Despite a number of recent fatal accidents involving post-crash fires blamed on the Robinson R44’s vulnerable aluminum fuel tanks, and despite the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) publishing an airworthiness directive demanding replacement with improved flexible bladder versions, many operators have failed to comply.
GKN Aerospace is showcasing emergency flotation and fuel system technologies here at its Heli-Expo booth (No. N2608).
Eaton will supply the Learjet 85’s fuel-tank inerting system, under a contract awarded by Bombardier Aerospace. The fuel-tank inerting system enhances aircraft safety by injecting inert gas into fuel tanks to significantly reduce the potential for ignition sources. Besides supplying the system, Eaton will support Bombardier in the regulatory process to achieve FAA inerting system certification for the Learjet 85.
Dealing with explosive mixtures in the fuel tanks of transport aircraft used to be high on the NTSB’s most-critical list. The subject evolved after the 1996 explosion of the center fuel tank of a TWA Boeing 747 just after departure from JFK Airport.
West Star Aviation (ALN) recently accomplished the “Big Three” on a Falcon 2000 by completing the first 3C Inspection, installing API blended winglets and performing a wing tank dry bay modification. All three operations were accomplished at West Star Aviation’s East Alton, Ill., facility. The 3C inspection is an 18-year calendar inspection that includes opening and inspecting all access points of the exterior structure, including wing fairings and with the wing tank dry bay modification, opening of the fuel tanks.
While on my way to work a couple of weeks ago, I stopped at a gas station and filled up my car. As I headed back onto the parkway, the engine started running rough and less than two miles later it shuddered to a stop. Knowing the eight years of wear and tear I had put on the car, I sighed as I called the tow truck, believing the grasp of mechanical old age was finally putting its inevitable squeeze on my car and wallet.
Wing-tip extensions–known as winglets–that reduce aerodynamic drag and improve fuel efficiency and range have become familiar features on a variety of business and commercial jets. Quiet Wing Technologies (Booth No. C10432), Redmond, Wash., says it was the first company to certify winglets on a transport category aircraft–the venerable Boeing 727, many of which are still in operation as VIP-configured aircraft.
Pats Aircraft Systems received STC approval for an additional configuration of its Boeing 757-200 auxiliary fuel system. The system has already been installed, tested and certified in a four-tank configuration. The new stand-alone modular tank system, which is installed in the forward and aft lower cargo compartments, complements a previously approved six-tank configuration.
The 14th anniversary of TWA 800 came and went this past July 17. Except for family members of the victims, few remember anniversaries of tragedies after the 10th year has passed. The media and general public might lose interest, but for those working to prevent a future disaster, the memory of the Boeing 747 midair explosion remains vivid and concerns about preventing a similar future disaster remain strong.
Cessna Citation 680, Bedfordshire, UK, Sept. 30, 2010–While en route from London Luton Airport to Milas, Turkey, the Sovereign suffered a left main bus electrical system fault that prompted the crew to return to Luton. Upon examination, the twinjet’s left main fuel tank was found to be full with 5,500 pounds of fuel while the right tank contained 3,300 pounds.