Re: Galileo Rules!

Spike Jones (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 18:08:47 -0800

> ...tell you from personal experience that I give great credence to the fuel tank
> fume blast, now that I know that the wire harnesses in that area were insulated
> with kapton. Under the proper conditions kapton can be very explosive and
> flammable.

mike, i have never worried much about how a crippled plane could descend faster than freefall in a vacuum: tail control surfaces could issue a down command or the craft could have turned over, etc, under full thrust. all bets are off after a plane comes apart.

but i must admit, this scenario of a bad wire causing an explosion of fumes inside the tank i have found troubling. i would think the vapor pressure of the kerosene would displace oxygen sufficiently to prevent much oxygen from getting inside the tank, even if scuffed or degraded insulation causes a spark.

the fuel pump on my truck is inside the tank, submerged in gasoline, unless the tank is nearly empty. i would think the vapor pressure of octane on a cool day would be lower than that of kerosene on a warm day, yet there is never enough oxygen in a car's gas tank to cause an explosion, even assuming a faulty fuel pump. that kapton has problems is acknowledged, but why would a spark inside a fuel tank cause an explosion?

what is your experience? i fly on these boeings about 40 times a year. i would hate to hafta worry that a tank could explode at any time. {8-[ spike