Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. Many organizations worldwide mandate the use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS, known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), because of its effectiveness in fighting aircraft fires. However, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), certain PFAS can cause serious health problems, including cancer, if people are exposed to them over a long period of time, and they can also be harmful to aquatic and terrestrial organisms. As a result, the FAA and the Department of Defense (DoD) have engaged in a significant research project to test fluorine-free foam (F3).
In January 2023, DoD published an F3 military specification (MILSPEC), and foam manufacturers can now submit MILSPEC F3 agents for qualification by DoD. Once DoD certifies that a foam meets the new specification, it will be added to the Qualified Product List. FAA considers foams on the Qualified Product List as acceptable to use to satisfy the regulatory requirements of Part 139.
F3 Transition Plan for Aircraft Firefighting
In December 2022, Congress directed the FAA to prepare a transition plan to ensure an orderly move to MILSPEC F3 for aircraft firefighting. The following plan was coordinated with DoD, the Environmental Protection Agency, and industry partners.
- Part 139 CertAlert 23-01: New Military Specification for Performance-Based Standards for Fluorine-Free Aircraft Fire Fighting Foam
- Department of Defense (DoD) Qualified Products Database (QPD)
- Fluorine-Free Foam Testing (DOT/FAA/TC-22/23)
Last updated: Monday, May 8, 2023