Sec. 25.981 - Fuel tank ignition prevention.

(a) No ignition source may be present at each point in the fuel tank or fuel tank system where catastrophic failure could occur due to ignition of fuel or vapors. This must be shown by:

(1) Determining the highest temperature allowing a safe margin below the lowest expected autoignition temperature of the fuel in the fuel tanks.

(2) Demonstrating that no temperature at each place inside each fuel tank where fuel ignition is possible will exceed the temperature determined under paragraph (a)(1) of this section. This must be verified under all probable operating, failure, and malfunction conditions of each component whose operation, failure, or malfunction could increase the temperature inside the tank.

(3) Demonstrating that an ignition source could not result from each single failure, from each single failure in combination with each latent failure condition not shown to be extremely remote, and from all combinations of failures not shown to be extremely improbable. The effects of manufacturing variability, aging, wear, corrosion, and likely damage must be considered.

(b) Based on the evaluations required by this section, critical design configuration control limitations, inspections, or other procedures must be established, as necessary, to prevent development of ignition sources within the fuel tank system and must be included in the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness required by 25.1529. Visible means to identify critical features of the design must be placed in areas of the airplane where maintenance actions, repairs, or alterations may be apt to violate the critical design configuration limitations (e.g., color-coding of wire to identify separation limitation).

(c) The fuel tank installation must include either --

(1) Means to minimize the development of flammable vapors in the fuel tanks (in the context of this rule, "minimize" means to incorporate practicable design methods to reduce the likelihood of flammable vapors); or

(2) Means to mitigate the effects of an ignition of fuel vapors within fuel tanks such that no damage caused by an ignition will prevent continued safe flight and landing.

[Doc. No. 1999-6411, 66 FR 23129, May 7, 2001]