Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Numerical investigation of the fatal 1985 Manchester Airport B737 fire

  • E. R. Galea (a1), Z. Wang (a1) and F. Jia (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

In this paper, fire and evacuation computer simulations are used to reconstruct the 1985 Manchester Airport B737 fire that resulted in the loss of 55 lives. First the actual fire and evacuation are reconstructed. Secondly, the impact of exit opening times and external wind on the fire and evacuation are investigated. Finally, the potential benefit offered by modern materials is evaluated. The results suggest that the number of fatalities could have been reduced by 87% had the forward right exit not malfunctioned and by 36% had the right over-wing exit been opened without delay. Furthermore, given the fuel pool size and location, a critical wind speed of 1.5m/s is necessary to cause the fire plume to lean onto the fuselage eventually resulting in fuselage burn-through. Finally, it is suggested that the use of modern cabin materials could have made a significant difference to the fire development and survivability.

Copyright
Corresponding author
e.r.galea@gre.ac.uk
References
Hide All
1. KingD. Report on the accident to the Boeing 737-236 Series 1, G-BGJL at Manchester International Airport on 22 August 1985, Aircraft Accident Report 8/88, 1988, HMSO, London, UK.
2 NTSB Press Release, NTSB Issues update on the British Airways Engine Fire at Las Vegas, 09/10/2015, [online] http://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20150910.aspx.
3. HallJ.E., HammerschmidtJ.A., GogliaJ.J., BlackG.W.Jr. and CarmodyC.J. Safety study, Emergency evacuation of commercial airplanes, NTSB/SS-00/01, PB2000-917002, 2000, National Transportation Safety Board, Washington, DC, US.
4. SarkosC.P. Application of full-scale fire tests to characterize and improve the aircraft postcrash fire environment, Toxicity, 1996, 115, pp 7987. doi: 10.1016/S0300-483X(96)03496-8.
5. GaleaE.R. and MarkatosN.C. A review of mathematical modelling of aircraft cabin fires, Applied Mathematical Modelling, 1987, 11, pp 162176. doi: 10.1016/0307-904X(87)90001-1.
6. GaleaE.R. and MarkatosN.C. The mathematical modelling and computer simulation of fire development in Aircraft, International J Heat and Mass Transfer, 1991, 34, (1), pp 181197. doi: 10.1016/0017-9310(91)90185-H.
7. HadjisophocleousG.V., SousaA.C.M. and VenartJ.E.S. Time development of convection flow patterns in aircraft cabins under post-crash fire exposure, AGARD Conference Proceedings on Aircraft Fire Safety, No. 467, 22-26 May 1989, Sintra, Purtugal, pp 18.1–18.4.
8. GaleaE.R. and HoffmannN. Using mathematical models to predict the development of aircraft cabin fires, AGARD Conference Proceedings on Aircraft Fire Safety, No. 587, 14-17 October 1997, Dresden, Germany, pp 7.1–7.12.
9. Suo-AnttilaJ., GillW., GallegosC. and NelsenJ. Computational fluid dynamics code for smoke transport during an aircraft cargo compartment fire: Transport solver, graphical user interface, and preliminary baseline validation, DOT/FAA/AR-03/49, Virginia, USA, 2003.
10. GaleaE.R. and MarkatosN.C. Modelling of aircraft cabin fires, fire safety science, Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium, Tokyo, Hemisphere Pub Corp, Wakamatsu T. et al. (Eds), June 1988, pp 801810. doi: 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.2-801.
11. JiaF., PatelM.K., GaleaE.R., GrandisonA. and EwerJ. CFD fire simulation of the Swissair flight 111 in-flight fire Part I: Prediction of the pre-fire air flow within the cockpit and surrounding areas, Aeronautical J Royal Aeronautical Society, 2006, 110, pp 4152. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000004358.
12. JiaF., PatelM.K., GaleaE.R., GrandisonA. and EwerJ. CFD fire simulation of the Swissair flight 111 In-flight fire – Part II: Fire spread within the simulated area, Aeronautical J Royal Aeronautical Society, 2006, 110, pp 303314. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000004358.
13. WangZ., JiaF. and GaleaE.R. Computational fluid dynamics simulation of a post-crash aircraft fire test, J Aircraft, 2013, 50, (1), pp 164175. doi: 10.2514/1.C031845.
14. GaleaE.R., WangZ., VeeraswamyA., JiaF., LawrenceP.J. and EwerJ. Coupled fire/evacuation analysis of station nightclub fire, Proceedings of the 9th IAFSS Symposium, 21-26 September 2008, Karlsruhe, Germany, pp 465–476.
15. HuX., WangZ., JiaF. and GaleaE.R. Numerical investigation of fires in small rail car compartments, J Fire Protection Engineering, 2012, 22, (4), pp 245270. doi: 10.1177/1042391512459640.
16. GaleaE.R., FillippidisL., WangZ. and ewerJ. Fire and evacuation analysis in BWB aircraft configurations: Computer simulations and large-scale evacuation experiment, Aeronautical J Royal Aeronautical Society, 2010, 114, (1154), pp 271277. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000003717.
17 Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), 1999, Federal Aviation Regulations, Washington, DC, US.
18. GaleaE.R. and GalparsoroJ.M.P. EXODUS: An evacuation Model for mass transport vehicles. UK CAA Paper 93 006, ISBN 0 86039 543X, 1993.
19. GaleaE.R. and GalparsoroJ.M.P. A computer based simulation model for the prediction of evacuation from mass transport vehicles, Fire Safety J, 1994, 22, pp 341366. https://doi.org/10.1016/0379-7112(94)90040-X.
20. CourtM.C. Commercial aircraft-cabin egress: The current state of simulation model development and the need for future research, Simulation, 1999, 73, pp 218231. doi: 10.1177/003754979907300404.
21. BLAKES.J., GaleaE.R., GwynneS., LawrenceP.J. and FillippidisL. Examining the effect of exit separation on aircraft evacuation performance during 90-Second certification trials using evacuation modelling techniques, Aeronautical J Royal Aeronautical Society, 2002, 106, pp 116. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000018054.
22. GaleaE.R., BlakeS.J., GwynneS. and LawrenceP.J., The use of evacuation modelling techniques in the design of very large transport aircraft and blended wing body aircraft, Aeronautical J Royal Aeronautical Society, 2003, 107, pp 207–18. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000013270.
23. GaleaE.R., BlakeS.J. and LawrenceP.J. Report on the testing and systematic evaluation of airExodus aircraft evacuation model, CAA (Civil Aviation Administration) Paper 2004/2005, ISBN 0 86039 966 4. http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplication.aspx?catid=1&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=1706
24. KirchnerA., KlüpfelH., NishinariK., SchadschneiderA. and SchreckenbergM. Simulation of competitive egress behaviour: Comparison with aircraft evacuation data, Physica A, 2003, 324, pp 689697. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-4371(03)00076-1.
25. SharmaS., SinghH. and PrakashA. Multi-agent modelling and simulation of human behaviour in aircraft evacuations, IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, 2008, 44, (4), pp 14771488. https://doi.org/10.1109/TAES.2008.4667723.
26. HedoJ.M. and Martinez-ValR. Assessment of narrow-body transport aircraft evacuation by numerical simulation, J Aircraft, 2011, 48, (5), pp 17851794. doi: 10.2514/1.C031397.
27. MiyoshiT., NakayasuH., UenoY. and PattersonP. An emergency aircraft evacuation simulation considering passenger emotions, Computers & Industrial Engineering, 2012, 62, (3), pp 746754. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cie.2011.11.012.
28. MackenzieA., MillerJ.O., HillR. and ChambalS.P. Application of agent based modelling to aircraft maintenance manning and sortie generation, Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory, 2012, 20, (1), pp 8998. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.simpat.2011.09.001.
29. FangZ., LvW., LiuX. and SongW. Study of Boeing 777 evacuation using a finer-grid civil aircraft evacuation model, Transportation Research Procedia, 2014, 2, pp 246254. doi: 10.1016/j.trpro.2014.09.044.
30. LiuY., WangW., HuangH., LiY. and YangY. A new simulation model for assessing aircraft emergency evacuation considering passenger physical characteristics, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 2014, 121, pp 187197. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ress.2013.09.001.
31. WangZ., JiaF. and GaleaE.R. Fire and evacuation simulation of the fatal 1985 Manchester Airport B737 fire, Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium, Human Behaviours in Fire 2012, Interscience Communications Ltd., 2012, pp 159–170.
32 AircraftFire, Periodic report summary 2 - AIRCRAFTFIRE (fire risks assessment and increase of passenger survivability), Project No. FP7-2010-265612-CP-FP, [online] http://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/168294_en.html.
33. GaleaE.R., JiaF., WangZ. and EwerJ. Deliverable D4.1: Modified Smartfire fire simulation tool, AircraftFire, Project No. FP7-2010-265612-CP-FP, 2014.
34. EwerJ., JiaF., GrandisonA., GaleaE.R. and PatelM.K. Smartfire V4.1 user guide and technical manual, 2008, Fire Safety Engineering Group, University of Greenwich, UK.
35. PurserD.A. Toxicity assessment of combustion products, The SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering (3rd ed), DilennoP.J. (Ed), Drysdale, published by the National fire protection, Quincy, MA, 2002.
36. JinT. and YamadaT. Irritating effects from fire smoke on visibility, Fire Science And Technology, 1985, 5, pp 7990. http://doi.org/10.3210/fst.5.79.
37. OwenM., GaleaE.R. and DixonA.J.P. 90-second certification trial data archive report, prepared for the U.K. CAA for project 049/SRG/R&AD, March 1999.
38. WangH.Y. and WangG.D. Interaction between crosswind and aviation-fuel fire engulfing a full-scale composite-type aircraft: A numerical study, Aerospace, 2015, 2, 279311; doi:10.3390/aerospace2020279.
39. GaleaE.R., TogherM. and LawrenceP.J. Investigating the impact of exit availability on egress time using computer based evacuation simulation, Proceedings of the International Aircraft Fire & Cabin Safety Conference, 29 October-1 November 2007, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US.
40. GaleaE.R., FinneyK., DixonA.J.P., SiddiquiA. and CooneyD.P. An analysis of exit availability, exit usage and passenger exit selection behaviour exhibited during actual aviation accidents, Aeronautical J Royal Aeronautical Society, 2006, 110, pp 239248. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000001214.
41. GaleaE.R., FinneyK., DixonA.J.P., SiddiquiA. and CooneyD.P. An Analysis of human behaviour during aircraft evacuation situations using the AASK V3.0 database, Aeronautical J, 2003, 107, (1070), pp 219231. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000013294.
42. MarkerT.R. Full-scale test evaluation of aircraft fuel fire burn-through resistance improvements, DOT/FAA/AR-98/52, 1998, the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Springfield, Virginia, US.
43. CherryR.G.W. and WarrenK. Fuselage burnthrough protection for increased postcrash occupant survivability: Safety benefit analysis based on past accidents, DOT/FAA/AR-99/57, 1999, the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), Springfield, Virginia 22161.
44. QuintiereJ.G. Surface flame spread, SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering, 2nd ed., 1995, National Fire Protection, Quincy, Massachusetts, US, pp 2205.
45. BabrauskasV. Chapter 15, Tables, in Ignition Handbook, 2003, Fire Science Publishers, Issaquah, Washington, US.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Aeronautical Journal
  • ISSN: 0001-9240
  • EISSN: 2059-6464
  • URL: /core/journals/aeronautical-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 17
Total number of PDF views: 74 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 970 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 12th January 2017 - 20th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.