WASHINGTON (CN) – Twelve years after TWA Flight 800’s fuel tank exploded, killing all 230 passengers, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued rules meant to reduce ignition sources in fuel tanks and make fuel vapors less flammable, in case an ignition source does exist.
The fuel tank of Flight 800 exploded when it was over 80 degrees outside, the tanks were empty but for some residual fuel from the previous fueling, and the plane’s center wing fuel tank had flammable vapors in it. The same conditions existed for three other planes whose fuel tanks also exploded.
Systems failures and maintenance errors can cause sources for ignition in fuel tanks, and ignition of flammable fuel vapors is less likely when oxygen in the fuel tanks is reduced
If Boeing and Airbus plane owners or operators follow the rules, only one U.S. passenger plane, instead of four of them, may be destroyed by a fuel tank explosion in the next 35 years, according to the FAA.
Click on the document icon on the front page for details and other new regulations.