To stay up-to-date with the trends in aviation refurbishment or get insight in how to approach your next refurbishment project, sign up for our mailer.

    Explore Articles

    A Guideline to Aircraft Burn Tests

    Ensuring the safety of aircraft and its passengers is paramount in aviation. One crucial aspect of this safety assurance are Aircraft Burn Tests, rigorous evaluations conducted on materials used in aircraft construction. Complying with stringent regulations such as FAR25.853 and FAR23.853, this test plays a pivotal role in certifying the fire safety standards of aircraft components.

    We thought we would take a look at an aircraft burn test in order to understand what it is, why it is done, how it is done and what you need to understand about the regulations. Let’s dive in. 

    What is an Aircraft Burn Test?

    An Aircraft Burn Test is a controlled evaluation designed to assess the flammability characteristics of materials used in aircraft interiors. The objective is to determine how materials respond to fire and ensure they meet specific safety standards. These tests are essential for obtaining burn certificates, which certify that materials comply with aviation safety regulations.

    Why is it Done?

    The primary reason for conducting Aircraft Burn Tests is to enhance safety by minimising the risk of fire and controlling its spread within an aircraft cabin. In the event of an onboard fire, materials must meet stringent criteria to delay ignition and prevent rapid flame propagation. By subjecting materials to rigorous burn tests, aviation authorities and manufacturers ensure that only fire-resistant materials are used in aircraft construction.

    Moreover, these tests are crucial for regulatory compliance. Aviation authorities like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States mandate these tests under regulations such as FAR25.853 and FAR23.853. Compliance with these standards is non-negotiable for aircraft manufacturers and operators, who must obtain certification demonstrating adherence to fire safety protocols.

    How is it Done?

    Aircraft Burn Tests are meticulously conducted in specialised facilities equipped to simulate conditions that materials would face in an actual fire onboard an aircraft. The process typically involves subjecting samples of materials, such as fabrics, plastics, and composites, to various ignition sources under controlled conditions. These ignition sources can include open flames, radiant heat, and electrical arcs.

    During the test, parameters such as ignition time, flame spread, smoke emission, and heat release are closely monitored and recorded. Testing continues until the material’s burn characteristics are thoroughly evaluated and documented. The data gathered during these tests determine whether materials meet the criteria specified in aviation safety regulations.

    Once a material successfully passes the burn test, it is issued a burn certificate. This certification serves as proof that the material complies with fire safety standards and can be safely used in aircraft interiors. Conversely, materials that fail to meet the required standards are either modified to enhance fire resistance or prohibited from use in aviation.

    More about the Regulations

    Aircraft Burn Tests are conducted in strict accordance with regulatory frameworks such as FAR25.853 and FAR23.853. These regulations outline the specific test procedures, performance criteria, and acceptance criteria that materials must meet to qualify for use in aircraft construction. Compliance with these regulations is essential for ensuring uniform safety standards across the aviation industry.

    FAR25.853 applies to transport category aircraft, while FAR23.853 pertains to small aircraft. Both regulations specify the conditions under which materials must be tested, the test methods to be employed, and the performance criteria that materials must achieve. These criteria include limits on flame propagation, smoke density, and toxic gas emissions, all of which are critical factors in ensuring passenger safety during a fire emergency.

    The Bottom Line 

    In conclusion, Aircraft Burn Tests are indispensable for safeguarding the lives of passengers and crew aboard aircraft. By subjecting materials to rigorous fire safety evaluations, these tests ensure that only fire-resistant materials are incorporated into aircraft interiors. Compliance with regulations such as FAR25.853 and FAR23.853 guarantees that materials meet stringent safety standards established by aviation authorities.

    As aviation technology advances, the importance of Aircraft Burn Tests remains paramount. Continued research and development in fire-resistant materials and testing methodologies contribute to further enhancing aircraft safety. Ultimately, the rigorous standards upheld by Aircraft Burn Tests underscore the aviation industry’s commitment to passenger safety and operational excellence.

    At Executive Aircraft Refurbishment, we offer Aircraft Burn Test services to ensure the safety and smooth-running of your aircraft. Contact us for more information

    Click to Talk to Us