The FAA issued a new advisory circular (AC) on flammability testing for aircraft cabin interiors, on June 4, 2012.
The new AC is entitled Flammability Testing of Aircraft Cabin Interior Panels After Alterations and it is identified as Advisory Circular 20-178.
The AC describes acceptable methods to test aircraft cabin interior materials when new finishes are used on existing aircraft cabin interior panels, typically performed as part of major alterations or major changes to type design involving interiors (including supplemental type certificates (STCs)).
This AC applies to materials for self-extinguishing flammability only. This AC does not apply to materials that must meet heat release or smoke emissions.
The FAA claims that his AC offers several methods for demonstrating compliance that may be more cost-effective and less time-consuming than other methods currently in use in the industry.
This AC will be particularly useful for testing composite build-up, but it may provide useful tips for anyone performing flammability testing of articles intended to be installed in aircraft cabin interiors.