Q12-10. What type of aircraft fire-fighting rescue
vehicles are used at shore-based activities?
Q12-11. What type of aircraft fire-fighting rescue
vehicles are used aboard aircraft carriers?
AIRCRAFT FIRE HAZARDS
different hazards associated with aircraft fires,
and recognize aircraft fluid line identification
Not every crash results in fire. The responsibility of
the crash fire fighter does not end when fire fails to
occur. Serious actual and potential fire hazards may
have been created, which you must eliminate or
minimize without delay.
The greater the damage to the aircraft, the greater
the possibility of fuel spillage. A spark or a hot engine
part could ignite fuel vapors and set off a full-fledged
fire. You should take every precaution to guard against
accidental ignition. Personal laxity or unfamiliarity
with ordinary preventive measures could allow a
delayed fire to occur, which could endanger personnel.
FLAMMABLE, HAZARDOUS, AND FIRE
Accelerating materials carried on aircraft are of
major concern to the aircraft rescue and fire-fighting
Aviation gasoline (AVGAS), jet fuels (JP-4,
JP-5, and JP-8), engine oils, oxygen systems, and
fire-fighting. Some of these fuels have restrictions as to
where they can be used; for example, JP-4 is prohibited
aboard ship due to its flash point.
Under aircraft crash impact conditions
where fuel-air mixtures or mists are created, all
fuels are easily ignited.
Aviation Gasoline (AVGAS)
The flash point (by closed cup method at sea level)
of AVGAS is -50°F (-46°C). The rate of flame spread
has also been calculated to be between 700 and 800 feet
JP-4 jet fuel is a blend of gasoline and kerosene and
has a flash point from -10°F (-23°C). The rate of flame
spread has also been calculated to be between 700 and
800 feet per minute.
JP-5 fuel is a kerosene grade with a flash point of
140°F (60°C). The rate of flame spread has been
calculated to be in the order of 100 feet per minute. The
lowest flash point considered safe for use aboard naval
vessels is 140°F (60°C).
When an aircraft crashes, the impact usually
ruptures the fuel lines and fuel tanks. Ordinarily, all the
fuel is not liberated at once. There is a source of fuel
that is supplying the fire either from the rupture in the
tank or from the loosened and ruptured fuel lines in the
accessory section of the engine.
The control of the fire around the fuselage section
under these conditions presents a very complex
problem. The top portion of the tank is more void of
liquid than any other section of the tank. Because of the
restraining cushion of the liquid itself, the explosive
force will be directed upward instead of downward or
on a horizontal plane.
Fuel loads can vary from 30 gallons in small
aircraft to approximately 50,000 gallons in large jet
aircraft. Fuel tanks are installed in a variety of places
within the aircraft structural framework or as a built-in
part of the wing. Fuel tanks are often carried under the
floor area in the fuselage of helicopters. You should
refer to NATOPS U.S. Navy Aircraft Emergency Rescue
Information Manual, NAVAIR 00-80R-14-1, for the
exact location of fuel tanks on a particular aircraft.
Upon severe impact these tanks generally rupture and
result in fire. Many naval aircraft are provided with
external auxiliary fuel tanks located under the wings
The aircraft manufacturers conducted a number of
tests on external aircraft fuels tanks in which they were
exposed to an enveloping fuel fire. These studies show
that there were no deflagrations. The tanks did melt or
rupture, releasing fuel onto the decks. The time to fuel
tank failure (release of fuel) was dependent on the
percent of fuel in the tank and ranged from 28 seconds
for a 10-percent load to 3 1/2 minutes for a 100-percent