Airbus clips a Bombardier: Who’s fault is it?

Several bloggers have noted a recent incident at JFK where an Air France Airbus 380 (Flight AF007) hit the tail of a Comair Bombardier CJR-700 (Flight 6293). Luckily, no one was injured as there were 61 passengers and crew aboard the Bombardier and 580 aboard the giant Airbus.

As the Lucky Puppy Aviation blog noted, fingers are already being pointed but its the pilot-in-command’s responsibility to "see and avoid" all traffic. However and if you watch the video of the incident, a Bombardier taxis to it’s spot but then someone in a pick up truck darts across the plane’s path – forcing the Bombardier had to stop. The Airbus couldn’t see it happen as it was already out of view from the cockpit.

On the other hand, Tracy on the the Around the Pattern Blog has written that he is amazed by the actions of the A-380 crew and noted further that:

It’s always hard to judge speed when you are looking at a single point through a camera lens, but it sure looks like the A-380 was moving along a bit fast. It doesn’t appear that they made any effort to slow down and check their wingtip clearance with the commuter aircraft. You’d think that with a plane as big as the 380 you would always be concerned about wingtip and tail clearance – especially at a congested airport like JFK. You know that the plane is bigger than the airport was initially designed to handle, so normal taxiway markings will provide only marginal clearance. Maybe they expected the commuter to continue into the alleyway. Bad assumption.

Tracy further added that if you are ever going to make an assumption about another person’s actions, you need to assume that they will  do whatever will make the worst outcome for you.

Meanwhile, Sulako of Sulako’s Flying Blog has noted that someone on AvCanada has posted a picture of the accident scene (courtesy of Google Earth) with the wingspan of the A380 superimposed. Sulako added that there should be enough clearance – if the 380 was on the center line of the taxiway with the Bombardier north of the the road.

Hence, we want to ask you our readers what you think of this incident. In other words, who is at fault? Moreover, could the size of the Airbus be partially to blame – and not to mention the idiot truck driver?

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2 Responses to Airbus clips a Bombardier: Who’s fault is it?

  1. JetAviator7 April 15, 2011 at 16:41 #

    Looks to me like the CRJ was already stopped when the truck darted by, but in any case one wonders where the A380 captain was looking and if he was even aware of the CRJ.

    With checklists, communications and pre-takeoff preparations underway it is easy to find oneself "head down" at just the wrong moment.

    It will be interesting to see what the NTSB report says, but you can bet on one thing: "Pilot Error" will be part of, if not all of, their findings!

  2. Tyler Hoppenfeld April 15, 2011 at 20:02 #

    The AVCanada image shows 1/2 the Airbus wingspan as a line coming from the centerline (the toolbox shows the line as 130 ft, the A380 wingspan is 260), which shows that there would be at least some overhang off the runway even if the airplane were perfectly on the centerline.

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