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28th of May 2021

A Boeing 737-823 was being operated on a scheduled passenger flight between the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport {DFW} (Texas, USA) and Nassau-Lynden Pindling International Airport (Bahamas). Onboard a crew of six and 160 passengers for the 1300 miles (~2100 kilometer) flight.

The damaged wing (source: ©Unknown)

After flight preparations were completed and the aircraft computers and systems were set up for a southerly departure the aircraft was pushed back from the gate. After the pushback was completed and the engines were started the crew completed the After Start Checklist was completed by the crew. They then observed all other traffic departing in a northerly direction. A check on the ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information System) confirmed that their setup was wrong and updated their departure clearance and called the ramp controller for their taxi clearance.

After taxi clearance was obtained they taxied following the instructions from the ramp controller. While turning left on the taxiway both flight crew members were "heads-down" (Not looking outside and in this case focused on reconfiguring their instruments for the northerly departure) when a strong jolt was felt. A light pole had been hit by the left wing and then collapsed. The aircraft was stopped by the captain who then contacted ground control. After it was determined that it was safe to do so the aircraft was towed back to the gate where the passengers disembarked. An inspection revealed substantial damage to the left wing, including;

  • the #1 leading-edge slat

  • Wing skin

  • Front Spar

  • Slat tracks

The accident site (Source: © Unknown)

It was an unfortunate restart for both flight crew members flying careers, the captain had been on holiday for a month and the co-pilot was on his first flight since September 2020 due to being furloughed. The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and an investigation was launched, in this case, a Class 4 investigation (Click here to find out what the different investigation classes are).

On the 21st of February 2022, they published their Final Report, which is available by clicking here.

They concluded that the probable cause of the accident was;

"The captain's decision to adjust his flight instruments while taxiing the airplane"

Video of the collision with the light pole and the aftermath

(Source © Unknown)

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