flybywire777
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2001 11:04 am

MD80 Wing Access Panel

Wed Jul 18, 2001 8:20 am

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?

Thanks
 
cdfmxtech
Posts: 1319
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2000 11:37 am

RE: MD80 Wing Access Panel

Thu Jul 19, 2001 9:17 am

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??
 
flybywire777
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2001 11:04 am

RE: MD80 Wing Access Panel

Thu Jul 19, 2001 11:26 am

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.
 
cdfmxtech
Posts: 1319
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2000 11:37 am

RE: MD80 Wing Access Panel

Fri Jul 20, 2001 12:10 am

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.
 
Dalmd88
Posts: 2544
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 3:19 am

RE: MD80 Wing Access Panel

Fri Jul 20, 2001 12:30 am

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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