Fuel Pumps And Exploding Fuel Tanks

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On November 23 and 24, the FAA issued emergency AD 2002-24-51 and AD 2002-24-52, applicable to all Boeing Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, and -900 series airplanes; Model 747 series airplanes; and Model 757 series airplanes. The ADs were prompted by reports indicating that two fuel pumps from different Model 747 series airplanes showed evidence of extreme localized overheating, which provides an ignition source in the fuel tank during dry running of the pump, which could result in fire/explosion of the fuel tank. It was July 17, 1996, when a Boeing 747-131 -- better known as TWA Flight 800 -- exploded and crashed, taking the lives of all 230 on board. The ignition of fuel vapors in an empty center tank of that 747 are suspected of causing an explosion that brought the aircraft down. In March 2001, a Thai Airways 737-400 exploded while sitting on a hot ramp at Bangkok's domestic airport. The NTSB released information that the recorded sound of the explosion was found to be similar to that of a Philippine Airlines 737-300 that suffered a center wing fuel tank explosion in May 1990. Airlines were required to alert pilots about the mandate of the AD by yesterday.