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MD80 Wing Access Panel  
User currently offlineFlybywire777 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 67 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4190 times:

I was just on a 2 hr MD-80 flight in which I was seated on the port side over the wing at the exit seat. I was over looking an access panel (oval about 1’ x 2’ ) on the wing. Just after takeoff, fluid (not much) streamed from the gasket and some of the fasteners. I figured this was water from a morning rain and by the stains on the wing this was not the first time it happened. At mid flight it still seemed to have something wet around it (at 33K’ ).
What is this access panel for and was I seeing fuel?


4 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineCdfmxtech From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1341 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (14 years 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4146 times:

yes it was leaking fuel...that panel is notorious for leaking. It is a fuel tank access panel. The suspect panel is in the heater blanket area...am I correct??

User currently offlineFlybywire777 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (14 years 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4132 times:

I don't know if is in the "heater blanket" area? It was only a few feet from where I was sitting, about mid point of the wing. If you had to go out the over wing exit, you would nearly step on it.
How "normal" is it to leak? Would this ground the aircraft? It did have a few years and miles on it.

User currently offlineCdfmxtech From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1341 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (14 years 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4116 times:

I'll say this...IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CAUGHT. I don't like to say anything unairworthy is normal...but it is COMMON for those panels to leak for whatever the reason. Normally, maintenance will go retighten the panel and make sure that it is still sealed adequately. In the event that either it can't be tightened ot the seal is deteriorated - then the aircraft is grounded till repaired. But you were in no danger. I'll bet that it was picked up by someone.

User currently offlineDALMD88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2729 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (14 years 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4117 times:

MD80 wing tank panels leak. It is a fact. The design sucks. There is a very thin rub strip glued to the wing surface. These rub strips corrode and come unglued from the wing. This allows SMALL amounts of fuel to bypass the rubber seal on the panel. The uppers tend to leak the most on decsent. This is when the most fuel pressure is on them. Sitting on the ground they may not even have fuel touching them unless the fuel is topped off (rarely the case). Unless the crew reports a fuel leak on these panels mtx might not notice a leak. Most airplanes due have leak limits spelled out in the manual. Just because you see some fuel doesn't mean it's unairworthy.

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