TWA 800 technical question.

Date:         04 Jun 97 01:45:42 
From:         jfmezei <"jfmezei"[no.spam]>
Organization: SPC
Followups:    1
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I do not wish to speculate, rather, I would like to have better
understanding, hence the questions below.

1- Has the NTSB concluded that the "incident" began INSIDE the central
   fuel tank, or has it only concluded that as part of the destruction,
   the central fuel tank exploded and that the source of explosion was
   near or at the central fuel tank ?

2- Considering that the fuel tank was almost empty.
   Considering it is near an air conditioning pack.

Is it potentially/conceptually possible that a ruptured hot bleed air
tube would have heated the central fuel tank to a point where the
pressure inside the tank caused by increased temperature and expansion
of the air inside would have caused a rupture at a weak point in the
tank, causing a fuel leak ?

 - Are the central fuel tanks capable of being pressurized or are they
   by design equalized to the cargo cabin pressure ? (eg: would heating
   of the tank filled with air cause a higher internal pressure?)

 - Is it plausible that a hot bleed air tube would rupture without
   causing an alarm ? Would such an event be recorded in the FDR, would
   investigators at the NTSB be able to deduct such a failure or would
   the destruction from the explosion make such a failure untraceable ?

Again, I do not wish to speculate, just wish to have a better
understanding on how the above systems are designed.