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FR 737 taxis with towbar stuck under engine

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FR 737 taxis with towbar stuck under engine

Old 19th Dec 2021, 20:01
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FR 737 taxis with towbar stuck under engine

From Airlive:The Boeing 737-800, with registration 9H-QAH, was scheduled to depart as flight FR2907 from Frankfurt International Airport to Puerto del Rosario Airport on 17th December.

The tow bar remained attached below the engine until the pilots stopped taxiing.

In the event, sparks came out of the engine caused by the friction of the tow bar. In the video shared on the internet, sparks emanating could be seen.

I can't post links - see Airlive or search user BaileyB92043349 on Twitter
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Old 19th Dec 2021, 20:12
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Misleading headline.
Looks more like its hit the towbar with the engine and dragged it along.
Tow bars are not 'attached' to engines.


Thread title edited,
Senior Pilot

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 20th Dec 2021 at 00:56. Reason: Thread title
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Old 19th Dec 2021, 20:19
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https://www.airlive.net/incident-a-r...till-attached/

It looks more like the plane was taxied over the towbar, and snagged it, then taking it for a trip down the taxiway.
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Old 19th Dec 2021, 20:23
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 11:53
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When a tow-bar is attached to the nosewheel of a 737 it is pretty much hidden from the flight crew. We are at the mercy of so many other people, trusting that they do their jobs correctly. I have to admit that I take the 'pin & wave-off' at face value without actually identifying the individual elements as they are moved away from the aircraft. It does seem pretty unlikely that the groundcrew would forget to remove the tow-bar after pushback.... but were they distracted by something at a critical moment?

When all is said and done I cannot imagine the feedback through the tiller is something you could possibly miss on taxy as the tow-bar jack-knifes and breaks off the engagement lugs.

RYR pilots always seem to be in a hurry.... Or is that my imagination?
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 13:08
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Simple cure. DO NOT start the after start checklist until you have watched the tug, tow bar, man and pin clear the aircraft and safely cross "over the line" back into stand area. Verbalise it for the benefit of your colleague and the CVR. The taxi way is then yours and unobstructed - the after starts can then be done in the knowledge there's no-one or any equipment close to the aircraft.....because you weren't heads down doing checks when you need to be heads up watching the ground crew and equipment clear the aircraft. That's worked for 20+ years for me............

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Old 20th Dec 2021, 14:53
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How we got to 2021 without external cameras on a $100 million dollar jet but 8 on a $100k Tesla, I will never know.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 16:05
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I thought Ryanair had bulletproof SOPíS and procedures or is this an experience level problem at this airline.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 16:09
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Originally Posted by Magplug View Post
When all is said and done I cannot imagine the feedback through the tiller is something you could possibly miss on taxy as the tow-bar jack-knifes and breaks off the engagement lugs.
I haven't seen any photos yet showing either the business end of the towbar or the NLG. It will be interesting to see the extent of the damage to the latter, given that the aircraft was able to position from FRA to Berlin the following evening, presumably sporting a large quantity of speed tape under the cowl.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 16:27
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Was the aircraft departing from a self-manoeuvring Stand? I wouldn’t be surprised if the towbar was collected from an adjacent Stand while taxiing out at a brisk pace.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 16:55
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Looks like it pushed from D4 or D4A, facing west. The aircraft appears to have come to a stop roughly abeam C14.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 17:00
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Oh OK. I still think this towbar was not the one that was used during their own pushback, more likely collected en-route. TBA of course.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 18:19
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more likely collected en-route.
That was my thought as a possibility. If so, the towbar certainly should not have been where it was, and the crew should have been confirming that their taxi path was clear as they proceeded.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 20:19
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I'm aware of an incident a few years (not a 737) where the towbar ended up in almost the same position.

In that case the error was spotted and the aircraft stopped before being struck by the towbar.

The sequence was, after completing the push:

Bar disconnected from tug.
Tug moves forward to leave room to disconnected the bar from nose gear.
Bar is disconnected from nose gear.
Bar is pulled forward ready to re-attach to the tug
Before doing this the headset person removes bypass pin & unplug headset.
​​​​​​ As the push had been longer than normal it was too far for the headset person to walk back to stand.
Headset person entered tug as passenger and they returned to stand where pin/flag were displayed.
Inexplicably they forgot to reattach the bar to the tug before driving off.
​​​​​​ It was thought that the longer non standard push caused a distraction and they were uncomfortably exposed being a considerable distance from the stand with another section of twy to cross before reaching safety.
They were eager to return quickly from an area they felt exposed/unsafe.
As the aircraft started to move it commenced a left turn towards the adjacent runway holding point.
The error was spotted and the aircraft stopped just before the bar would have struck the right engine.

I suspect something similar may well have happened here.

I note that the towbar head is under the engine, it would seem unlikely it was still attached to the nose gear at the time of txy?

I'd guess either left in error or not correctly attached to tug when it moved off.

Last edited by 42psi; 20th Dec 2021 at 20:31.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 20:50
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Ive seen tow bar pins get bounced out of the tug's towing lugs before, sending the towbar careering across the taxiway. Tug crew non the wiser. I suppose its possible, at night for the same to happen but snag a 737 on the way.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 21:40
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I know on my old Company that both pilots had to see the tow bar clear of the aircraft and away before the after starts could be ..er...started.
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Old 20th Dec 2021, 23:31
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No idea how this happened, but seems they took the towbar with them for a fair old distance -
. As someone suggested above, it looks like they collected it whilst taxying?
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Old 21st Dec 2021, 08:11
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Collected whilst taxying most likely, but whether they collected it because of a taxying error or because ground crew didn't position it properly we don't know yet.
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Old 21st Dec 2021, 09:32
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Do Ryanair crew have bonus/penalties for being on time/delayed?
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Old 21st Dec 2021, 10:25
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Very odd.

If the bar was someone else's left on the taxiway, the ground crew would not have released the aircraft to taxi, or the taxiing crew would have seen it and stopped, so it can't have been that.

Had the bar been left attached to the nose-gear, there is a frangible link that would have broken when they moved forward, releasing the bar and they might then have run over it with their engine. So that would be a ground-crew issue, but also the flight-deck, since they wouldn't have seen the tow-bar attached to the tug to confirm "clear".

Third possibility is that the bar was removed normally and seen as "clear" but it then became detached from the tug and rolled away, coming to rest on the RHS of the aircraft with nobody seeing or realising. Or maybe the ground crew did wave but both pilots were looking forwards by then.

We had an SOP to each have a good proper look round to confirm "clear left" and "clear right" before moving, but on many types, you cannot see your own engines from the flight deck - unless you both laboriously unstrap and stick your heads out of the DV windows.
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