Re: Wing vs. tail-mounted engines?

Date:         16 May 2001 17:45:09 
From:         johnmcgrew@aol.com (JohnMcGrew)
Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com
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In article <airliners.2001.106@ditka.Chicago.COM>,
jthorn@galileo.thp.univie.ac.at (Jonathan Thornburg) writes:

>The industry doesn't care much about it, but safety is another big
>advantage of wing-mounted engines:  What kills people in a jet crash
>is often not the crash itself, but the ensuing fire.  Tail-mounted
>engines mean fuel pipes running from the wing (where the fuel tanks are)
>aft through the fuselage to the engines, i.e. you've got fuel right
>in the fuselage with the passengers.  In contrast, wing-mounted engines
>allow all the fuel to be kept in the wings, some distance away from the
>passengers.  (Some designs do put fuel tanks in the wing center sections
>anyway.)

I doubt there is much in the way of actual crash data to justify that opinion.
Any accident serious enough to compromise the fuel system almost certainly will
compromise the fuel tanks as well.  And with many longer-range planes today,
that argument is moot since fuel is now being stored in tanks other than in the
wings or at the spar, and even the horizontal stabilizer, resulting in fuel
lines, pumps, etc all over the airframe.

John