There have been 17 fuel tank ignition events on commercial airplanes since 1959 that have resulted in 542 fatalities and 11 airplane losses. On the military side there have been 12 airplane losses on military version of the B-707 and the B-52 airplanes.
The Most notable accident was the TWA 800 in July 1996 on the Boeing 747 which caused loss of 230 lives. This paper looks at the potential root causes of fuel tank explosions and the corrective actions that industry can undertake to minimize the hazard of fuel tank explosions. Fuel tank flammability and ignition sources are considered. The areas looked at are design, installation, and maintenance. Compliance to Federal Airworthiness Regulation are reviewed.