The following transportation safety issue was previously on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List. As a result of the actions taken to implement the necessary life-saving safety recommendations…We are Safer.
On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in 230 fatalities. The NTSB determined that an explosion of the center wing fuel tank caused the accident. Prior to this accident, the NTSB had also investigated or assisted in the investigation of two other fuel tank explosions involving commercial transport-category airplanes. In December 1996, the NTSB recommended that the FAA find a way to eliminate explosive fuel-air mixtures in transport-category airplanes.
In 2008, the FAA published a final rule that requires the fuel/air mixtures in all fuel tanks be below a prescribed flammability level for all newly manufactured aircraft that have more than 30 seats, as well as modifications to passenger-carrying aircraft manufactured after January 1, 1992, to achieve the same level of protection.