Airbus A380 knocks regional jet around like a toy

I’ve been doing a lot of flying for work lately, so I’ve been spending my spare time in hotel rooms just looking at random aviation shit on YouTube.

Here is a really cool video of an A380 taxiing at JFK. It sideswipes a small Delta CRJ-700 (actually Comair dba Delta Connection) and rotates the poor bastard nearly 90 degrees.

I guess that’s why they tell you to keep your damn seatbelt on while taxiing.

Yep :D.

Presumably the little jet was parked out of position. Taxiways and parking areas are marked and designed so that as long as your aircraft type is approved and you keep the nose wheel on the yellow centerline you shouldn’t hit anything.

I don’t know. The airbus was most of the way past the small airplane before it struck the little plane. I’d say, even if the little jet was not deep enough into his slot, the airbus turned to the left and clipped the little guy. Would have been cool to be on the little plane when it happened. I bet that was a fun ride.

Boy do I feel sorry for you. I traveled all of 2010. I put in easily 20hrs a week flying because it wasn’t a straight trip, so each leg was a two hopper w/at least 1hr in between. When I started waking up, not knowing what state I was in, I had to quit that job.

The passengers on the Airbus reported that the collision felt like a bump on the pavement. :cool:

Looks like there was a baton-wielder running out to the little plane just before it got hit, so he probably realized backing out was not such a good idea…

Also, notice how fast the Airbus stopped. From full taxiing speed to zero in half a plane length. THAT must have been fun.

Strangely (or perhaps it’s normal for government agencies) there’s no determination for this incident, even though it was from April of 2011.

Some people say the big moving thing had the duty to avoid small things that aren’t moving, but others say the small thing had the duty to get out of the way of the big thing. ie: they should have pulled all the way to their gate.

More importantly, who’s going to catch the blame? The ground controller for not ensuring the A380 had a clear path? The CRJ pilot for parking badly or backing from the gate too early*, or the A380 pilot for being in ultimate control of the aircraft, regardless of what a controller tells them to do?

  • I’m not familiar with ramp operations at JFK. Do small jets normally push back from the gate with their engines, or are they towed out with a tug?

They don’t use tugs at JFK, in my experience. But I’m not an expert, just a frequent flyer.

A year from the accident date is considered to be the timeframe for an NTSB/Aviation accident report for serious accidents - think Colgan Air 3407 - this event doesn’t qualify as all that serious. I assume a report will be made available within the next year or so. The NTSB website seems to be down right now, though.

I can’t seem to find any Safety Recommendations already released as a result of this incident, so (and this is a WAG) nothing stood out as being needed to “fix” immediately so I *suspect *the probable cause(s) will be found to be pilot/ATC/human error, mistakes and not following of rules rather than an actual procedural or safety issue at the airport that needs to be addressed for the future.

Both aircraft were repaired and are back in service.

ETA: I’m not even sure the CRJ7 can push back on it’s own - I know it’s not recommended!

It is hard to tell from the video, but it doesn’t look like the small plane was being pushed out. I could swear that I remember always seeing planes pushed out of their stalls with those little trucks. I didn’t think they had a ‘reverse’ option on the wheels themselves.

Wouldn’t using the jets to push back, seem kind of dangerous? Imagine if they managed to shoot a passing bird into the terminal window… a bloody feathered mess sliding down the glass wouldn’t exactly inspire confidence in the travelers.

Probably part of the Delta fleet now. I bet Delta trolls Craigslist for their aircraft. I’ve never had a Delta flight that wasn’t delayed for ‘mechanical problems’. My guess is that someone needs to show them how to check the oil stick once in a while.

N641CA is owned by Comair, which is, indeed, a subsidiary of Delta Airlines. Comair is an exclusive Delta Connections carrier (as opposed to companies like Pinnacle, which also contract out aircraft for other airlines.

N641CA appearsto have been purchased new in 2003.

As for Delta and their mechanical problems… could be, though that’s also the usual excuse given for any random delay. Easier to blame the plane than the pilots :slight_smile:

Oh, and there is no oil stick :wink:

The A380 pilot probably wouldn’t be able to see their wing tips and even if they could the distance is too far to be able to judge whether or not you are going to hit something. That’s why you make sure you’re parked in the right spot and you make sure you taxi on the yellow line. The best the A380 pilot could do is notice that the CRJ was out of position as they were approaching it and stop if they didn’t think there’s enough room.

Jets don’t push back with their engines. The choices are either push back with a tug or power forward off the bay with the engines. Most bays for passenger jets aren’t setup for power off.

The airbus was that far past because that’s how far back the wingtips are, not because it’d moved to the left.

Maybe sometimes. The flight I was on was in the process of lining up for takeoff when we got called back to the gate. 2 hour delay! And there were mostly *New Yorkers *on board. This one guy got really pissed and started cussing out the flight attendants, it was magical.

Because it’s their fault that the plane was delayed, right? I loathe flying, but I hate rude people a billion times more. And rude-person apologists a billion and one.

They used to, but it seems the practice has fallen out of favor as it does suck down a lot of fuel and blasting FOD (stray bolts, birds, etc) against the building is never a good thing.

On the right side, the third video down titled “Airbus A380 Delta Air Crash Investigation” is a news story on the incident. They claim JFK had to get a waiver from the FAA because the taxiways are 75ft wide and the A380’s wingspan is 261 ft, meaning it will pretty much take out anything parked there. But they also speculate the CRJ may have stopped because of the truck driving across in front of it. Either way, a plane that big on a taxiway that small sounds like a bad idea.

Preliminary report is here(yay NTSB website is back up!)


CRJ was on the taxiway “Bravo” making it’s way to the Delta ramp when ATC told it to hold at a location called “Diamond 2”, which is a painted spot on the ramp area near taxiway “Mike”. The CRJ did just that, stopping with it’s nose gear on the painted spot. The left the tail of the plane sticking out across a roadway and onto taxiway “Mike.” This area isn’t visible from the control tower and the CRJ pilots didn’t tell ATC that, by stopping on Diamond 2, they hadn’t fully left “Mike”.

The A380 was puttering down the taxiway. They were told to avoid traffic further down, but no mention of the CRJ was made. One pilot looked at his chart to see the later point, and they were looking at the nosewheel camera to ensure they were on the runway centreline. ETA: they had just completed a turn and there is a bit of a blind spot when looking out the window, but IMHO they had time to observe the CRJ.

Next thing you know, they’ve clipped the CRJ. Both A380 pilots claim to have not seen the CRJ at all and attribute that to all the other lights that are around them at the airport. One pilot says he was only looking forward, never sideways to see what was on the edges of the taxiway… editorial…this is rather ridiculous… “The right seat captain said he only looked forward outside the cockpit, not sideways. He said there were a lot of lights and flashes of light on the roadway to his left so he did not look toward the roadway. He said terminal and vehicle lights bothered him if he looked 20 degrees left.” ZOMG flashy lights, DON’T LOOK AT THEM is kind of counter to good piloting, IMHO!

The CRJ pilot saw the A380 coming and even moved forward a few feet (remember he was told to hold his position), believing the A380 could get by him.

Diamond hold points are intended as hold points for planes taxiing ONTO taxiways, not OFF of them the way the CRJ was told to do.

A bit quoted in it’s entirety:

My totally non-official amateur judgment:

ATC errors - telling CRJ to hold short on Diamond 2.

  • not advising A380 of location of CRJ (this assumes they knew the plane was sticking out though) or following up about a stationary aircraft in a location that they cannot see

CRJ errors - not advising ATC that they were not clear of the taxiway

A380 errors - not looking in all directions, being distracted by charts and nosewheel camera (though they were using them as intended, looking at them contributed to the accident), not liking the lights of the airport enough to be alert to stuff around them.

Pretty much a whole bunch of mistakes all around, though I feel the CRJ crew were the least responsible for the accident, given as they were following orders and attempted to improve the situation by moving forward… I think they would have assumed the A380 knew they were there and that it would have stopped or they assumed that ATC and the A380 knew the way was clear.

All IMHO, of course… I love this stuff, but don’t take me at my word on any of it :slight_smile:

Sucking that FOD back into the engine intake isn’t a good thing either. There are other problems with it as well. In the Dash 8 you could do it but you couldn’t use the brakes at all, or the nose wheel steering and there was a 10 knot cross wind limitation. I’d think the restrictions on a jet doing it would be similar (the jet I fly doesn’t have reverses so it’s a moot point for us.)

Not necessarily. The width of the taxiways themselves doesn’t equate to the clear area available for the entire aeroplane. A narrow taxiway is a problem because big jets have a wide undercarriage track and because the jets are quite long, when turning corners the main undercarriage “cuts the corner” and on a narrow taxiway there is more chance of ending up on the grass.

Sounds about right. I’d cut the Airbus guy a little bit of slack for avoiding the lights. Flashing lights are a real pain in the arse at night. They are distracting and ruin your night vision. Obviously they are supposed to be distracting but because everything has a flashing light on it, none of them stand out, it’s just a sea of flashing lights only one of which might be relevant to you. He certainly had an obligation to avoid the collision and once everything was in place he was the only one who could realistically avoid the collision, but there are mitigating factors there. It basically seems like everyone made assumptions that turned out wrong.

Airbus: “I’m on the centreline so I won’t hit anything.”
CRJ: “I’m following the ground controllers instruction so nothing will hit me.”
Controller: “No one has said anything is wrong so it must be ok.”