Pilot Taxiing at JFK Strikes Lights While on Cell Phone
While taxiing across the active Runway 31R on taxiway Echo, the Swearingen SA226-AT Merlin IV’s propellers struck runway edge lighting. The incident led to partial loss of the propeller blades, and as one might, expect, some flying blade fragments wound up creating some small dents on the aircraft’s fuselage. The runway was closed for two hours as a result.
The pilot is reported to have been operating his cell phone at the same time, leading to a loss of situational awareness. The FAA is investigating the incident.
There were no injuries reported as a result.
This is the second incident involving this same aircraft. According to NTSB records, five years ago this very month, this aircraft veered off the runway at Ankeny Regional Airport (KIKV) in Iowa. After encountering deeper snow than expecting on takeoff roll, the aircraft swerved to the left and struck a snow-bank, heavily damaging the nose gear. There were no injuries.