View Full Version : SQ29 Hits Object at Taipei Airport

19th Jul 2002, 06:39
As long as you can see two wings out of the cockpit, I guess it will fly.

Taipei, July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore Airlines Ltd. is
inspecting one of its aircraft after Taiwan's air traffic control
said the plane hit an object before take-off from Taipei's
international airport.
Air traffic control at the Chiang Kai-shek International
Airport had informed flight SQ29 that the plane's wings had made
contact with two tail stands, which are used to support an
airplane's tails when it unloads or undergoes maintenance, when it
was taxiing, Singapore Air said in a statement.
Taiwan's Central News Agency said the airport authority plans
to refer the incident for investigation to the Taiwan Aviation
Safety Council. It cited unidentified airport officials as saying
that SQ29 had hit the tail stands after it turned into a wrong
part of the airfield.
Singapore Air said today's flight landed safely and was under
"Based on the checks conducted in flight, the captain found
no abnormality with the aircraft performance and decided to
continue to Singapore,'' the airline said in a statement. The
plane landed at 11:15 a.m. in Singapore.

19th Jul 2002, 06:46
Singapore Airlines jet uses the wrong taxi route and hits object in Taipei, officials say
Fri Jul 19, 1:08 AM ET

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The wing of a Singapore Airlines jet hit a piece of equipment Friday morning as the jet took an unauthorized turn while taxiing to a runway at Taipei's international airport, Taiwanese airport officials said.

The control tower informed the pilots, and they decided that it was not serious enough to stop the Singapore-bound flight, airport police said. The plane landed safely in Singapore.

The minor incident attracted wide attention because Singapore Airlines has previously used the wrong runway in Taipei. Two years ago, a Los Angeles-bound jumbo jet tried to take off on a runway closed for construction. The plane smashed into equipment and debris, killing 83 people.

Singapore Airlines did not immediately comment on Friday's incident.

Taiwanese officials reported the incident to Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council, which was still investigating and would not comment.

Airport official Wang Teh-ho told reporters that the tip of the plane's wing hit a piece of equipment as it took a wrong turn while taxiing to its runway.

Wang said officials did not know why the plane deviated from its authorized route.

"The plane might have mistaken the tarmac for the taxi runway," he said.

Singapore Airlines has a reputation for being one of the world's safest carriers. The Taipei crash in October 2000 was its first fatal crash in about three decades of service.

19th Jul 2002, 08:24
One of the "world's safest carriers" also took off on the wrong runway in Melbourne once and in a separate incident carried on to Singapore after a tailstrike plus a lot of other incidents that were kept out of the press but well known in house.:rolleyes:

19th Jul 2002, 09:24
The control tower informed the pilots, and they decided that it was not serious enough to stop the Singapore-bound flight, airport police said. The plane landed safely in Singapore. Somebody please tell me that this is grossly inaccurate reporting. Please.

19th Jul 2002, 15:05
This seems like the right forum to get a perspective on this from big-iron pilots.

How big a deal is this?

1) How often do planes stray off the correct taxiway. Is it a once a day, once a week, once a month worldwide?

2) Is the continuation of the flight after an ATC advisory of something struck on taxi an unusual occurrence?

On the surface the outcome was safe and I would think that there have been many other similar safe outcomes.


Capt PPRuNe
19th Jul 2002, 17:27
Once again, this is why good grammar can 'uncomplicate' a thread such as this. I think they meant that "...the crew were informed that they had hit something whilst taxying" and not "...the crew were informed that they had hit something, whilst taxying". Note the placing of the comma! :rolleyes:

It is most likely that they received a message that they may have hit something whilst taxying, after they were airborne, performed a controlability check and then decided that they could continue in the absence of any indications of abnormalities and a possible lack off any a/c debris at the scene of the incident. So before the 'shock, horror' brigade dive in with the (Victor Meldrew voice) "I don't believe it!" comments perhaps some clarification would be useful from someone closer to the source.

19th Jul 2002, 19:29

We don't need no stinkin grammar, that's what voice inflections and icons are for:)

Prong Wallop
20th Jul 2002, 00:34
The Taiwan authorities (CAA) are reporting that the aircraft was not air-borne when informed of the collision, "the air traffic controllers informed the pilots that it had hit something and it was not advisable to take off."
Once again SIA are muddying the waters and attempting to re-interpret the facts to mitigate what is tantamount to criminal negligence.
Unfortunately 7x7, it is not innacurate reporting. The culture of intimidation is apparently so strong at SIA that this crew continued to operate the flight after an on ground collision. ANY aircraft damage has to be inspected and signed off before continuation of a flight, without exception.
With reference to CaptPPrune I am non-plussed that you apparently advocate ignoring the implications of an on ground collision. I don't think I would like my family flying in an aircraft commanded by a pilot that is required to initiate a FULL control check in flight and who follow that procedure only because there is lack of aircraft debris lying around after a collision.
Perhaps it is time SIA called in the experts to re-appraise the systemic problems exhibited in the airlines culture of intimidation. Safe operation of complex socio-technical systems requires more than a set of inflexible rules and blind coherence.
In my best Victor Meldrew voice I can only say "shock horror this can't be true."

20th Jul 2002, 00:50
"The Taiwan authorities (CAA) are reporting that the aircraft was not air-borne when informed of the collision, "the air traffic controllers informed the pilots that it had hit something and it was not advisable to take off."

Has this been verified?

20th Jul 2002, 00:58
Nothing surprises me with SIA they seem to fly by the seat of their pants with one goal to depart on time. On the SIN - HKG flight on the 16th of July the pax. flight display showed the aircraft going to TPE. When I queried this with the cabin crew their was a rush to the front, the display was shut down for 10 minutes and then re-appeared with the destination as HKG. Perhaps the experts could confirm but I thought this display was receiving data from the aircrafts (B744) navigation system..?

20th Jul 2002, 01:39
The display in the cabin has been known to have a mind of its own and not conform to the information plugged into the FMC.
The flight deck have no control over this cabin display so the 'rush forward' would not have helped. The IFS, in the cabin, controls the cabin display, including the input of departure point and destination.

20th Jul 2002, 02:02
Blue Eagle is essentially correct. But as this one has come up before it might as well be clarified here and now.

The IFS/CIC/ISD (delete as required) inputs Flight Number / Departure Point / Destination / Gross Flight Time / GMT variation at Destination - from the cabin computer.

The Moving Map then picks up data from the FMC/Flight Data bus as follows :

Take Off Time
Distance to Go
Aircraft Heading/Track
Current Lat/Long

All these are selectively converted to metric values (or whatever) as defined by a selectable customer option.

From all these the Display software just displays what it gets from the FMC. Thus you will often see the ETA change as winds change / crew input data is absorbed etc.

The aircraft symbol is aligned to represent heading/track and position from the FMC.

However - as correctly mentioned previously. This system does sometimes have a mind of its' own and can be confusing. It is just a piece of Disneyworld by and bye. It is a clever piece of software and is improving all the time. There are many versions out there - even on the same airplanes/companies. Some are better than others. It sure beats sending back the little maps with the position and flight data on; to be passed around as in the distant past.


20th Jul 2002, 03:05
:p grammar? how many of us have a pass in our o level english?:D

Norfolk in breaks
20th Jul 2002, 10:38
I did hear a similar story regarding a Varig flight departing Paris some years ago. Allegedly, he hit something with a wingtip, was denied take off clearance but went anyway. Is this true or just a vicious rumour?:confused:

20th Jul 2002, 10:59
Seasiadriver, on the Far East forum states, as fact, that the aircraft wrongly taxied through a parking area, where it is reported that it hit some ground equipment, and was airborne for seven minutes before it was advised by ATC that it had struck ground obstacles.

Without the full ATC/Cockpit transcript it would be wrong to draw, (or jump to), too many conclusions.

20th Jul 2002, 11:25
I cannot believe that any professional pilot would continue his departure after being told that his aircraft had collided with ground equipment ..... its imposssible!!!

20th Jul 2002, 11:58
Yes, quite wrong to depart. (We are told SQ29 had been airborne for seven minutes).

Chocks are ground equipment, as are GPU's and sets of aircraft steps etc. If I had run over a set of chocks then where I next landed would, subject to all systems showing normal, be up to me, the consequences the same be it Taipei or Singapore. If I had run into a set of steps then obviously a very different story.

Still waiting for an accurate transcript from the ATC/cockpit exchanges.

Still too soon to draw any conclusions.

20th Jul 2002, 15:10
Is the runway still closed in Taipei? They had a very long and interesting taxi route - involving about 7000' down a closed runway, as I recall (this is from the freight ramp). Had to keep one finger on the ground chart.

In the slot
21st Jul 2002, 11:35
As usual, people are getting excitied with very sketchy information.
Yes the aircraft hit 2 tail stands
Yes it was taxying contrary to clearance, across a remote bay.
No they did not know they had hit them.
They were not informed by ATC until approx 10 minutes after departure.
No they did not return to Taipei.
There are already suggestions that they would have been arrested on the spot if they HAD returned to Taipei, so consider that in their thought process as well.

I'm not making excuses, merely stating facts.
If YOU had hit something minor, and there was no debris at the scene, and the aircraft was behaving normally, would YOU return to Taipei with the high likelihood of your arrest bearing in mind the treatment of the SQ6 crew?? Maybe not as easy a decision as you may think???

With regards to the error in the first place, well take a look at the chart and decide for yourself. If you havent been to taipei, then pass judgement cautiously!

21st Jul 2002, 13:17
" There are already suggestions that they would have been arrested on the spot if they HAD returned to Taipei, so consider that in their thought process as well. "

This kind of suggestion must not be allowed to fester within the aviation community. It must be dispelled at the earliest time. To feel otherwise would affect the safety of all flights operating out of Taiwan.

I feel that it is the responsiibility of IFALPA to correct this impression if it is widely held.

22nd Jul 2002, 18:56
In the slot,

If the pilots involved in SQ6, where lives were lost and a jumbo was destroyed, did not get charged or even imprisioned, why would these pilots think that a MINOR incident would land them in gaol.

I think it was probably just a case of thinking that everything is ok now, so we might as well continue to home base.

Whether that was right or wrong is obviously easily debated now. With 20/20 hindsight, everything was ok.

I would imagine that the attitudes that many of the anti-SQ protagonists have are based on a culture of SQ past not SQ present. Lessons are being learnt and slowly applied.

23rd Jul 2002, 09:15
I'm sure the travelling public will be reassured that SQ are "slowly" learning from the mistakes of SQ6.

23rd Jul 2002, 14:11

I think you'll find the pace is a reflection of the thoroughness of the process. No "sacred cows" means that a lot of things are being reviewed and the hope is that they empty the small amount of dirty "bath water", but keep the baby well and truly in the bath tub.

Evolution is more effective and long lasting than revolution.

24th Jul 2002, 22:20
NTSB records show an SIA B747-300 having wing tip contact on the ground in LAX in the 80s.

During the investigation it turns out that the Captain had told his first officer not to look outside, his words were, "don't look at it, the lights will blind you".

In early 90s an SIA B747-300 had a tailstrike on takeoff out of LAX. ATC informed the crew that sparks had been reported coming from the tail during rotation.

The Captain ignored the report and continued over the Pacific to NRT.

Indeed the culture and mentality of Singapore/SIA is the core of the problem. Common sense does not really exist. Common sense in Singaporean is only valid if it is in 'Singapore context'. Very dangerous when mixed with commercial transport.

This mentality works fine within the Island otherwise it falls apart every time.

BTW, in the reports I don't recall reading about any reference to the Captain's nationality. Does this then mean he is a Singaporean.

25th Jul 2002, 14:39
Hi all

This was carried in the Singapore Straits Times on 25 July ( see below )

The question that comes to mind is this: If ATC had not verified initially that the aircraft had hit the tail stands, are then the actions of the pilots not unreasonable?



SQ29 captain carried out all necessary safety checks
I REFER to the letters, 'SIA should learn from past error' (ST, July 22) and 'SQ29 flier seeks explanation' (ST, July 24).

The incident in Taipei involving Flight SQ29 on July 19 is currently the subject of an investigation, and the pilots concerned have been suspended pending its outcome.

We wish to assure our customers that we are treating the incident seriously.

As reported in the media, it was not until the aircraft was airborne that the captain was made aware that the tailstands may have been knocked over by the aircraft while taxiing.

He received this information from air-traffic control which, in turn, had received it from one of the ground-staff crew members. It could not be verified at that stage whether the aircraft had, in fact, made contact with the tailstands.

The captain conducted the necessary checks on board and found the aircraft to be performing normally. He therefore decided to proceed to Singapore as scheduled. As there was no abnormality in the performance of the aircraft, no announcement was made inflight.

On arrival in Singapore, the aircraft was inspected immediately and some minor damage to a wing panel was detected by ground engineers. The damage did not pose any safety hazard.

We understand and appreciate the concerns of the writers and wish to assure them and the public that Singapore Airlines will not compromise on safety at any time.

Vice-President, Public Affairs
Singapore Airlines Limited Unquote

25th Jul 2002, 23:12
ATC informed the crew that "they may have contacted the stand"?

So it wasn't even confirmed at this stage if he hit it or blew it over?

26th Jul 2002, 04:51
Sorry BlueEagle, have to disagree. In my mind to 'contact' something is to physically touch something. The lack of a precautionary landing with even the slightest possibility of unknown damage is inexcusable. Loose panels, ruptured fuel tank etc etc. The possible list is endless and the consequences potentially dire.
Also to address previous posts, if the crew were concerned about returning to TPE due to arrest, a better course of action would have been to land at Hong Kong or Manila rather than continue to Singapore.
If I was a passenger on this flight I would expect nothing less.

26th Jul 2002, 05:25
I, on the other hand, expect a captain to be paid to make command decision based on his experience. If needs be, to be judged on his decisions by his peers afterwards - not the press or the public.

This seems like a non event. A possible ground incident, unconfirmed. The captain checking his aircraft using all information at his command, and making a decison to proceed.

If a professional body wishes to query that, well and good, but I won't.

It seems an attempt to make a mountain out of a molehill.

And I don't like people looking over my shoulder when I'm driving either.......

26th Jul 2002, 05:49
Have you seen those tailstands before Orac? They are massive, equipped with wheels and a hydraulic jack. They are also taller than the wing height (presuming they were 747 tailstands.) As he was manouvering in a confined area that he mistakenly entered, I would have thought one of them would be monitoring the wingtip clearance. You can see your wingtip from the cockpit side window.
I wonder if anything would have been said in Singapore if TPE hadn't informed the flight of the event?

26th Jul 2002, 06:07
What a bunch of smart asses. Bet you'd think differently in the seat.

26th Jul 2002, 08:11
So what do you know about the seat Carruthers? I've been sitting in one for over 20,000 hours, albeit the F/E's seat. 10,000 in the 747 Classic so I feel I know what I'm talking about.:(

26th Jul 2002, 09:40
Well they just sacked the SQ006 crew so I guess they believe that, that is that, end of story.

Gladiator I suspect you are right. Studies of the virtues of parrhesia and the thoughts of M. Foucault would not be allowed in the curriculum.

26th Jul 2002, 10:08
Gaunty, me thinks Ion has a grin from ear to ear up there somewhere, right now.:D

26th Jul 2002, 14:21
2nd post in 2 years on the same night! Gotta be mad, but this one gets me.
1. Se7ern; you are correct.
2. ORAC: B.S.
3. Carruthers: sorry old boy; rubbish.
End of story.
Spleener out.

26th Jul 2002, 18:11
Cracks me up that they only mention "The Captain" .
You can read that as the "National Captain".

An Expat would have been hung out to dry and had his nationality exposed !, two sets of rules Im afraid.