Just before Christmas 2018, the right wing of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft crashed into a light mast at Gardermoen, with significant material damage to both aircraft and mast as a result.
– On the way to departure, it suddenly shook the whole plane. Everyone was running towards the windows, and then we saw that the right wing had crashed into the mast, a passenger told Dagbladet.
The plane, named ET-AUP, was going to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa via Stockholm. That’s not how it went; after the accident, the plane was emptied and the passengers were taken back to the terminal and had to get to the destination in another way.
Fortunately, no fuel was leaked out of the wing after the collision, and no people were injured.
Almost twice as wide
The final report from the State Accident Investigation Board is now available. It concludes that the accident was mainly due to the ground crew’s incorrect instructions to the pilots.
The heavy Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which seats 280 passengers, with a wingspan of 60.12 meters, was guided into a de-icing station designed for much smaller aircraft with wingspan of less than 36 meters – typically Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 .
The investigation has revealed that the de-icing coordinators did not have sufficient technical aids to find a matching de-icing site for the different aircraft types.
On the other hand, the pilots on the Dreamliner did not have access to information about which de-icing places at Gardermoen were approved for the aircraft type.
«[…] and when the ET-AUP swung into the debris area ‘Bravo Nord’, there was no marking, light, signage or other technical barrier that allowed the crew to even detect the misalignment of the deicing stand, “the report states.
The Accident Investigation Board comes with three different safety recommendations after the fade:
They recommend that “all airport operators for Norwegian airports review and publish information in AIP Norway [manual for prosedyrer i flytrafikken] for the other Norwegian airports with regard to restrictions on which deicing stands / areas the different categories of aircraft can use ».
They “recommend that Avinor Oslo Airport, in consultation with relevant action operators, find suitable technical solutions at Gardermoen to prevent aircraft from being led into the wrong de-icing position”.
They also recommend that «EASA [Det europeiske luftsikkerhetsbyrået] is considering introducing requirements for larger aircraft to be equipped with anti-collision aids for use in taxiing ».
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