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Near Ground Collision YYC (LH A340 Vs WS 737-600)

Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 12:17 am
by Viscount724
I noted the May 7 incident below at YYC in the Transport Canada daily incident reports. It reminded me of the recent AF A380 collision with the Comair CRJ-700 at JFK a few weeks ago. Assuming the description is correct, it's fortunate the 737-600 is the only 737NG model not certificated for winglets.

I'm also curious, assuming the facts are as stated, would the LH flight crew likely face any type of penalty for doing what they did? In this incident I assume it would also be important to know what taxiing instructions the LH aircraft had received from the ground controller, but presumably it's the crew's responsibility to ensure that a wing of their aircraft doesn't pass over any part of another stationary aircraft.


WestJet reported that their company flight WJA 720, a B737-600, was pushed back from Gate D50 at Calgary and was disconnected from the tow bar. At the same time, DLH 495, an A340-300 operated by Lufthansa, had been pushed back from Gate 44 and began to taxi away from the Terminal. The Lufthansa crew taxied into the vehicle service road (VSR) area to pass the B737 and ground crew observed about 6 feet of the wing of the Airbus pass over the Boeing's wing (without winglets) with about 2 to 3 feet of clearance. Ground crews observed that the main landing gear of the A340 had all crossed the Vehicle Service Road lines and the aircraft was taxiing through D50 and also into D49, where WestJet had all of their ground equipment stationed and were all getting fueled at the time with a number of ground personnel present. The observations of the company ground crew were corroborated by the B737 flight crew. The incident was reported to the Calgary Airport Authority.

RE: Near Ground Collision YYC (LH A340 Vs WS 737-600)

Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 4:02 am
by longhauler
I am not at all surprised about this incident.

Calgary has the most asinine ground "control" I have seen at any airport purported to be "civilised". Namely, in that there is no "control" . All clearances are "at your discretion".

Three times in the last year in Calgary, I have come nose to nose with another aircraft, and we were left wondering what to do. When asking ramp "control" who clearly sees the issue, the answer is always "taxi at your discretion". Amazing!

I am sure the Lufthansa pilots thought they were operating out of a mainstream airport with capable controllers, instead of the Sunday Flying Club mentality of Calgary Airport.

RE: Near Ground Collision YYC (LH A340 Vs WS 737-600)

Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 7:28 am
by Bartonsayswhat
I was an aircraft tower in YYC for a time and I can easily see how this could happen. When we would call apron they would respond with "Your discretion" sometime even before you told them where you were and where you were going, or even what type you were towing. More than once we were cleared to push our discretion only to find our selves head to head with an A/C entering the horseshoe, also at their discretion, or coming out of a corner to find 3 other planes trying to get the same spot. Your discretion could mean proceed for a bit, then pull on to a gate and repush, or stopping on the west pad to get out of the way, all with no guidance. If YYC is an airport that you might only go to a few times a year, and dont know where the problem spots are, it could get pretty dicey, and its only a matter of time until someone actually hits someone else.

RE: Near Ground Collision YYC (LH A340 Vs WS 737-600)

Posted: Mon May 16, 2011 4:33 am
by WestJetForLife
YYC is a very finicky airport, especially when, like Longhauler said, taxi instructions are "at your discretion."

Having never flown out of YYC in anything bigger than a King Air, I really shouldn't complain, but if Ramp I was bad for near-hits, taxiway "Alpha" from just south of 25 to the hold-point for 34 is NOTORIOUS for near-hits, especially aircraft leaving "Papa" to join "Alpha", because "Papa" is 'uncontrolled' according to the Jeppessen charts.

One of these days, a King Air is going to hit a Cessna or vice-versa at that intersection because YYC has a lax ground control situation.

Nik

RE: Near Ground Collision YYC (LH A340 Vs WS 737-600)

Posted: Mon May 16, 2011 5:47 am
by romeomike
It should be pointed out that traditionally "ground control" in Canada, as provided by the control tower, includes only taxiways and runways (when not active.) Most airports in Canada have apron advisory service only -- which results in a lot of "at your discretion." This is particularly true of places where the ramp is not easily, or completely visible from the tower, as it is in Calgary.

I believe Toronto has an actual apron control frequency, and it is the responsibility of the airport authority (and contracted out, I assume.) and not the air traffic controllers who work the rest of the airport traffic. The ground controllers there only speak to aircraft as they're exiting the apron and hand them off to apron control as they enter. They could be the only airport in Canada that actual has apron control, but I'm not sure about that. Perhaps someone can educate me.

Solving problems on the apron is very low on a ground controller's list of priorities. This is why there are wing-walkers and marshalers about.

RE: Near Ground Collision YYC (LH A340 Vs WS 737-600)

Posted: Mon May 16, 2011 3:03 pm
by longhauler
Quoting RomeoMike (Reply 4):
They could be the only airport in Canada that actual has apron control, but I'm not sure about that. Perhaps someone can educate me.

Montreal as well. At Vancouver, some ramp control is provided by Ground Control, north and south.

The "taxi at your discretion/we take no responsibility" protocol works acceptably at most airports in Canada. Not just a function of traffic, but also ramp shape. For example Edmonton is busy, but there are not normally any issues, as there is room to manoeuvre.

However, because of the design of Calgary airport, it is possible for an aircraft entering the horseshoe area to block the way of aircraft leaving the area, as there is only room for one aircraft, in or out, at a time. It can and does happen.

It is about time for Calgary to start pretending to be a real airport, and provide positive ramp control.