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Thread: Air France collision taxing at JFK

  1. #46
    Senior Member RomNYC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzalu View Post
    I wonder if anyone on-board has video of the tail cam from the A380 (if it was on at the time of the incident)
    It usually is on from the moment it leaves the gate, but you don't actually see the end of the wings.


  2. #47
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    Saw the evening news on Ch2 earlier, seems they really need to have someone checking facts before they report them.

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/04/...-jfk-released/

    hmm an 120 pax CRJ7? 800 pax Airbus?
    According to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation, and the video, the 800-person capacity Air France mega plane was taxiing to its takeoff position when its left wing clipped the tail of a Comair 120-passenger CRJ 700 commuter plane that had just landed from Boston. The collision spun the smaller plane 90 degrees and heavily damaged both planes.
    From the "aviation expert"
    Aviation expert Norman Cousins told Kramer there is a design flaw in the Airbus. The end of its wings turn up, creating a blind spot. The Airbus pilot couldn’t see the smaller plane, he said.
    “Even if he opened the window on the pilot side and stuck his head out he couldn’t get sharp angel to see behind him,” Cousins said

    Other planes besides the A380 have similar upturned wings — or winglets — including the 727, 747, DC-11 and all the Airbus planes.

    Pilot: “Commerce 563 just hit us.”

  3. #48
    Senior Member hiss srq's Avatar
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    Most of you have gotten the details pretty close. The ground radar does not give a good enough desciption for investivative purposes but I was on scene about 15 minutes after the event. The Comair flight's tail was past the hold short line adjacent to A. The crew was waiting for a third wing walker. Air France was observing the center line and was moving along a good clip when they hit. The airframe damage to the CRJ is significant beyond what the pictures show. There is damage to the right wing tip, there is buckling in the air frame at multiple points and the nose and right gear took quite a bit of stress when it spun. As far as questions about procedure... Every ramp at JFK has a ramp controller above and beyond the clearnce, ground and local controllers that handle the stuff you might be traditionally familiar with. The controllers have no fault in the issue. You issue instructions based on the procedures that apply to the circumstance and expect the pilots to adhere to them as best as they can. If a pilot has a safety concern (I.E. insufficent wing walkers) they are well within authority as the PIC to stop short of those instructions. This was an unfortunate accident in reality. As for pilots and ramp crews encroaching... Delta's setup is very complex. They control only a small part of the ramp they actually own. The Connection ramp is controlled by the T1 controller, the NE side of Worldport is dictated by the T4 controller and all of their T4 ops are controlled by the T4 controller.
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  4. #49
    Moderator USAF Pilot 07's Avatar
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    The Air France pilots will most likely take most of the blame. They taxied into a stationary object!

    They should have seen the CRJ and as someone alluded to earlier, if they weren't sure about whether or not they'd have enough clearance on the wings, they should have stopped and asked for help. Most companies have minimum wingtip clearance requirements. For example, some companies require at least 25 feet wingtip clearance without wing-walkers on all taxiways, ramps and runways (with the exception sometimes of terminal ramps) which can be reduced to 10 feet with wing-walkers (or when waived).

    In the DC-10, you cannot see the wingtips from the windows unless your seat position is just right and you crane your neck all the way back and plaster your face on the window. Even then you can barely make out the wingtip. But, we have references inside the cockpit that when "interpolated" (for lack of a better word) outside give you a very good idea of where you're dragging your wingtip, main landing gear and even engine. I'd imagine it's the same with a lot of heavy aircraft, the A380 being no exception. While it's not an exact science, you should be able to tell if something is within 25 feet of your wingtip.

    My guess is that the CRJ's tail was either protruding over the taxiway line and the AF crew didn't see it, or was just inside it and the AF crew was perhaps taxiing left of the centerline. Not to mention, it looks like the AF380 is moving at a pretty good rate of speed when it slams into the CRJ.

  5. #50
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    So maybe they felt they HAD clearance as they should have rightly felt ... the Airport is been FAA certified for clearance and lines painted where those clearances meet... why else would the AFR pilot not seem worried? And as I said, it is DARK out there. HE may not have even seen the tail of that bird. A beacon is no indication of relative position of all the parts for give aircraft and then you have to have a mental database of all such ?

    No way, blame should be on the ground crew not pulling that bird a bit further in... AFR did nothing wrong... he was cleared to taxi and given the rules (keep centerline, airport is certified, etc. etc.) he has every right to expect the clearance. Man, if not, that place would be a dead still given how many times planes come close to each other.

    Can things be improved? ABSOLUTELY. I agree with you that perhaps all feelings of inability to clear should result in a stop and check/escort... but hindsight is always 20/20, let's talk about solutions, because clearly to me in this case, AFR had nothing to be blamed for. Had it been a 747 Delta, the feelings may be expressed differently I am sure
    Manny Gonzalez
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    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  6. #51
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Murphy's Law came into play that night and the scenario played out. Maybe it's time to consider filling in parts of Jamaica Bay and moving runways and taxiways.
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  7. #52
    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    Runways and taxiways were just moved recently.

    Amazing video. Looks like my son running past our younger daughter and clotheslining her. Seriously.

    I am really surprised that there were no injuries. IU would nOT be surprised ot hear of whiplash injuries. That makes sense. Wow.
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    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

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  8. #53
    Senior Member hiss srq's Avatar
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    I am not surte what the USAF reg is but the wing to tail clearnce is MINIMUM 50 feet... the reason for it is safety of spacing but also because there is a risk of fire or explosion from getting any closer to a running APU or a jet engine with a wing tip... Being too tired to go on a technichal tirade at the moment there are vents in most jets wing tips and exhaust is very hot. You do the math while I go to sleep.
    Southwest Airlines-"Once it pop's it's time to stop" Southwest Airlines-"Our Shamu's are almost real" Southwest Airlines -"We blow our top real easy" Southwest Airlines- "You can't top us..... really"

  9. #54
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    1+1=3, 77 to the 15th power is 43-6 * coeficient of drag squared to the root of the sub coeficiancy spectrumal analyptical.... zzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  10. #55
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    Looks like Air France has to be most at fault here.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzalu View Post
    ... the Airport is been FAA certified for clearance and lines painted where those clearances meet...:
    Not to nit pick, but when on the centerline, you're only guaranteed not to hit FIXED objects; it is still the PIC's responsibility to maintain adequate clearance from the moveable objects. As long as the aircraft is under power, and the parking brake is not set, the flight crew is responsible for anything that the aircraft hits.

  12. #57
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    That's fair... but what I meant was the AFR pilot was correct in assuming that given the Delta's parking postion, he trusted it was parked where it was supposed to be and it would clear, if the tail was indeed beyond the yellow line ... I say once again, it is dark out there at the A and B taxiways. Because it was borderline, it was a reasonable accident in my opinion, without bad judgement on either part. Purely accidental and no wrongdoing. Everyone will learn from this and this similar incident probably will not happen again.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzalu View Post
    That's fair... but what I meant was the AFR pilot was correct in assuming that given the Delta's parking postion, he trusted it was parked where it was supposed to be and it would clear, if the tail was indeed beyond the yellow line ... I say once again, it is dark out there at the A and B taxiways. Because it was borderline, it was a reasonable accident in my opinion, without bad judgement on either part. Purely accidental and no wrongdoing. Everyone will learn from this and this similar incident probably will not happen again.
    I have to disagree Manny, at EWR alone we've had something similar happen twice in the last 4 years where an aircraft thought there was enough wingtip clearance and kept on going only to clip another aircraft. Its a judgment call and no one's perfect, especially not the French!

  14. #59
    Moderator USAF Pilot 07's Avatar
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    Trust but verify...

    I mean, whoever was taxiing that aircraft should have been looking outside. It's not like the accident happened on a turn or in a tight spot. The AFR jet hit another aircraft on a straight taxiway. That's pretty inexcusable. It's doesn't matter what he assumed - yes he was given clearance to taxi down a taxiway that ATC thought was clear, but ATC doesn't fly your airplane. If you feel like you're given a clearance that would put your aircraft in jeopardy, you don't accept it - or you query ATC about it. Yes, it was dark, but it's wasn't pitch black. One of the pilots should have at least said "wow, that aircraft looks pretty close, what do you think?".

  15. #60
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    I'll defer to you guys because you are experts and I am a bystander but, I do have first hand experience of how dark it is right where it happened. Both from the street looking out and being on a plane taxiing there more than once. You can;t see the ground almost at all.

    Yeah, I see your point about questioning the location of the plane and whether it was too close or not. But that is exactly my point and I think you should just consider what I am saying... the AFR pilot could have naturally ALSO concluded, it looks to be in the right place and we should have clearance. Look at how little the overlap was. Given the size of the wings on that plane, it is easy to say that something downrange looks to be reasonably far enough... OK so now they will have to judge with even more of a margin of error but I say it was a reasonably understandable misjudgement. Unless that Delta was directly in the path, it is hard to judge just how far away is far enough with certainty.

    The ycalled it close and they lost but I can see how they could make the mistake... the conditions were perfect for it to happen the way it did.

    Now I hear a report that the Delta almost hit a truck on its way into the ramp? before the collision with the AFR?
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

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