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Final Report

Summary

On 7 December 2016, a Boeing 737-8FE aircraft, registered VH-YFT (YFT) was parked on bay 3 at Hobart Airport, Tasmania, as the crew prepared to conduct a Virgin Australia flight to Sydney, New South Wales. Another Virgin Australia Boeing 737-8FE aircraft, registered VH-VUP (VUP), was parked on bay 2, adjacent to YFT. The bays required power-in and power-out taxiing, as there were no tug facilities available at Hobart Airport.

At about 1012 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, the first officer of YFT requested a clearance to taxi and was advised of an Airbus A320 aircraft on their left taxiing out (to the south) and to follow that aircraft. The captain commenced turning the aircraft to the right, out of the bay, with the nose wheels just inside the marked lead-out line. During the turn, another A320 aircraft was taxiing in towards the parking bays from the north and the captain became uncertain as to which A320 to follow, and stopped the aircraft to clarify their taxi clearance. After stopping, the captain removed their hand from the tiller, which caused the nose wheels of YFT to centre.

After confirming the clearance, the captain recommenced taxiing. The dispatcher and ramp supervisor, both marshalling the aircraft, stood with their arms out and thumbs up to indicate YFT was clear of obstacles, particularly the wingtip of the parked aircraft (VUP). However, YFT then tracked towards the tail of VUP as it turned, and subsequently the left wingtip collided with the horizontal stabiliser of VUP. Both aircraft sustained substantial damage and no one was injured.

This incident highlights the importance of aircraft operators conducting a thorough risk assessment where ground movement is confined, particularly movements involving congested power-out bays.

Part of Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 60

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