The safety of aircraft has always been a top priority within the aviation industry. With advancements in technology and engineering, efforts to improve safety have become more focused and effective, particularly in the area of fuel tank flammability reduction (FTFR). In this article, we will discuss the crucial role patented technology plays in enhancing aviation safety, with a particular emphasis on FTFR and its related regulatory requirements.
The Challenge of Fuel Tank Explosions
Fuel tank explosions present a significant safety risk in aviation. Explosions typically occur in the ullage – the space above the fuel level that can create a dangerous mixture of fuel and air. When an ignition source, such as a spark, is present, the vapor adjacent to the spark ignites rapidly, creating a chain reaction that leads to a fuel tank explosion in milliseconds.
Regulatory Requirements for Fuel Tank Flammability Reduction
To address the risks associated with fuel tank explosions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a series of airworthiness directives (ADs) related to fuel tank flammability compliance. These ADs require that all aircraft must meet the requirements of Federal Aviation Regulations FAR 25.981 and FAR 121.1117.
Additionally, aircraft must have fuel tanks and fuel systems that are designed, constructed, operated, and tested to meet the requirements of the applicable FARs. The ADs also mandate the inspection and maintenance of fuel tanks and fuel systems according to the requirements of FAR 121.1117. Lastly, aircraft must be tested to ensure they meet the requirements of FAR 25.981.
Jetaire's Patented Solution: INVICTA™
Jetaire, a leading provider of fuel tank flammability reduction solutions, was the first company to develop an innovative solution to satisfy FTFR and FAR 25.981 through the development of INVICTA™. This patented technology utilizes a proprietary Reticulated Polyurethane Foam (RPF) that reduces the incidence of explosions.
The foam is a lightweight, self-extinguishing, three-dimensional skeletal matrix that suppresses fuel ignition caused by heated fuel vapor, tank rupture, lightning strikes, static discharge, or external factors.
Jetaire holds the only patent for RPF application to mitigate against spark ignition within the center wing tank (CWT) of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Jetaire’s patented INVICTA ™ solution has been adopted by commercial and private aircraft operators of Boeing and Airbus aircraft in more than a dozen countries to date.
What it Means to Own a Patent
Patents, generally defined, are the grant of government authority or a license conferring a right or title for a set period in a creative invention. That grant of authority includes the sole right to exclude others from making, using, selling, exporting, or importing a similar product or invention in exchange for publishing and enabling public disclosure of the invention. The inventor or owner of the patent rights in a certain product or invention can, under government authority, prevent or stop others from copying that invention and selling it to third parties. The grant of a patent, therefore, recognizes the original creator of the invention, prevents others from patenting and/or selling substantially similar inventions or products, provides the legal means to stop the sale or use of infringing products and to recover money damages incurred by the original inventor due to the infringement.
Compliance with Airworthiness Directives
To ensure compliance with the applicable airworthiness directives and mandates, Jetaire offers their patented INVICTA™ solution for various aircraft models. The FAA has issued multiple ADs corresponding to Jetaire's Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for different aircraft, including:
AD 2019-24-01 - Airbus A330-200 aircraft & corresponding Jetaire STC: Expected May 2023
The Benefits of INVICTA™
Achieving fuel tank flammability compliance is a complex process, but it is possible with the right knowledge and resources. Jetaire Group specializes in fuel tank flammability compliance and can help ensure compliance with the applicable airworthiness directives and mandates through their proprietary and patented INVICTA™ solution.
Installing INVICTA™ is straightforward and can be performed in only a matter of days. Additionally, unlike competitors, INVICTA™ does not require costly fuel purges after the installation is complete. With the entire modification taking less than a week from start to finish and requiring zero maintenance after installation, INVICTA™ is not only the most effective FRM solution, but it is also the most efficient.
As the aviation industry continues to evolve and grow, the importance of patented technology in enhancing safety cannot be overstated. Fuel tank flammability reduction is just one area where innovative solutions, like Jetaire's INVICTA™, are making a significant impact on aviation safety. By ensuring compliance with airworthiness directives and leveraging cutting-edge technology, the aviation industry can continue to improve safety and protect both passengers and crew.