Thursday 14 December 2017

Jets within seconds of collision after pilot's error

Paul Melia

TWO aircraft carrying hundreds of passengers were within seconds of colliding on the main runway at Dublin Airport last year.

A Turkish Airlines plane came within 200 feet of colliding with a Germanwings passenger jet trying to land after it taxied onto the runway without permission.

The inbound aircraft was less than half-a-mile from touchdown when the pilot was forced to abort his landing. The crew of the Turkish jet has been blamed for not complying with instructions from air traffic control.

The incident happened at Dublin Airport on October 16 last year but only came to light in a report from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) published yesterday.

It found that the pilot of the Turkish aircraft, a Boeing 737 carrying 99 passengers and six crew, had been instructed at 10.26am to taxi from the parking area to a point just short of the runway.

But it continued on to the runway just 10 seconds before the Germanwings plane was due to land, forcing the pilot to abort his landing.

Seconds before impact, the Germanwings pilot told Air Traffic Control: "We're going around, there's (an aircraft) entering the runway." Weather conditions were good and the planes passed within 144 feet of each other. The Germanwings Airbus 319 had 125 passengers and five crew.

The Turkish Airlines pilot told investigators that he was conducting "mandatory head-down tasks", meaning he was not looking out the windscreen as he taxied to the runway.

This resulted in him missing an important marker which would have indicated the stopping point. The pilot apologised to air traffic controllers for the "inconvenience".

The AAIU said it had written to Turkish Airlines recommending that pilots look out the windscreen while taxiing.

Dublin Airport has made changes to the documentation it supplies to air crews to warn them of the potential dangers of entering active runways.

Irish Independent

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