The Federal Aviation Administration is engaged in programs to reduce the probability and/or severity of fire in commercial jet transport aircraft that are involved in ground crash situations. One of the approaches being taken is the development of a modified aviation turbine fuel that will provide a significant reduction in the crash-fire hazard. The modified fuels program, initiated in 1964, brought to light that under small-scale simulated crash conditions the fire reduction benefits of fuel thickeners result from their ability to physically bind the fuel and thus reduce the rate of vaporization and the exposed surface area available to support a fire. Dozens of thickened fuel candidates have undergone cursory screening, and a small percentage of those that looked promising have been subjected to a crash fire rating system designed to provide relative values of candidate fuels. Chemical and physical studies, completed in 1971, on two of the leading fuel candidates greatly improved their fluidic property with no adverse affect on their fire retardative properties, while in mist form. The agency’s plans, to demonstrate the safe operation of aircraft using a modified fuel and to demonstrate the improvement in crash fire safety by conducting full-scale crash tests, are proceeding to take shape due primarily to the continued progress being made by the developers of the gelled fuels.

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