Spectators Balcony (Spotters Corner)If you're not a professional pilot but want to discuss issues about the job, this is the best place to loiter. You won't be moved on by 'security' and there'll be plenty of experts to answer any questions.
You would have thought that, given the sheer number of movements worldwide, there would have been more occurrences where aircraft had crashed into terminal buildings.
Obviously one explanation is that terminals are perpendicular to runways, but there are many tight fields where the distance from runway to terminal in the event of loss of control is still only a few hundred yards, if that (LCY etc).
The only incident I can think of where airport buildings were hit was a t HKT a couple of years ago when a turboprop rammed the base of a control tower - iirc a pilot was killed but no other fatalities.
There have been other incidents where aircaft have departed from the runway but not gone near terminals - e.g. Denver CO 737, which iirc came close to the fire station, now that would have been unfortunate. And what would have happened at Madrid, had the Spanair MD 82 veered into a terminal building. Or is the chance of this actually happening statistically too remote?
It looks like the bigger risks in terminals are terrorist attacks or fire from within.
Milan Linate 2001, departing aircraft collided with another aircraft on the ground and ended up in a building. More on Wikipedia.
There are protected areas around runways to ensure no objects (or at least only small, breakable ones like light fittings) are in the areas most likely for an aircraft to depart from the paved surface. There are also protected surfaces extending upwards and outwards from the runway for the same purpose. The subject is very complex, but the CAP 168 (available free on the CAA website) is the definitive document for the UK if you want to read more about it (and is also a good cure for insomnia!).
European Airlines A300 OO-ING rolled into the centre pier at LGW stand 21 about July 1993. Brake failure due to faulty valve behind F/O control colum. The part had failed and was replaced by a refurbished part that also failed. Flight was an empty positioning flight.
Air Botswana. One of their pilots looped the loop, figuratively and literally, and flew an aircraft into the ground, destroying the rest of the airline's fleet of two, and I believe damaged the terminal building at Gabs too. But that wasn't a crash, it was CFIT.