When an Airbus A380 and a Bombardier CRJ-700 meet …

New York’s JFK International Airport is known to be an extremely congested airport, and sometimes stark reminders of how dangerous airport taxiways can be interrupt the perfectly choreographed movements of airplanes that appear to be effortless along the taxiways and ramps.

 

Yesterday evening as Comair’s Delta Connection Flight 6293, a Bombardier CRJ-700 (CR7), taxied proceeded on JFK’s Taxiway Mike towards its gate at Terminal 2, following a short flight from Boston; the routine flight took an unexpected nearly 90º turn to the right.

 

With the Comair CRJ-700 on Taxiway Mike, Air France Flight 7, an Airbus A380-800 (388) was taxing on Taxiway Alpha towards its departure runway when its wingtip clipped the top of the Comair CRJ-700’s tail … literally sending the plane spinning like a child’s toy.

 

For those of you wondering how one commercial jet airliner can spin another commercial jet airliner around like a toy, here is how these two aircraft aircraft compare to one another strictly by the numbers:

Length:             388 – 238.6 feet            — CR7 – 106.8 feet

Height:             388 – 80.2 feet              — CR7 – 24 feet 10 inches

Width:             388 – 23.4 feet               — CR7 – 8 feet 10 inches

Wingspan:       388 – 261.6 feet             — CR7 – 76 feet 3 inches

Wing Area:      388 – 9,100 sq feet       — CR7 – 760 feet

ZFW Weight: 388 – 810,000lbs           — CR7 – 43,500lbs

 

Like all incidents involving aircraft colliding for any reason, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will fully investigate the collision … but at the moment one question seems to stand out … where exactly was the Comair CRJ-700’s tail?

 

With the Airbus A380 on Taxiway Alpha, taxing on the centerline, its wingspan of 261.6 feet should not have extended beyond the 284 foot width of Taxiway Alpha.

 

Watching the video and listening to Tower audio of the incident of the incident, it appears that the controller in the tower did not properly space the aircraft to ensure that the Comair CRJ-700 was full onto Taxiway Mike before allowing the Air France A380 to cross the intersection.

 

Accidents happen … and luckily this accident happened without any injuries.

 

You can view video of the collision between the A380 and CRJ-700 below.

 

Happy Flying!

 

 

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Comments

  1. As someone who now flies the A380, and who has operated the 747 to JFK in the past, I can safely say that it would my least favourite place to taxi. The taxiways are narrow, many of the turns/intersections don’t have any fillets, and obstructions are everywhere.

    The controllers are, at best, described as terse. They speak ‘New Yoik american’ extremely quickly, and are quite intolerant of any mistakes, or misunderstanding from the airline crews….for many of whom English is not the primary language.

    The A380 itself is a monster to taxi. You cannot see the wingtips, and are really totally reliant on aircraft and vehicles being on the appropriate side of the clearance lines, and of course, clearance lines aren’t all that standard around the world either.

    I’m glad we don’t take the 380 to NYC…the jumbo was bad enough.

  2. JB,

    If you’re flying with who I think you’re with … first let me say I miss your 744 at JFK, it just isn’t the same with the A330. That out of the way, I grew up next to JFK, so when I hear the controllers I find them easy to understand, but I am well aware of the fact that I speak very rapidly, so I can only imagine the frustrationfor pilots to have to process what is being said to them in a non-native language at the speed in which it is said. I have heard countless issues over the years between JFK’s Tower and foreign pilots, including more than one serious issue with pilots from Chinese airlines.

    An issue with JFK, even though certain taxiways were altered specifically for the A380, is there was no room for them to really expand the taxiways. The expansion of taxiways ate into other space such as the length of the crossing taxiways.

    I think ultimately, this incident is going to be blamed on the controller not being able to see that the CR7 was jutting out into Taxiway Alpha rather than entirely on Mike. Its a very tight space by Terminal 1 and 2, and a likely end result is A380s yield at crossing taxiways until the traffic is completely out of their way.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  3. That footage is incredible. . and it really is amazing how rigid an aircraft’s structure is. . . it sometimes doesn’t feel that way when you are being pitched around during turbulence, but I have a new found confidence seeing that the CRJ didn’t tear in half.

    Fish, do you know how long the planes were delayed after the incident, and I’m assuming both aircraft weren’t allowed to fly after that contact?

  4. Fish

    Question, you claim you know who JB flies for, and say you miss their 747 as they now operate with A330, yet none of those carriers with A380 operate A330 into JFK… I’ve had a quick look, so sorry in advance if you can prove me wrong….

    Cheers

    Ryan

  5. Ryan,

    Think of the airline that used to fly the 747 to JFK but swapped it for the A330 … and does not fly the A380 into JFK. There is only one airline and their service to JFK falls under the 8th Freedom of the Air with daily service from LAX.

    I’ll give you a hint, the airline has a Kangaroo on their tail.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  6. Fish

    Just had another look on Qantas website and the GDS, whilst the A330 operates AKL LAX, pax then transfer to either QF B747 or AA aircraft… Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been there..

    SYD – NYC QF107 B747
    AKL – LAX – NYC QF25 A330 QF107 B747

    Also SQ do not operate A380 into JFK (according to their timetable)

    Cheers

    Ryan

  7. Ryan,

    Qantas flight QF 107 (LAX-JFK) and QF 108 (JFK-LAX) is now operated by an Airbus A330, it hasn’t been a 744 in months. These flights fly onward passengers domestically within the US, these cannot fly passengers from JFK to LAX without an onward connection with Qantas or fly passengers originating at LAX to JFK.

    While SQ does not operate an A380 to JFK, it does not operate any 8th Freedom flights in the US or A330s to the US either.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  8. Fish

    So the GDS and Qantas website is wrong? Also VH-OJQ is on finals to SYD operated JFK-LAX-SYD oh it’s a B747

    I think I read in NYC aviation about a Qantas plane loosing a Winglet on the ground in JFK last year?

    Ryan

  9. Ryan,

    Go look at FlightStats.com, check FlightAware or ask the plane spotters at JFK on NYCAviation … they’ll all tell you it’s an A330.

    The 744 was far to much capacity on the route. In fact the A330 is to much capacity, but Qantas wants to maintain the route.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  10. Flight24 dotcom B747 VH-OJQ NYC LAX SYD

    However they do mention A330 yet on QF and GDS there is no mention of A330…

    Maybe you have a contact in Qantas that can varify this?

    Also you might want to recheck your work, few duplicate words…

    I no doubt look forward to your response

  11. Hi Fish,

    Sorry to ask again, but do you know how long the the aircraft involved were delayed, and if the aircraft were allowed to fly, or have they been grounded for inspections?

  12. Doug,

    There’s a very interesting and informative discussion about this incident going on in the general aviation forum at airliners.net. Looking at photos of the A380’s wing (posted at both airliners.net and nycaviation.com)…well, that AF plane didn’t depart later that night and probably won’t be airworthy for a while.

  13. This is hardly the controllers fault as you say.

    It is ALWAYS the pilots job to maintain separation unless in IFR conditions. The pilots could clearly see that the CRJ was stopped and if they had any doubt, they should have stopped immediately until the CRJ cleared the area enough so there was no doubt in their mind.

    The only people to be blamed for this is the Air France crew.

  14. Wow. That CRJ does look like a toy plane for a second… Maybe they should show this during safety videos. Perhaps that would convince passengers why it’s really important to “remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign.”

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