Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This happened last night, when an Air France A380 was trying to depart JFK for Paris and its left wingtip caught the tail of a Comair RJ. No injuries reported, so that's good, though if I was in the RJ cockpit I'm thinking the seat upholstery would likely need to be replaced. It does makes me take the "please keep your seatbelts on until the plane has arrived at the gate" warnings a little more seriously too.

How did this happen? I'm sure there will be a report, but right away I see there are a few things of interest:

- The A380 seemed to be going faster than a normal taxi speed, but it also seems like the video might be sped up a bit.
- It was at night, so visibility wasn't the greatest.
- The widest runways at JFK are 200 feet across.
- The wingspan of the A380 is just over 261 feet.

Looks like they might want to revise the procedures for handling the A380 when other aircraft are in the neighborhood. From the way it completely manhandled the RJ, I'm not sure the A380 would even notice if they ran over our Citation 550. I bet I would though, so I'm making a mental note to give it at least 131 feet of lateral separation on the ramp if I ever come across one.

Update: Here's the ATC audio, and a couple of pics


Joel P. said...

Wow, that's crazy stuff. I was expecting something more like a little nudge based on the title of the video. Pretty sure Air France wasn't on the runway though. According to the ATC audio they were taxiing via Alpha for takeoff on 22R, and the collision occurred at the intersection of Alpha and Mike, which is (I think) right by the Delta Connection gates. It looks like the bright guys scattering after the collision are rampers about to guide the RJ into the gate.

Jez said...

Um, Sulako, it was on taxiway alpha, nowhere near a runway. Why did you think it was on a runway? Did you even listen to the ATC audio that you posted?

On some other forums people have calculated the speed as between 15-25 knots. I don't think 25 knots is *that* fast a taxi though probably too fast for such a congested area...

Sulako said...

Hi Jez. I thought the 380 was on a runway when it happened because that was the initial information available. The audio got onto Youtube the day afterwards, and I posted it then.

Harrison said...

Did I hear someone say OH MERDE! Interesting video, thanks for sharing.