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Integral Fuel Tanks  
User currently offlineBigGiraffe From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 257 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1659 times:

Wings are sealed during aircraft assembly to hold fuel, since they serve as fuel tanks. This sealant has to be repaired throughout the life of the aircraft as leaks develop or repairs are made to the wing. Does there come a time when this sealant has to be completely stripped out of the wing and new material applied, or does "repair as needed" work until the aircraft is retired?

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBuzz From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 697 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1560 times:

Hi BigGirrafe, Buzz here. The sealant is pretty much good for the life of the aircraft. Once in a while a tank develops a dribble, and it gets re-gooped in likely places.
We (at UAL) don't plunge into fuel tanks on the line, a few years ago somebody did a stupid accident and asphixiated himself. They had to ignore 3 different rules to do it.
g'nite
Buzz Fuselsausage, Line Mechanic by night, DC-3 crew chief by choice.


User currently offlineNKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1552 times:

It's just like 'Buzz' said,except that tank entries are done on the line as well as heavy where I work. A negative pressure check is used to detect leaks from the inside,and the same sealant is used to repair any leaks. It's a strong and yet pliable compound. BTW,we were told that fatality was due to the mech using nitrogen to operate an air tool. The nitrogen displaced the O2 in the air in the tank and aphyxiated him. Tanks are suction ventilated for entry and the oxygen level is continually monitored by a work partner that never leaves the area and communicates with the guy in the tank. Forced air respirators are worn if the air quality warrants it. Rules to live by. Literally.

User currently offlineDnalor From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 369 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1547 times:

Where are the access hatches and how big are they?

And the sealant used, is it compatiable with diesel and pertol?

Thankyou


User currently offlineNKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1546 times:

There is a series of access panels under the wing pretty much the length of the span,the size and shape of an oval dinner plate. It would suffice to say that the corpulent would have a hard time entering. Getting in is only half the fun,as you must remove internal baffles and navigate the labrynth like interior. A 757 size A/C and up is not too bad,but anything smaller is quite a test of litheness,avoiding damaging wiring,pipes,probes as you slither through...it's no job for the claustrophobic. The sealant used is a type of PRC,chemically cured,that is specific to the job it's done. (we don't use PRC for windshield aerodynamic sealing in the tank). It's a two part mix. Center tanks,where applicable,are generally more "roomy",but are still a PIA to enter. Entrance is generally through an airconditioning pack bay (after removing copious ducting),or through a removeble wall from the wing tanks. On some A/C,the center tank actually resides in the inboard sections of the wing as well as the fuselage. I hope this answers your questions. Later!

User currently offlineDnalor From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 369 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1541 times:

Thanks for answering so promptly.

And I thought working on heavy transport vehicles is bad.


User currently offlinePanman From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Aug 1999, 790 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1531 times:

All I can say is I'm glad I am tall with bad knees, I can use this as an excuse to avoid fuel tank duty. Thing is they my put me on toilet tank duty instead!!

Panman


User currently offlineBigGiraffe From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 1519 times:

Do you find that you have more problems with leaks as the aircraft passes 20 years old?

User currently offlineNKP S2 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1714 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (14 years 6 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1517 times:

In a word,no. In my experience,their doesn't seem to be any correlation between age and leaks.

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