On 2 February 2006, a Boeing 747-400 was taxiing for a departure at Melbourne Airport. At the same time, a Boeing 767-300 was stationary on taxiway Echo and waiting in line to depart from runway 16. The left wing tip of the Boeing 747 collided with the right horizontal stabiliser of the Boeing 767 as the first aircraft passed behind. Both aircraft were on scheduled passenger services from Melbourne to Sydney. No one was injured during the incident.
The investigation report on the accident prepared by ATSB, states clarifies that the flight crew of the taxiing aircraft stated that they could see the tail section of the Boeing 767 as they moved along taxiway Alpha. As they approached the intersection between taxiways Alpha and Echo, the pilot-in-command turned the aircraft right in order to avoid the stationary aircraft. Although the right-turn manoeuvre was initiated, the proper separation could not be guaranteed:
“The 747 sustained substantial damage to the leading edge of the left wing tip. The left wing tip fairing sustained chord-wise damage except for a small section near the trailing edge of the wing. The left navigation and strobe light coverings were destroyed. The left winglet remained undamaged
The 767 sustained significant damage to the right horizontal stabiliser. A substantial section outboard of the elevator was destroyed.”
The weather was reported as clear and was not considered to be a factor that contributed to the occurrence.
Melbourne Airport: Intersections of Taxiways Alpha, Echo and Foxtrot (Source: ATSB Report 200600524)
The following conclusion was among the ones, included in the analysis section of the report:
“The decision by the pilot in command of the 747 to deviate off the centreline of taxiway Alpha and taxi behind the 767 did not comply with the taxi clearance issued by the SMC (Surface Movement Control). It was based on his assessment that it was safe to do so. The pilot in command of the 747 misjudged the distance between the wingtip of the 747 and the right horizontal stabiliser of the 767, which resulted in the collision.”
No Safety Recommendations are presented in the report.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau - Aviation Occurrence Report 200600524