Time: Tue Jul 22 12:04:08 1997
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Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 11:44:44 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: TWA 800 - The Center Fuel Tank Distraction (fwd)

>Brenda posted the following:
>>Topic: TWA Flight 800 
>>The CFT Distraction 
>>The Flight 800 Investigation 
>>07/20/97 Richard Hirsch 
>>The NTSB has done a masterful job of drawing our attention to the theory of 
>>the exploding center fuel tank (cft). A number of very expensive tests are 
>>being performed on another 747 at tax payers expense to learn how the cft 
>>exploded. From where did the mystery spark emanate? 
>>It turns out that jet fuel, like other fuels, has what is known as 
>>explosive limits. 
>>THE LOWER EXPLOSIVE LIMIT: If the volume of fuel vapors in the tank are 
>>less than one half percent of the volume of air in the tank there can be no 
>>explosion (too much air). 
>>THE UPPER EXPLOSIVE LIMIT: If the volume of the fuel vapors in the tank are 
>>more than five percent of the volume of air in the tank there can be no 
>>explosion (not enough air). 
>>The above is well known by any one working with aircraft fuels and has been 
>>widely known for many years by petroleum engineers. When large storage 
>>tanks are filled with petroleum, they fill the first part slowly and wait 
>>for the vapors from the first part of the liquid to go past the upper 
>>explosive limit before filling the rest of the storage tank. 
>>Remember, the pool of fuel in the cft is very large in area and very 
>>shallow in depth. The large fuel surface produces a lot of vapor in a short 
>>time. In two hours time the fuel vapors in the cft have gone beyond the 
>>lower explosive limit, through the zone of potential explosion, and past 
>>THE UPPER EXPLOSIVE LIMIT. What that means is the cft was actually in a non 
>>explosive state when Flight 800 took off from JFK. Even if there was a 
>>stray spark in the fuel tank there wouldn't be an explosion because the 
>>tank was TOO RICH at that time. 
>This is an outstanding piece of work. As soon as I read it I realized that
>it is something I should have thought of. Indeed it is a point that should
>be obvious to anyone who is old enough to remember when autos had manual
>chokes. (That includes me, folks). Mr. Hirsch deserves an accolade for
>for writing this and Brenda deserves one as well for bringing it to our 
>Comments anyone?
>-- EZ

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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