Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with aerobridge involving Boeing 747-422, N119UA, Melbourne Airport, Victoria, on 22 April 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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What happened

On 22 April 2013, the flight crew of a United Airlines Incorporated Boeing 747-422, registered N119UA, flew from Sydney, New South Wales to Melbourne, Victoria. At Melbourne, the crew taxied to gate D5 and stopped, applying the parking brake. Shortly after stopping, the aircraft started to move forward again slowly. The flight crew realised the aircraft was moving and re-applied the brakes. The aircraft’s left wing collided with the aerobridge before the movement had stopped. No one was injured during the occurrence and the aircraft sustained minor damage.

What the ATSB found

After stopping at the gate, the aircraft parking brake was likely inadvertently released before the nose wheels were chocked and the engines shut down. The flight crew’s attention was inside the cockpit, focused on shutting down the engines. As such they were not actively monitoring aircraft movement, nor was that required at this stage. In addition, the parking guidance system at the gate was set to emergency stop mode by ground personnel when the aircraft first arrived, removing the possibility of an alert for the flight crew that the aircraft had moved. The flight crew became aware of the movement when the captain detected motion through peripheral vision. The very slow acceleration, combined with a lack of visual cues available to the flight crew made it difficult for the crew to detect the movement in time to prevent the collision.

Safety message

This occurrence highlights the importance of flight crew remaining aware of the possibility of aircraft movement whenever the engines are running as aircraft movement, particularly if it is slow, is difficult to detect. Additionally, ground support crew are reminded of the need to leave the parking guidance system in normal mode, unless an emergency stop is required.

Boeing 747 N119UA

Boeing 747 N119UA

Source: Benedikt Mathweis

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.51MB]


Safety analysis


Sources and submissions


General details
Date: 22 April 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1025 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Melbourne Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Taxiing collision/near collision  
Release date: 07 July 2016   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 747  
Aircraft registration N119UA  
Serial number 28812/1207  
Operator United Airlines  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Melbourne, Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018