Wardialer From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1182 posts, RR: 0 Posted (12 years 8 months 17 hours ago) and read 6015 times:
I have seen automobile accidents that rarely catch on fire or explode, even in the worse crash. But when I see airplane crashes I instantly see an explosion. Is aviation fuel more explosive than gasoline?
Minuteman From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 271 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (12 years 8 months 17 hours ago) and read 5970 times:
I know Prebennorholm has a better answer for comparing the flammability of the two fuels, but I'm inclined to guess that gasoline is more explosive just because it seems like its more volatile than kerosene, so you've got a better chance of rapid combustion of vapors.
Cars don't usually burst into flames in a crash because, unlike planes, they don't generally go belching the contents of their fuel tanks on to a hot engine and into the passenger compartment. Of course engineers for both kinds of vehicles try to prevent this from happening, but it seems like the aircraft designer has many more constraints on implementing safety measures than an automotive designer (weight, balance and capacity to name a few).
Just out of curiosity, how many car and plane crashes (non-Hollywood) have you seen? (Personally, I always liked it when the bad guys' car blew up going over the cliff and the Duke boys got away again.)
VC-10 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 1999, 3697 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (12 years 8 months 17 hours ago) and read 5955 times:
A few years ago I attended a lecture given by a UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigator who said in an a/c accident the fuel atomises due to the deceleration forces which makes ignition easier.
He said he once attended a Jaguar (the aircraft not the car) accident site where they found the instrument panel about 20 ft futher into the ground than the bottom of the crator the a/c left. This was because when the wing hit the ground the fuel atomised and blew up, driving the nose of the aircraft further into the ground.
I guess if you saw a car crash at 300/400 mph they would blow up more easily the an a/c
B737-112 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 883 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (12 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 5944 times:
Back when I used to fuel aircraft, I was told by manager there that you could have a gallon bucket of Jet A and drop a match in it and the fuel would actually knock the fire out. I have a feeling that regular gasoline would ignite, it smells much stronger and just seems more volitile.
Metwrench From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 750 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5876 times:
Consider this. A mid size car weighing 3000 lbs has a maximum capacity of 16 gallons of fuel. That is 3.7 % of the gross weight of the vehicle. One of the commuter turbo props that I work on has a max take off weight of 16,000 lbs with full fuel capacity of 4300 lbs. That is 25 % of the gross weight. That's why there is such a big fire potential. I speculate that the proportions are similar on larger A/C.
Prebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6374 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5837 times:
Very good answers all way.
And Metwrench, long range airliners have max fuel weight compared to MTOW ratio much higher than 25%. An A340-200 has up to 46% fuel. And I think that a Concorde goes over 50%. That's almost comparable to a full tankcar on the road!!!
Regards, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm