On 2 June 1983, Air Canada flight 797 left Dallas/Fort Worth airport bound for Toronto. As it approached Cincinnati, a fire was discovered in the rear lavatory and the plane made an emergency landing at Cincinnati’s Northern Kentucky International Airport.
In the end, 23 people had died from smoke inhalation. Up to that time cargo compartment (where the fire started) wall liner had been made using polyester resin. The FAA issued a rule that all future cargo compartment liners would be made using phenolic resin.
At that time there was not any technology existing for phenolic cargo liner laminates. Our R&D department, headed by Phillip Gill, immediately began to develop a laminate with a phenolic resin system that would meet the new smoke and toxicity requirements.
It was a dramatic change in the technology of our industry. Because of Phil’s efforts, we were at the forefront and in a very short amount of time we had a new cargo compartment liner to offer Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.