passenger survival in fire
This study examines the main problems associated with passenger survival and evacuation in survivable aircraft fire situations under current regulatory safety requirements and assesses current and alternative strategies to combat cabin fire, and assist evacuation, with a view to identifying a best alternative strategy. The technical and management findings associated with a research programme which was conducted into passenger smoke hood protection are then described. The survival/evacuation/pathology aspects associated with 10 selected accidents to public transport aircraft which involved fire are reviewed at the outset of this study in order to set forth the attendant problems of survival in such situations. The pathology and toxicological findings associated with these accidents are then discussed. The assembled information is then analysed with a view towards identifying the key problems inherent in survival and evacuation from aircraft fires, including those which stem from survivable in-flight fires. The current regulatory requirements and associated strategies relating to occupant survival/evacuation are then critically reviewed against the key problems identified. A review of alternative strategies is then conducted and an assessment made of technical potential, related cost-benefit data, problems still to be resolved and possible timescales for implementation. A'best-strategy'is then selected. The potential benefits of this strategy are then set forth in terms of its relevance to the survival/evacuation problems identified, associated cost-effectiveness, potential synergy with existing, and possible future, requirements and implementation timescale. A review of data on aircraft fires is then conducted, including that associated with the thermochemical characteristics of such combustion atmospheres and related effects on animals and humans. Using this data, the approach used to develop a set of acceptance criteria for aircraft passenger smoke hood designs is described. In addition, the way in which a challenge combustion atmosphere model was developed, and against which filter-type smoke hoods could be tested, is described. The organisation and implementation of a research programme to evaluate the performance capability of a range of breathable-gas and filter-type smoke hoods is then described in terms of the technical and management aspects, and the results set forth- Finally, the results of the study are analysed from both a technical and management perspective and appropriate conclusions and recommendations presented.