Fokker tail clips A330

 - May 6, 2008, 12:21 PM

FOKKER F28-100, Manchester, UK, APRIL 6, 2002–A misunderstanding of the flight manual resulted in damage to the horizontal stabilizer tip and leading edge of a Fokker F28 Mark 0100 (G-UKFI) at Manchester Airport. There were no injuries to those aboard, including the ATP-rated captain and his copilot.

The aircraft was parked on the western ramp of the airport, with its left wing tip inside the wingspan but below the wing tip of a parked Airbus A330. During his preflight inspection, the captain noted the close proximity of the A330 and reported he visually assessed the vertical clearance between the wings as sufficient. He also noted that his aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer was displaced approximately 21 ft outside the A330’s wingspan.

After engine start, and before taxi, the captain briefed the ground engineer on the proximity of the A330. The engineer advised the captain that a wing marshaller would be positioned on the left of the aircraft to monitor the clearance.

As the aircraft moved forward, the captain visually checked that the left wing was clear of the A330. The wing marshaller continued to indicate, with a “thumbs up” signal, that there was sufficient clearance. Having moved forward to what he considered a suitable distance, the captain commenced a slow, large radius turn to the right to gain the centerline of taxiway D. As the aircraft turned, the left tip of the horizontal stabilizer struck the A330’s right winglet. The ground engineer signaled for the aircraft to stop and both engines were shut down.

The aircraft operating manual includes a diagram depicting the radius of turn of the various extremities of the airframe. The radius of the arc described by the tip of the horizontal stabilizer for an aircraft carrying out a minimum radius turn is shown as being 65.6 ft, 5.7 ft greater than that for the wingtip. Examination of the aircraft dimensions also showed that the aircraft has to turn through approximately 30 deg before the horizontal stabilizer reaches the previous position of the wingtip.