View Full Version : Easy slips in AMS ?

23rd Dec 2003, 07:27
Just had news that an Easyjet slipped off the taxiway in the vicinity of P6 while taxiing out. Rw 06 temporarily out of use.

Anyone with more news?

23rd Dec 2003, 16:10
Dutch radio said this morning they hit a lamp post while taxiing. No mention of rwy being closed, but the press isn't too hot on reporting these things properly. Aircraft was damaged, no news about the lamp post though.



23rd Dec 2003, 16:25
Poor ****** was probably on his sixth day!:cool:
Easyjet management take note.

Curious Pax
23rd Dec 2003, 18:53
There's a picture of the wing in question on airliners.net: G-EZJM's wing (http://www.airliners.net/open.file/477101/L/) - it certainly hit something with a bit of force! With a bit of luck it might have been one of those pesky barrel organ things!!

Wing Commander Fowler
23rd Dec 2003, 19:01
Jeez looks in a bad way - guy had a bad day there...... Sorry mate!


Silver Tongued Cavalier
23rd Dec 2003, 19:57
AMS and its ultra smooth new taxiways were a bit slippy alright yesterday, preventing the usual 30kt taxy speeds miles out into the countryside for 36L! And now we have to go all the way round to Z1 as well! :oh:

23rd Dec 2003, 21:22
Schiphol was really slippery last night, really bad weather most of the day on and off.

The new taxi ways are as you say smooth and very slippery at times.

Just an unfortunate one there skip, hope they don't give you to much grief for it.

23rd Dec 2003, 23:38
Odd though that in these slippery conditions t'was an LCO that came a cropper. Aren't LCOs often criticised for their above average taxy speeds? Just an observation.

23rd Dec 2003, 23:55

i don't often defend the company I work for, but your observations concerning taxi speed are verging on libel.

Maximum taxi speed on straight taxiways ( off apron) 25 kts
Maximum -"- -"- -"- aprons 10 kts

Flidras event 28 kts(ish)

we are all human and accidents happens, so give the crew a break!

23rd Dec 2003, 23:58

In this particular LCO, the FLIDRAS monitoring system does alot to stop high-speed taxying, so I think yours might be a very shaky conclusion.

24th Dec 2003, 00:34

There is only one LCA renowned for high speed taxying and arrivals, and it's not EZY. If you want to have a pop at any outfit, then fair enough, but make sure you have the facts right, and also bear in mind that a company's attitude might not reflect the attitude of everyone within that company.

24th Dec 2003, 01:38
For your info mr Boeing says 20 knots straight line ,10 round bends in dry good conditions.
As slow as you like when conditions are poor.

24th Dec 2003, 02:13
First of all I did not pretend to submit any facts. I submitted a thought and a personal observation! Now, for arguments sake, throwing max (dry!!!) taxispeeds and Flidras at me doesn't for one moment detract from the fact that they may (I say may ) have been going a little too fast in the prevailing conditions . Did anyone else get caught out around the same time?

24th Dec 2003, 02:20
I feel sorry for the guy.

That dreaded "rumble" from the nose gear as it breaks traction is a sound that will haunt you for a long time...especially when it's follwed by *crunch*.

Maybe it's time they started putting directional treads on the NLG?

24th Dec 2003, 03:41
Taxy speed is not an issue!


omoko joe
24th Dec 2003, 03:53
most of the orange jets I've seen around taxi pretty slow..sometimes painfully slow! It would seem to be a company policy, unlike their main rival lowco.:hmm:

24th Dec 2003, 05:42
Look's like it was a Great White to me

Stop Stop Stop
24th Dec 2003, 06:01
It looks like the easy 733 hit a bloody great big lamp post en route from the Polderbaan (18R/36L) to the main terminal. Said lamp post was on its side today.

I can't comment on whether he was going too fast or the weather was inclement at AMS last night...I wasn't there. However, the AMS ATIS always adds the comments "all aprons and taxiways slippery spots" when there is any chance of it being a bit mucky.

It looks like one of those awkward things that happens. The tea and biscuits session will no doubt be interesting but we must wait for the official report.

I have to say, as a regular traveller on easy (I work for a high cost airline at AMS), they seem to taxi at a sensible speed. Obviously, something went wrong last night, but we will find out in due course unless someone involved chooses to put us in the picture, on this forum.

Swept wing
24th Dec 2003, 15:36
Let's hope this incident will be attributed to unexpected black ice on the taxi way. Otherwise I feel for the crew involved. The so-called "no-blame culture" in easyJet does definitely not apply to its pilots. If there is anything that the company can blame the pilots for in a case like this, the likelyhood of their dismissal is great.

The idea of learning from situations like this and not trying to find a scapegoat is not generally the way easyJet operates. :(

24th Dec 2003, 15:53
Unique, open culture. Everyone makes a difference.
An open culture that is autonomous and non-hierarchical with an approachable senior management team
So there won't be any problems with the 'approachable senior management team' being 'approached' about the fatigue concerns expressed elsewhere on PPRuNe then?

24th Dec 2003, 16:21
First of all I do feel sorry for the guys as this could hapen to any of us and it is easy to sit here and speculate the reasons but I am sure that all would agree no profesional sets out on the day to go and deliberately have an incident. These things do happen, and they happen to the best of pilots and they happen to the average, and they sometimes happen to the worst. If one reads through the CHIRP report throughout the year it is evident that on a yearly basis the majors have more incidents than the low cost sector combined. People's perception is such that they will always be bashing the lowcost carriers and this is a great example of it. It is also very interesting how an EJ incident automaticaly brings out the RYR bashing about RYR taxiing.
Just for the info mjkblackdog[/B] Mr Boeing does not say 20 Knots for straight taxiing he says 30 Knots. This information is in the 737NG Flight Crew Training Manual Revision 1 dated October 31 2001. It is incorporated again in Revision 2 of the same manual.
Hope this ends well for the crew involved as we are all on the same side.

Wing Commander Fowler
24th Dec 2003, 18:00
Quite JP and betcha none of them has ANY personal experience or knowledge of the operation. Course they can all read though.... (to a greater or lesser degree).


Robert Vesco
24th Dec 2003, 18:19
Hmm, I know it's almost X-mas, but I find it very strange that a lot of people seem to have such a forgiving attitude.

What if this would have happened to, say Ryanair or anther non-UK airline? Would people still adopt the same "we are all human and accidents happens, so give the crew a break" attitude or would the pilots involved be hung from the highest tree?

24th Dec 2003, 18:29
Yeah!! String 'em up from the nearest lampost........oh!!

24th Dec 2003, 19:02
I've seen enough flag carriers taxi onto stand with excess speed to know the common perspective is more to do with prejudice than fact, but then again, I have been guilty of listining to said rumours too. Its just hard to assume that tight schedules/turnarounds, fatigue and apparent management pressures do not have some undesirable effects on some crew's performance. Rather than criticise those that are affected, I will commend those that keep it safe regardless.

This is one more crew whose hightened wisdom will make them less likely to have a taxiing accident and more likely to share said wisdom. Wouldn't that be an asset to any company?

May I be so bold as to suggest to pilots that when their CG is close to the aft limit, nosewheel traction in marginal conditions may be that little bit less than expected.

In trim
24th Dec 2003, 19:07
Why is it that if anything happens at a LoCo, everyone immediately starts making accusations about fatigue and taxi speeds with absolutely nothing to support their comments whatsoever? This could just as easily have happened to a 'traditional' airline......what would the comments have been then?

No doubt the official investigation will get to the truth!

Final 3 Greens
24th Dec 2003, 19:24
In trim

Maybe the loco's are asking for it by their overtly aggressive attitude in attacking other carriers on price, when often this isn't true either.

Of course, the flight deck team doesn't make these kind of decisions, but they are very visible when things go wrong and thus an easy target (no pun intended.)

A lot of stick has been handed out by loco's over the past few years and if you give it, you must also be able to take it.

As you say, the official report should be objective and dispassionate.

24th Dec 2003, 20:39
The incident is under investigation and the captain is very likely to be totally exonerated. He is of course represented by Balpa and will under any circumstance recieve the full support of that association and his fellow members.

The First Officer is not so covered and unfortunately will be at the mercy of whatever the employer decides to throw at him.

Insurance is expensive., but not so much as the consequences of not having it!:ouch:

Stan Woolley
24th Dec 2003, 21:01
In Trim and nosig

I don't believe taxiing too fast is normally a problem at Easy but the question of fatigue most certainly is!

Fatigue, morale and pressures real or perceived all take their toll on the safe operation of aircraft.

I have no idea what caused this particular incident but I'm really sick of your continued denial of certain very real safety issues which exist and continue to exist while managers are in denial.

Don't get smug or complacent, you said it yourself :-

' No doubt the official investigation will get to the truth! '

24th Dec 2003, 21:02
I was at AMS at the time. Patches of black ice were indeed to be found on the taxiways and the ATIS carried the usual warnings.

Doesn't really matter what reasonable speed you are doing if you happen to try to turn on a patch of black ice you aren't going to. Nobodies fault - just unlucky.

EZY taxi limits are 25kts and this is monitiored at all times by the computer and a 3kt exceedence results in tripping the safety flagging system. I don't think you'll find EZY have a taxi speed problem - in fact they are frequently frustrating to be behind as they crawl along like geriatric farmers on a Sunday I find. Certainly the case at Gatwick.


Algernon Lacey
24th Dec 2003, 21:04
I landed in another orange flying machine on 06 shortly before the unfortunate incident , with the usual traffic close behind, fully aware of the need to quickly vacate. At about 40kts trying to make S4 the aircraft started to slide; my only option was to straighten and slow further and take the next turn.
The ATIS was giving slippery spots on taxiways and aprons.
My heart goes out to the crew of JM.
There but for the grace of god.........

Norman Stanley Fletcher
25th Dec 2003, 08:11
Returning to the subject, people may be interested to know that the official Airbus A320 policy on taxi speeds is that you let the aircraft run up to 30kts uncorrected and then apply the brakes to return it to 10 kts before letting it run up to 30kts again. Strange no doubt but that is the party line. Obviously you make allowances for corners etc, but I find myself agreeing with the majority of contributors here - there but for the grace of God go I.

Also I simply do not accept that this is to do with low cost operations. No one says that the spate of drinking and flying incidents over the last couple of years is a 'national carrier' issue, but if it happened to easyJet or Ryanair then everyone would say it was clearly a result of the terrible stress theses guys/gals are living under. At the end of the day I personally believe that so much of all this stuff boils down to the individual sat behind the controls in the cockpit regardless of which company he/she works for. Or is that too simplistic?

25th Dec 2003, 08:53

Airbus mentions the 30 kts as a "maximum normal" speed, surely not as a "recommended" taxy speed!

From the FCOM (3.3.10)

"... the normal maximum taxi speed should be 30 knots in a straight line, 10 knots for a sharp turn..."

And quoting from FCOM (2.4.10) "Fluid Contaminated Runways"

Avoid high thrust settings.

When taxiing on slippery surfaces, stay well behind preceding aircraft.

Taxi at low speed. Note that antiskid does not operate at low taxi speeds.

On slippery taxiways during turns with large nose wheel steering angles, noise and vibration may result from the wheels slipping sideways. Keep speed as low as possible to make a smooth turn with minimum radius. Differential power may be needed.


As I see it, the responsibility is ours and finger-pointing to the manufacturer's procedures will do little to help.

26th Dec 2003, 20:28
As far as I know its Alitalia which is renowned for the high taxispeeds and not Easyjet.
We all know the nosewheel can slip even at a slow taxispeed in a sharp turn!

26th Dec 2003, 23:30
You don't need high speed or a tight turn when there is black ice and it seems the taxyway was supposed to be closed but still lighted and not mentioned as closed on ATIS or by the ATC who gave the taxi clearance (other taxyways were deiced but not the stretch in question)

It seems the following a/c was warned by the tower (after the incident). Firefighters could hardly stand up when they went to assist. No notam or atis warning at the time though shortly *after* a car tested braking action on the Polderbaan and it was broadcast as only medium.

there but for the grace of God indeed .....

31st Dec 2003, 12:05
Looking like this section of taxiway had not been anti-iced despite prevailing conditions, apparently airport fire crew attending JM had difficulty keeping on their feet.

Stop Stop Stop
8th Feb 2004, 20:12
As a post script to this sad incident, I have heard that the Captain has since been exhonerated and returned to flying duties, since the black ice was not visible, nor notamed and even the fire crews could not remain on their feet.

Also hear was that the aircraft is a total loss owing to damage to the spar.

Could someone in the know advise whether this is the case? Potentially very expensive for the AMS airport authorities I reckon? I am glad that the Captain would appear not to have been hauled over the coals. ...Grace of God springs to mind.

9th Feb 2004, 03:04
The Captain was cleared simply because he did nothing wrong at all.

Taxi speed 6 knots.

There is significant damage, worse than it appears in the photos, but the final assessment, and indeed who pays, has not yet been made.

9th Feb 2004, 06:20
So is the airport being renamed Skidpole?

9th Feb 2004, 15:34
As mere SLF, I'm astounded that at a taxy speed of six knots a lamp-post can total a jet.

How can this happen? What vital area was damaged that has caused this aircraft to be written off?

Apologies if this sounds dumb.

Buster the Bear
9th Feb 2004, 18:33
The rumour about JM being written off relates to wing spar damage.

Luv 744s
9th Feb 2004, 18:44
Angels: Not an unreasonable question, so nothing needs to be apologised for.

As to the extent of damage... well, keep in mind Sir Isaac's work... force equals mass times velocity. There's an appreciable amount of mass, even if the velocity was not that great.

What made it worse is that it hit a wing and caused serious damage to the wing spar, apparently.

The wing spar is basically a very similar version of a boat's (hull) ribs, and wrapped with a thin covering of sheet metal. The metal is pretty darned thin for reasons of saving weight, and protected by decree -- people are not allowed to walk anywhere they want on the wings, only on a very specific area if absolutely necessary (and is designed for the loads there).

Next time you take a flight with a window seat by the wings, you may see a spray-painted wording near where it attaches to the fuselage that says (to the effect of) "Do NOT walk on wing past this point". General aviation planes have similar restrictions for the low-wing planes where you need to walk on a narrow portion of it to get in or out of the cockpit.

(Saving weight translates to greater distance [range], greater cargo carrying or passenger carrying capabilities, possibly cheaper engines, lower overall aircraft cost, etc.)

To the average SLF, the fuselage is the most important piece of a plane. To me, the wing is probably it because it is a major load-bearing structural element, stores an appreciable amount of fuel, and generates pressure differentials across aerodynamic surfaces that makes flight possible. You can recover from a number of extreme situations, but lose a wing, ouch.

A wing is extremely strong and can support an incredible amount of load, but it's got to be done right to do that.

There's also concern when you damage a major structural member -- be it a car's frame or a plane's wing, that there's a tiny chance the repair might not fully address all of the damage or introduce unseen problems that could result in a future tragedy. All said, I'd imagine a repair of that nature would be sent back to the aircraft manufacturer for total replacement (of a wing in this case)... which is not particularly cheap if done after the initial build.

The way insurance typically works with airliners is... if the cost of repair is below a threshold (typically about 70% of the cost of a new plane of same make/model?), they will repair it and put it back in operation.

There has been a number of planes with ugly and pretty darned extensive damage from major incidents, but were fixed up and very quietly put back in service.

If the repair cost exceeds the threshold, the insurance company considers it a total loss, pays out to the airline, takes possession of the busted plane, and conducts its own investigation.

Reason? They want to make sure it isn't some sort of training or SOP deficiency with the carrier -- if it is, they can mandate changes be made to reduce the likelihood of losing another plane, and the subsequent financial impact.

But in this case, it doesn't seem the carrier or flight crew is at fault. Open question on if airport is at fault or responsible for any portion of the cost recovery. It will be interesting to see how the various parties ultimately concludes the financial end of it.

As a side note, someone posted (earlier in this thread) a link to airliners.net posting of a photo that reportedly showed the damage to the wing spar. I'd hoped to point it your way to better appreciate a wing spar's internal structure, but appears that photograph may have been yanked.

A wing may resemble something like this internally:


9th Feb 2004, 21:07
Luv 744s - Many thanks for your thorough explanation, I really appreciate it.

My first ever long haul (blimey 25 years ago now, sigh) was with TG to BKK from LHR and we had pretty bad turbulence for half the trip. I remember just focusing on the wing to my left -- okay port) and saw the give it had.

I truly realised then what a wonderful piece of engineering an aircraft is.

Again, my thanks.