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Author Topic: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'  (Read 5485 times)

Offline AVIATOR

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Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« on: September 16, 2009, 11:20:46 PM »
 Explosion-prevention systems

    
Boeing says a spark from wiring in the pumps of any of it's aircraft in commercial service could ignite vapour in a near-empty tank.
 Last week the company said 35,000 fuel pumps could malfunction and that newer 737s, plus all 747s and 757s, need to be checked.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has ordered inspections of relevant planes owned by US airlines, and said that in the meantime commercial airliners should carry enough fuel to keep the pumps covered at all times. That will prevent a vapour explosion even if a pump is faulty. Regulators in other countries normally follow the FAA's lead.


Experts want the FAA to order the installation of fuel tank "inerting" systems that would prevent sparks causing an explosion. One way to do this is to pump nitrogen into the fuel tank, smothering any spark.


The centre fuel tank, one of three in the 747, is giving the most cause for concern on the Boeing aircraft under scrutiny. This tank is often empty or nearly empty on flights where extra fuel is not needed. Vapour in this tank can be heated by waste heat from air-conditioning units, raising the risk of explosion.
Inflated estimates

In 1996, the US National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the FAA amend its regulations to require fuel-tank inerting systems on all new commercial jets. Similar systems are already in use on some military planes.


 FAA engineers are pressing ahead with tests on two types of system. One would inject nitrogen into the fuel tank on the ground. Another would pick up nitrogen during the flight, using a membrane to filter it out of air passing through the jet engine, and funnel it into the fuel tank.




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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2009, 02:09:22 AM »
 ::) I thought this was something already done for newer planes... 1996, that's a long time ago...
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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2009, 02:12:57 AM »
Yes you could be right but I don't know what year it became part of new production. As they said, to alter all existing aircraft would cost the earth.
I put this up for information only about fuel in tanks and how they recommended all tanks not to be drained dry.

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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2009, 02:17:10 AM »
I meant the US National Transportation Safety Board recommendation. From when is the Boeing release?
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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2009, 04:44:43 AM »
Interesting article, mixed views, and plenty for conspiracy theorists to ponder on. What I don't understand is that if those standards described are too much to ask and Boeing wants to do only one of three precautions (like it was before if I understand it correctly), why does the FAA not propose making two of them the standard?

I suppose we've got to trust Boeing that the inerting system means it can do without, the system sounds excellent, but that 10day rule seems a bit strange, no flight back to the airliner's service hub takes 10 days, nor any flight back to Boeing.

Anyway, I'm way out of my depth here. Anyone else who's read the linked article, also read the comments, some insightful ones from (former) Boeing's and other engineers. Apparently, according to one comment, the A380, which is referred to in the article, doesn't have a centre tank and thus still meets the new FAA rules, even though it went through before the new rules came into effect. If my memory serves me correctly, I do remember something of that nature mentioned in some A380 documentary.

Off-topic, but what I don't understand, is why people have such a big problem with the A380 every time the aerospace industry (yah, Boeing mostly) is mentioned. Be it state financing or meeting FAA regulations. People see the A380 as such a huge threat to Boeing and unfair product, while Boeing officials have repeatedly gone on record saying Boeing does no longer believe the market wants a bigger Airliner. Time will tell, if the A380 becomes the new 747 then there's no denying in my eyes that Boeing just missed the boat. The 787 will do great (as well) and Boeing won't have trouble maintaining a sizeable amount of market share in the overall airliner market. Missed opportunity, yes... threat to Boeing's survival, nope.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 06:04:45 AM by Webmaster »
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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2009, 06:08:18 AM »
Aviator, from the article you linked, you are right, I mixed up those sealing regulations with the inerting system when I said I thought it was already on newer planes.
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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2009, 06:10:40 AM »
Well the way I read it the new Dreamliner787 is to be the first with evidently draconian regulations that the FAA has had to water down.

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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2009, 06:18:44 AM »
Yeah, apparently only apply to new designs rather than new produced.
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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2009, 12:06:50 PM »
They aren't saying it, but I think unofficially pilots have been told to leave some fuel in all tanks unless it is a dire emergency until new aircraft with the required changes come on line.

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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 02:11:55 PM »
Im surprised they haven't made a Prius plane yet, one that goes 30km on battery power  :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

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Re: Warplane system 'could stop mid-air explosions'
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 02:37:20 PM »
Er wot Gripe?

 



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