14 CFR Appendix N to Part 25, Fuel Tank Flammability Exposure and Reliability Analysis
(a) This appendix specifies the requirements for conducting fuel tank fleet average flammability exposure analyses required to meet § 25.981(b) and Appendix M of this part. For fuel tanks installed in aluminum wings, a qualitative assessment is sufficient if it substantiates that the tank is a conventional unheated wing tank.
(b) This appendix defines parameters affecting fuel tank flammability that must be used in performing the analysis. These include parameters that affect all airplanes within the fleet, such as a statistical distribution of ambient temperature, fuel flash point, flight lengths, and airplane descent rate. Demonstration of compliance also requires application of factors specific to the airplane model being evaluated. Factors that need to be included are maximum range, cruise mach number, typical altitude where the airplane begins initial cruise phase of flight, fuel temperature during both ground and flight times, and the performance of a flammability reduction means (FRM) if installed.
(c) The following definitions, input variables, and data tables must be used in the program to determine fleet average flammability exposure for a specific airplane model.
(a)Bulk Average Fuel Temperature means the average fuel temperature within the fuel tank or different sections of the tank if the tank is subdivided by baffles or compartments.
(b)Flammability Exposure Evaluation Time (FEET). The time from the start of preparing the airplane for flight, through the flight and landing, until all payload is unloaded, and all passengers and crew have disembarked. In the Monte Carlo program, the flight time is randomly selected from the Flight Length Distribution (Table 2), the pre-flight times are provided as a function of the flight time, and the post-flight time is a constant 30 minutes.
(c)Flammable. With respect to a fluid or gas, flammable means susceptible to igniting readily or to exploding ( 14 CFR Part 1, Definitions). A non-flammable ullage is one where the fuel-air vapor is too lean or too rich to burn or is inert as defined below. For the purposes of this appendix, a fuel tank that is not inert is considered flammable when the bulk average fuel temperature within the tank is within the flammable range for the fuel type being used. For any fuel tank that is subdivided into sections by baffles or compartments, the tank is considered flammable when the bulk average fuel temperature within any section of the tank, that is not inert, is within the flammable range for the fuel type being used.
(d)Flash Point. The flash point of a flammable fluid means the lowest temperature at which the application of a flame to a heated sample causes the vapor to ignite momentarily, or “flash.” Table 1 of this appendix provides the flash point for the standard fuel to be used in the analysis.
(e)Fleet average flammability exposure is the percentage of the flammability exposure evaluation time (FEET) each fuel tank ullage is flammable for a fleet of an airplane type operating over the range of flight lengths in a world-wide range of environmental conditions and fuel properties as defined in this appendix.
(f)Gaussian Distribution is another name for the normal distribution, a symmetrical frequency distribution having a precise mathematical formula relating the mean and standard deviation of the samples. Gaussian distributions yield bell-shaped frequency curves having a preponderance of values around the mean with progressively fewer observations as the curve extends outward.
(g)Hazardous atmosphere. An atmosphere that may expose maintenance personnel, passengers or flight crew to the risk of death, incapacitation, impairment of ability to self-rescue (that is, escape unaided from a confined space), injury, or acute illness.
(h)Inert. For the purpose of this appendix, the tank is considered inert when the bulk average oxygen concentration within each compartment of the tank is 12 percent or less from sea level up to 10,000 feet altitude, then linearly increasing from 12 percent at 10,000 feet to 14.5 percent at 40,000 feet altitude, and extrapolated linearly above that altitude.
(i)Inerting. A process where a noncombustible gas is introduced into the ullage of a fuel tank so that the ullage becomes non-flammable.
(j)Monte Carlo Analysis. The analytical method that is specified in this appendix as the compliance means for assessing the fleet average flammability exposure time for a fuel tank.
(k)Oxygen evolution occurs when oxygen dissolved in the fuel is released into the ullage as the pressure and temperature in the fuel tank are reduced.
(l)Standard deviation is a statistical measure of the dispersion or variation in a distribution, equal to the square root of the arithmetic mean of the squares of the deviations from the arithmetic means.
(m)Transport Effects. For purposes of this appendix, transport effects are the change in fuel vapor concentration in a fuel tank caused by low fuel conditions and fuel condensation and vaporization.
(n)Ullage. The volume within the fuel tank not occupied by liquid fuel.
N25.3 Fuel tank flammability exposure analysis.
(a) A flammability exposure analysis must be conducted for the fuel tank under evaluation to determine fleet average flammability exposure for the airplane and fuel types under evaluation. For fuel tanks that are subdivided by baffles or compartments, an analysis must be performed either for each section of the tank, or for the section of the tank having the highest flammability exposure. Consideration of transport effects is not allowed in the analysis. The analysis must be done in accordance with the methods and procedures set forth in the Fuel Tank Flammability Assessment Method User's Manual, dated May 2008, document number DOT/FAA/AR-05/8 (incorporated by reference, see § 25.5). The parameters specified in sections N25.3(b) and (c) of this appendix must be used in the fuel tank flammability exposure “Monte Carlo” analysis.
(b) The following parameters are defined in the Monte Carlo analysis and provided in paragraph N25.4 of this appendix:
(1) Cruise Ambient Temperature, as defined in this appendix.
(2) Ground Ambient Temperature, as defined in this appendix.
(3) Fuel Flash Point, as defined in this appendix.
(4) Flight Length Distribution, as defined in Table 2 of this appendix.
(5) Airplane Climb and Descent Profiles, as defined in the Fuel Tank Flammability Assessment Method User's Manual, dated May 2008, document number DOT/FAA/AR-05/8 (incorporated by reference in § 25.5).
(c) Parameters that are specific to the particular airplane model under evaluation that must be provided as inputs to the Monte Carlo analysis are:
(1) Airplane cruise altitude.
(2) Fuel tank quantities. If fuel quantity affects fuel tank flammability, inputs to the Monte Carlo analysis must be provided that represent the actual fuel quantity within the fuel tank or compartment of the fuel tank throughout each of the flights being evaluated. Input values for this data must be obtained from ground and flight test data or the approved FAA fuel management procedures.
(3) Airplane cruise mach number.
(4) Airplane maximum range.
(5) Fuel tank thermal characteristics. If fuel temperature affects fuel tank flammability, inputs to the Monte Carlo analysis must be provided that represent the actual bulk average fuel temperature within the fuel tank at each point in time throughout each of the flights being evaluated. For fuel tanks that are subdivided by baffles or compartments, bulk average fuel temperature inputs must be provided for each section of the tank. Input values for these data must be obtained from ground and flight test data or a thermal model of the tank that has been validated by ground and flight test data.
(6) Maximum airplane operating temperature limit, as defined by any limitations in the airplane flight manual.
(7) Airplane Utilization. The applicant must provide data supporting the number of flights per day and the number of hours per flight for the specific airplane model under evaluation. If there is no existing airplane fleet data to support the airplane being evaluated, the applicant must provide substantiation that the number of flights per day and the number of hours per flight for that airplane model is consistent with the existing fleet data they propose to use.
(d)Fuel Tank FRM Model. If FRM is used, an FAA approved Monte Carlo program must be used to show compliance with the flammability requirements of § 25.981 and Appendix M of this part. The program must determine the time periods during each flight phase when the fuel tank or compartment with the FRM would be flammable. The following factors must be considered in establishing these time periods:
(1) Any time periods throughout the flammability exposure evaluation time and under the full range of expected operating conditions, when the FRM is operating properly but fails to maintain a non-flammable fuel tank because of the effects of the fuel tank vent system or other causes,
(2) If dispatch with the system inoperative under the Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) is requested, the time period assumed in the reliability analysis (60 flight hours must be used for a 10-day MMEL dispatch limit unless an alternative period has been approved by the Administrator),
(3) Frequency and duration of time periods of FRM inoperability, substantiated by test or analysis acceptable to the FAA, caused by latent or known failures, including airplane system shut-downs and failures that could cause the FRM to shut down or become inoperative.
(4) Effects of failures of the FRM that could increase the flammability exposure of the fuel tank.
(5) If an FRM is used that is affected by oxygen concentrations in the fuel tank, the time periods when oxygen evolution from the fuel results in the fuel tank or compartment exceeding the inert level. The applicant must include any times when oxygen evolution from the fuel in the tank or compartment under evaluation would result in a flammable fuel tank. The oxygen evolution rate that must be used is defined in the Fuel Tank Flammability Assessment Method User's Manual, dated May 2008, document number DOT/FAA/AR-05/8 (incorporated by reference in § 25.5).
(6) If an inerting system FRM is used, the effects of any air that may enter the fuel tank following the last flight of the day due to changes in ambient temperature, as defined in Table 4, during a 12-hour overnight period.
(e) The applicant must submit to the FAA Oversight Office for approval the fuel tank flammability analysis, including the airplane-specific parameters identified under paragraph N25.3(c) of this appendix and any deviations from the parameters identified in paragraph N25.3(b) of this appendix that affect flammability exposure, substantiating data, and any airworthiness limitations and other conditions assumed in the analysis.
N25.4 Variables and data tables.
The following data must be used when conducting a flammability exposure analysis to determine the fleet average flammability exposure. Variables used to calculate fleet flammability exposure must include atmospheric ambient temperatures, flight length, flammability exposure evaluation time, fuel flash point, thermal characteristics of the fuel tank, overnight temperature drop, and oxygen evolution from the fuel into the ullage.
(a) Atmospheric Ambient Temperatures and Fuel Properties.
(1) In order to predict flammability exposure during a given flight, the variation of ground ambient temperatures, cruise ambient temperatures, and a method to compute the transition from ground to cruise and back again must be used. The variation of the ground and cruise ambient temperatures and the flash point of the fuel is defined by a Gaussian curve, given by the 50 percent value and a ±1-standard deviation value.
(2) Ambient Temperature: Under the program, the ground and cruise ambient temperatures are linked by a set of assumptions on the atmosphere. The temperature varies with altitude following the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) rate of change from the ground ambient temperature until the cruise temperature for the flight is reached. Above this altitude, the ambient temperature is fixed at the cruise ambient temperature. This results in a variation in the upper atmospheric temperature. For cold days, an inversion is applied up to 10,000 feet, and then the ISA rate of change is used.
(3) Fuel properties:
(i) For Jet A fuel, the variation of flash point of the fuel is defined by a Gaussian curve, given by the 50 percent value and a ±1-standard deviation, as shown in Table 1 of this appendix.
(ii) The flammability envelope of the fuel that must be used for the flammability exposure analysis is a function of the flash point of the fuel selected by the Monte Carlo for a given flight. The flammability envelope for the fuel is defined by the upper flammability limit (UFL) and lower flammability limit (LFL) as follows:
(A) LFL at sea level = flash point temperature of the fuel at sea level minus 10 °F. LFL decreases from sea level value with increasing altitude at a rate of 1 °F per 808 feet.
(B) UFL at sea level = flash point temperature of the fuel at sea level plus 63.5 °F. UFL decreases from the sea level value with increasing altitude at a rate of 1 °F per 512 feet.
(4) For each flight analyzed, a separate random number must be generated for each of the three parameters (ground ambient temperature, cruise ambient temperature, and fuel flash point) using the Gaussian distribution defined in Table 1 of this appendix.
Table 1. - Gaussian Distribution for Ground Ambient Temperature, Cruise Ambient Temperature, and Fuel Flash Point
|Parameter||Temperature in deg F|
|Ground ambient temperature||Cruise ambient temperature||Fuel flash point (FP)|
|Neg 1 std dev||20.14||8||8|
|Pos 1 std dev||17.28||8||8|
(b) The Flight Length Distribution defined in Table 2 must be used in the Monte Carlo analysis.
Table 2. - Flight Length Distribution
|Flight length (NM)||Airplane maximum range - nautical miles (NM)|
|Distribution of flight lengths (percentage of total)|
(c) Overnight Temperature Drop. For airplanes on which FRM is installed, the overnight temperature drop for this appendix is defined using:
(1) A temperature at the beginning of the overnight period that equals the landing temperature of the previous flight that is a random value based on a Gaussian distribution; and
(2) An overnight temperature drop that is a random value based on a Gaussian distribution.
(3) For any flight that will end with an overnight ground period (one flight per day out of an average number of flights per day, depending on utilization of the particular airplane model being evaluated), the landing outside air temperature (OAT) is to be chosen as a random value from the following Gaussian curve:
Table 3. - Landing Outside Air Temperature
|Parameter||Landing outside air temperature °F|
|negative 1 std dev||20.55|
|positive 1 std dev||13.21|
(4) The outside ambient air temperature (OAT) overnight temperature drop is to be chosen as a random value from the following Gaussian curve:
Table 4. - Outside Air Temperature (OAT) Drop
|1 std dev||6.0|
(d) Number of Simulated Flights Required in Analysis. In order for the Monte Carlo analysis to be valid for showing compliance with the fleet average and warm day flammability exposure requirements, the applicant must run the analysis for a minimum number of flights to ensure that the fleet average and warm day flammability exposure for the fuel tank under evaluation meets the applicable flammability limits defined in Table 5 of this appendix.
Table 5. - Flammability Exposure Limit
|Minimum number of flights in Monte Carlo analysis||Maximum
acceptable Monte Carlo average fuel tank flammability
(percent) to meet 3 percent
acceptable Monte Carlo average fuel tank flammability
(percent) to meet 7 percent part 26