Fuel Tank Flammability Rules Proposed

 - January 17, 2007, 5:02 AM

The FAA on Friday is expected to publish a widespread proposal that would require operators and manufacturers of airliner-size airplanes to incorporate technology to meet reduced levels of flammability exposure in fuel tanks (particularly center wing tanks) “most prone to explosion.” The rules would apply to new airframe designs, as well as some 3,200 U.S.-registered Airbus and Boeing airplanes with center wing tanks currently in operation. In-service aircraft would have seven years from the rules’ effective date to comply. Airplanes with a certified passenger capacity of 30 or more or a payload capacity of 7,500 pounds or more operated under FAR Part 91, 121 and 125 would be affected. This includes the BBJ and ACJ. The FAA said this is the final rule in a series of requirements that have been enacted over the past nine years intended to change fuel tank design and maintenance to eliminate ignition sources and prevent fuel tank explosions, such as what occurred on the TWA Flight 800 Boeing 747 in 1996. The industry will have until mid-March to submit comments.