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External Fuel Tank Jettison

Fri Dec 14, 2001 10:16 am

On fuel tank jettisons, is it like releasing a bomb? Does the tanks just explode on the ground, or do they remain entact?
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2001 2:24 pm

RE: External Fuel Tank Jettison

Fri Dec 14, 2001 1:42 pm

Well I'm no expert but I guess the best answer is: It depends.

It depends on many things; how high it was dropped from, how much fuel is left inside, what it hits on the ground..... etc.

For example if you drop an empty tank into a soft field it will just probably bury itself in the dirt relativelty intact.

If you drop a full tank and it hits something hard(solid rock), and creates sparks when it hits, then mosty likely it will explode into flames like a 'bomb'.

So any number of things come into play when you drop a tank, and many different things happen to them.

Correct me if i'm wrong.
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RE: External Fuel Tank Jettison

Fri Dec 14, 2001 9:50 pm

Sharpnfuzzy is right. A tank is not designed to explode, and that will only happen if there is some fuel left in it and it creates some kind of a spark on impact (wait, aren't they made of plastic or something?).

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RE: External Fuel Tank Jettison

Fri Dec 14, 2001 10:31 pm

It shouldn't explode but that being said.

I have heard of several accounts of US World War Two aircraft dropping their drop tanks at least partially full and then having their wingman machine gun them. The tracers would ignite the gas and it made a improvised firebomb.

This was really popular with the cardboard drop tanks that where in use since they where good for only one flight only anyway.
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RE: External Fuel Tank Jettison

Sat Dec 15, 2001 5:16 am

droptanks are made either of aluminium or composites (both are possible).
The material is quite thin (to save weight).
On impact it will usually crumble or rip apart. If there is fuel left, it may spill, but will most likely not explode.

Remember, liquid fuel does not explode, only vapour does.
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