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Lufthansa 747 push-back collision with United 777

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Lufthansa 747 push-back collision with United 777

Old 5th Jun 2001, 04:07
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Cyclic Hotline
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Unhappy Lufthansa 747 push-back collision with United 777

Jets Collide at Dulles

Trouble on the tarmac at Dulles International airport is raising concerns tonight. ABC 7 has learned that just after 6:30pm yesterday, two jumbo jets collided on the ground, damaging both aircraft and delaying hundreds of passengers.

According to eyewitnesses, a Lufthansa 747 was pushing back from the gate on the first leg of its flight to Frankfurt. A United 777, just in from Los Angeles, was taxiing behind it-- and its right wing clipped the tail of the 747. There were more than 600 passengers and crew aboard the jumbo jets.

Catholic University Professor Aaron Barkatt was on the Lufthansa flight. He said he felt a slight jolt when the two planes collided: "Slight jarring, light jarring, yes. I heard a cracking sound, and in another 2 or 3 seconds I think I heard a second cracking sound."

According to Barkatt, the airport was not busy. "As far as I could see, the airport was not very busy at all. There were very few planes around," he reports.

Ground crews discovered the United 777 had four feet of damage to its right wing, and the 747 had skin damage to the tail. Just before engines were shut down Lufthansa's pilot said both planes had significant damage.

The FAA (news - web sites)'s former Chief of Staff Michael Goldfarb said that the incident was serious, but could have been much worse if wing fuel tanks had punctured, spilling thousands of gallons of high-octane jet fuel.

"It is not a good scenario and could lead to fire and other kinds of serious problems. So we dodged a bullet in effect by having this result without loss of life. But it could have been far worse," he warned.

The accident is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (news - web sites). They have been warning airports for the past several months of a growing danger of runway and taxi-way collisions due to congestion.
 
Old 5th Jun 2001, 04:40
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Mert
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Oops! I'm wondering where United is buying this " high octane " jet fuel
 
Old 5th Jun 2001, 10:23
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Slug_man
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Is this the fault of SMC at the airport or ground personnel conducting the pushback? I'm sure you'll all agree, things like this just should not happen!!!
 
Old 5th Jun 2001, 11:02
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sky unlimited
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This accident is proving that the groundhandling at some major US airports (IAD, EWR, JFK, DFW, LAX....) needs some major improvements to prevent more serious accidents!



 
Old 5th Jun 2001, 12:39
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United will not use wing walkers on their Push-Back crews. They use mechanics and claim a union agreement prevents them using wing walkers? Too expensive to use more mechanics and mechanics won't work with others doing the wing walking!! Maybe this one will change their tune?
Lufthansa is a Star Alliance member and uses United for ground services at Dulles.

 
Old 5th Jun 2001, 19:20
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Q400
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A week ago in YYZ a marshaller directed vehicles to continue behind a 767 that had started to push. Our vehicle stopped but a catering truck came within 3 feet of striking the underside of the tail.

Also at YYZ in the past few years: a 340 pushed back and tail ended a 747 parked across the ramp, and an RJ pushed back and knocked over a catering truck.

[This message has been edited by Q400 (edited 05 June 2001).]
 
Old 6th Jun 2001, 01:36
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The 777 was fixed this morning but is still on the cargo ramp.
The '74 has a lot of damage to the tail cone and the APU exhust is bent and twisted plus a lot of torn and bent sheet metal. This one will not be an easy fix!
Wing walkers suddenly become real cheap insurance.
 
Old 6th Jun 2001, 06:28
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Continuous Ignition
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UAL at IAD was my airlines ground handler up until a few weeks ago.

We had a similar situation where they were pushing back one of our B727's w/o wing walkers and pushed it into a catering truck on the ramp road behind the airplane flipping the catering truck on its side. The airplane was down for about a month while the Lt wingtip was replaced...

We have since moved our opeation across the ramp to another major airline who handles us now....

------------------
Don't like it? Don't look at it!
 
Old 6th Jun 2001, 10:27
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packsonflite
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I don't entirely blame the UAL ground crew for this. Was in IAD a couple of weeks ago and the ramp controller totally lost the plot and in effect created a gridlock which then took him some 30 minutes to unstitch!

Perhaps some LHR GMCs should be sent over there to give them a few pointers as to how the job should really be done.
 
Old 6th Jun 2001, 11:31
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DanJ
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Continuous Ignition. You did not directly state so in your post, but seemed to be implying that the move to a different ground handler was because of this accident. I certainly apologize if I misinterpeted what you meant. Your airline requested additional handeling for new frequencies during the Mega bank we run in the afternoon. UA simply couldn't do it, and turned the contract down. We push 48 aircraft in 70min, over half of them being widebodies, staffing simply wasn't available for those extra flights during that time period. THAT is why you guys moved across the ramp.
 
Old 6th Jun 2001, 14:43
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LH419
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Ouch! Why did this have to happen to me?!
 
Old 6th Jun 2001, 20:52
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Turtlenest
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Packs - I like your idea. Lets charge back to the '50's and let the Brits have a go at it.
 
Old 7th Jun 2001, 04:41
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Continuous Ignition
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DanJ,

Let me clear the air then.

We did move because of UAL not being able to handle an afternoon flight and NOT because of this incident. We always got great service from everyone at United in IAD.

I was just stating that maybe the pushback procedures need to be reviewed. Thats all...

Say Hi to Mr. Paradise for me.....
 
Old 7th Jun 2001, 05:55
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Since when has a B777 been a jumbo jet?
Lurk R is offline  
Old 7th Jun 2001, 09:58
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DanJ
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Continuous Ignition
Thanks for the response. I would certainly agree with your comment about looking at pushback procedures. I have always felt that the need to have mechanics pushing planes was foolish. Just my own personal opinion on that. After all, I can push a plane at a line station, but if I go to a hub I'm somehow no longer qualified? Some airlines have pushback teams....thats all they do. Comprised of ramp personel. It's just a simple matter of training is it not? I think we should let the mechanics fix planes... Just my 2 cents
 
Old 7th Jun 2001, 11:59
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LH419
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@Lurk R:

Probably since it's wings are able to (reach up to and) damage the tail of a 744... or since there are people thinking a Jumbo is the same as a widebody.

Regards,
LH419 (doing pretty aright again)
 

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