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Dr Mordrid
13th December 2006, 20:12
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-12-12-airbus-safety_x.htm


Giant jet sets off fuel tank concerns

By Alan Levin, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Federal accident investigators and safety advocates say they are worried that the Airbus A380 double-decker jet will be exempt from new U.S. rules designed to prevent fuel tank explosions like the one that downed TWA Flight 800 in 1996.

European officials have said that they do not agree with fuel tank safety rules proposed in the United States and will not make the mammoth new plane subject to them.

U.S. and European regulators on Tuesday gave Airbus approval to fly passengers on the largest jetliner in history, but left unresolved the fuel tank issues. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration says it intends to release a final fuel tank rule next year.

As proposed, the rule would only apply to U.S.-registered aircraft. If Europeans do not adopt the rule, foreign carriers would be free to fly A380s into this country without updating the jet's fuel tanks.

The National Transportation Safety Board declined comment Tuesday, but the agency took the unusual step of writing to European regulators in 2004 to urge fuel tank safety measures on the A380. The NTSB said that without the measures, the jumbo jet could be vulnerable to an explosion.

NTSB CONCERNS (PDF) (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/ntsb_scan.pdf)

Safety advocates say it's a mistake to exempt the jet from the rules.

"There is no explanation other than it's a stiff arm in the face of safety," says Jim Hall, an aviation lawyer who chaired the NTSB during the TWA investigation.

"It's unfortunate that an aircraft of this size and significance does not have a requirement to eliminate the flammability in the tanks," says Carol Carmody, a former NTSB board member.

Airbus argues that its planes don't need additional fuel tank safety measures because none of its tanks have ever exploded, and it says the fuel tanks on the A380 are not flammable enough to be subject to the proposed rules.
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Brian Ellis
14th December 2006, 01:51
Wonder how much Boeing are paying the NTSB!

Fat Tone
14th December 2006, 02:35
I've always detected a dislike of Airbus in the way stories on it and its latest innovation are reported from the USA. The title of this story seems to have a simllar edge.