Loose fasteners blamed for F-35 fuel leak (1st Training Flt)

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spazsinbad

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 06:00

Loose fasteners blamed for F-35 fuel leak (VIDEO, SLIDESHOW)
March 09, 2012 DUSTY RICKETTS / Daily News

http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/-48089--.html

"EGLIN AFB — Maintainers with the 33rd Fighter Wing have determined that three loose fasteners caused the small fuel leak during the F-35’s first mission flight Tuesday....

...Maintainers with the 33rd Fighter Wing conducted an extensive review of the jet and determined three slightly loose fasteners allowed a small amount of fuel to seep from the jet during its initial flight, Eglin Air Force Base announced Friday. Maintainers also found residual water from an earlier wash of the aircraft....

...Eglin officials do not know what caused the fasteners to loosen. However, the maintainers have tightened them on the base’s eight other F-35s, said Chrissy Cuttita with Eglin’s public affairs office.

The jet that flew Tuesday has been cleared to fly,..."
RAN FAA A4G: http://tinyurl.com/ctfwb3t http://tinyurl.com/ccmlenr http://www.youtube.com/user/bengello/videos
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sferrin

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 13:08

Loose fasteners?? OMG!!! THAT'S NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!! CANCEL THE PROGRAM!!! :wink:
"There I was. . ."
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checksixx

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 14:27

Can't wait till that crowd appears on this thread. Most people just don't know that anything found wrong, not working right, etc....is a good thing...thats why its called flight test. Like when the IPP failed during an engine run. All sorts of people confused that with the flight when both generators shut down in flight...the IPP kicked in. What was important was to ground it until they understood what caused it to fail. I'm sure they will watch these fasteners to see if something else is going on.
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outlaw162

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 16:40

http://www.f-16.net/news_article1716.html

The fuel-system checkout concluded on March 12 (2006) and took less than a third of the time to complete than in other recent developmental aircraft programs.


Evidently not.
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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 17:40

Salute!

The wrenchbenders have been using the 6 "A" models for all kindsa training. Although there's a large hangar in the training building with one mockup cut in half, no fuel in the tanks. BTW, that indoor hangar can easily hold 4 full-sized jets.

My feeling is they were using the real jets for training such as ripping off panels and replacing boxes, etc.

Must be that the F-35 has tanks similar to the Viper - partitions in the fuselage between bulkheads, and no internal bladders. But I don't understand those things being subject to any maintenance actions/procedures for anything except the basic fuel cells themselves.

WAR STORY from early years:

So early 1980 the OT&E dudes had an engine blade fly out and rupture one of the fuel cells.

http://www.f-16.net/aircraft-database/F ... year/1980/

Flames back a hundred yards, and much more exciting than the Aarvark "torching" trick. So Joe Bob is filming with the video gun camera and captures the whole thing. D. Bell shuts down the motor and fire continues. Cranks back up. Motor is FUBAR and maybe flames got too warm and he punches out.

Now for the good news..... We were concerned that the plane would blow up if taking a hit or a motor failed throwing a blade. It didn't, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Had another similar incident about 3 years later and the pilot got out once fire didn't extinguish by itself.

Gums sends...
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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johnwill

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 17:53

outlaw162 wrote:http://www.f-16.net/news_article1716.html

The fuel-system checkout concluded on March 12 (2006) and took less than a third of the time to complete than in other recent developmental aircraft programs.


Evidently not.


The loose fasteners may not be part of the fuel system. Completion of fuel system checkout does not imply the system will never, never have any kind of problem. The checkout simply means the system works as designed.
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outlaw162

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 19:22

The loose fasteners may not be part of the fuel system.


:shock:

That would seem to make it more of a concern since the fuel came from 'somewhere'.

I understand what you're saying JW, people jump out of tried and true aircraft all the time, even the trusty and proven Viper, for various system problems.

The sense is that you've got a lot of people 'walking on eggshells' down there and the overriding priority in the background is to not lose one, not because that's bad, but 'cause of the ripple down effects on careers.

The jets are at the training squadron, not Edwards, and you've got one pilot, a test pilot, allowed to fly them?

I would pretty much bet that these things will eventually be as commonly seen as F-100's were in the '60s, but this is like watching paint dry. The thing's got an ejection seat.

(edit: BTW I know it's expensive paint.)
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sulfer732

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 20:22

Loose fasteners... small fuel leak? Huh... it flew for 15 minutes and then declared an IFE... small fuel leaks usually do not result in IFE. Just saying.
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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 20:49

Salute!

With all respect, sulfer, I might have considered declaring an IFE considering how many flights those jets have made since landing..... which was ZERO! Think about the initial F-14 crash ( from a hydraulic leak) , and the video is on You Tube for sure.

As JW and OL have opined, where in the hell did that gas come from?

I have the feeling it was not the fuel cells but another part of the system.

I will bet a lot that the folks are fueling and running and looking for similar leaks, ya think?

Gums sends...
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 20:53

sulfer732 wrote: small fuel leaks usually do not result in IFE.
They do when you are in a flight test program and there are so many unknowns.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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exfltsafety

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 21:03

I agree with Gums that an IFE for this situation was SOP. If the F-35 is like the F-16, some upper skin panels are the top covers over fuel tanks. So if a few adjacent fasteners on one of those panels are loose and the cover seal is now not fully effective, internal fuel tank pressure can cause fuel to leak. Not a big deal in my mind. Certainly not worth all the publicity it's getting.
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sulfer732

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 21:17

Then why was the leak referred to as "small"? The leak was detected in flight... nothing small about a leak that can be detected in flight. I am not arguing the fact that it should have been declared an IFE. My concern is how the media covers up the severity of the problem by saying it was a "small" fuel leak.
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exfltsafety

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 21:27

sulfer732 wrote:Then why was the leak referred to as "small"? The leak was detected in flight... nothing small about a leak that can be detected in flight.

Have you ever seen a fuel leak in flight? A small fuel leak would be a little wisp of whitish vapor that would be visible to a chase pilot or wingman. So, yes, a small fuel leak can be detected in flight.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 21:27

Depends on where the leak is. If it was detected near the rear by the engine, then it's capability to ignite is higher and therefore an IFR.

The media is not covering up anything, they were told that it was a small leak. IF anything, the media blows things out of proportion to get ratings. BS and ELP would be screaming from the rooftops if this were not small or was serious in nature.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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sulfer732

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Unread post10 Mar 2012, 21:30

I have seen a fuel leak in flight. No need to be condescending, Fella! Our jets leak all the time! Sometimes you guys here are my comedy!
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