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5th of October 2016, Blog #558

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

With a crew of five and 115 passengers onboard the aircraft a Boeing 717 was being prepared for a scheduled passenger flight from Paraburdoo Airport to Perth, Western Australia. After all flight preparation was completed the engines were started and the crew commenced taxiing according to the local procedure from their parking spot (Bay 2) by turning the aircraft to the right.

The stabiliser of the Boeing 717 wedged under the stabiliser of the Fokker 100

(© Cobham Aviation Services)

Shortly after starting taxiing the captain observed a company Boeing 717 landing on runway 06. This arrival could cause an issue due to the limited space on the ramp at Paraburdoo. To make sure there would be enough space for the company Boeing 717 that just landed, the taxiing aircraft needed to pass close behind a parked Fokker 100. This would allow the Boeing 717 that just landed to park at Bay 2. An engineer (working on the parked Fokker 100) observed the departing Boeing 717 deviate from the normal taxi track and checked the clearance between the Fokker 100's tail and the wingtip of the Boeing 717. As this was sufficient he gave a thumbs-up signal to the crew of the Boeing 717. This was interpreted by the crew that there was sufficient clearance between the two aircraft and turned sharply to the right.

The aircraft as seen from outside the airport Source; © Unknown) It then became immediately apparent to the engineer that there was insufficient clearance between the tail of the parked Fokker 100 and the departing Boeing 717. He signaled to the crew of the Boeing to stop. As was no longer in the line of vision of the crew they did not see his signal. The engineer ran towards the nose of the Boeing and signaled again to stop the aircraft, this time his signaling was seen and the aircraft was stopped abruptly. The crew did not feel the collision, however, the horizontal stabiliser of the Boeing 717 had slid under that of the Fokker 100, scraping the surface, and both aircraft sustained minor damage. There were no injuries to the occupants of the Boeing, there was nobody onboard the Fokker.

Paraburdoo Airport showing runways and parking bays (Source; ATSB) The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) was informed about the collision and initiated an investigation. on the 11th of January 2017, they published their final Aviation Occurrence Investigation report. In this report the following findings were presented as the conclusion of the report;

  • The crew was unaware of the inbound company B717 until after taxi had commenced, then taxied on a non-standard path to accommodate the entry of that aircraft onto the tarmac.

  • A ground handling agent wing walker was not in place to assist the crew as they taxied.

  • The inability to communicate verbally with the non-company engineer resulted in the crew interpreting the engineer’s thumbs-up signal as meaning the entire aircraft was clear of the parked aircraft.

The ATSB report, on which this blog is based, is available with all the details on the collision by clicking on the .pdf file below;

B717-F100 collision 5-oct2016
Download PDF • 220KB

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