Re: A/C on fire

Date:         20 Nov 98 02:30:33 
From:         Brandon Scott Durham <>
Organization: The Boeing Company
References:   1 2
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Ron Parsons wrote:
> In article <airliners.1998.1722@ohare.Chicago.COM>, "Richard Rea"
> <> wrote:
> For what it's worth, aircraft are constructed of two main ingredients,
> aluminum and PVC (polyvinylchloride). When PVC burns, it gives off
> chlorine gas, which was one of the gases banned for further warfare use
> after WWI.
> The smell you are familiar with as electrical smoke, is overheated PVC
> used as insulation on the wiring. Virtually the entire cabin interior is
> constructed from PVC materials.

This is not true of materials which are installed by the airplane
manufacturer.  For the past 20 years Boeing has had stringent smoke and
toxicity requirements for any material installed in the pressurized
vessel.  These requirements prevent materials like PVC from being used.

In the tests, you simply burn a standard size of the material and then
measure the optical density of the smoke, and the concentrations of key
poisonous gases.

Most production aircraft wiring is now ETFE or PTFE, which meet the
smoke/toxicity requirements.

Since these requirements are particular to the airframers (not in the
FARs), they do not apply to any Post-Delivery Modifications, such as
with the Swiss Air IFE system.