Skywest RJ, maintenance truck collide on O'Hare runway


#1

Driver of pickup reported as critical, two mechanics aboard RJ minor injuries.

Federal aviation officials said it could take several weeks to determine the cause of a collision early Saturday between a taxiing airplane and a maintenance truck at O’Hare International Airport.

The United Express jet, operated by SkyWest Airlines, was moving on a closed runway from a maintenance hangar to Terminal 2 at 4:49 a.m. when it collided with a pickup truck, said Elizabeth Isham Cory, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman.

No passengers were on the plane being piloted by two maintenance workers, Cory said.

“At this point what we have is contact with a city truck. An incursion has to be investigated and determined,” Cory said. “It’s usually a loss of separation . . . between an aircraft and another aircraft that may be coming to the airport.”

Cory called collisions between aircraft and vehicles “very, very rare.” What is known, she said, is that the aircraft would have the right of way. Investigators also will determine whether runway lighting played a role.

In July, FAA officials unveiled plans to install red traffic lights on O’Hare runways and at 19 other airports to avoid runway collisions. The lights, using an array of radar sensors, were to provide the real-time location of aircraft and vehicles moving on the airfield, officials said. Cory said she was unsure if they had been activated near the crash site.

SkyWest spokeswoman Nicole Drew said investigators reviewed surveillance footage but “could not find who was responsible for the accident” because of impaired visibility.

The truck driver was treated at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge and released, officials said. The two mechanics in the plane were treated for minor injuries at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, police said.

Flight operations were not affected, and the runway was closed for less than two hours, officials said.


#2

Driver of pickup reported as critical, two mechanics aboard RJ minor injuries.

The truck driver was treated at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge and released, officials said. The two mechanics in the plane were treated for minor injuries at Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, police said.

The ignorant media at its finest once again… :unamused:


#3

I was sorta hoping that, deep down inside…


#4

why were they taxiing the thing under power anyway and not towing it?


#5

#6

The gates to the maint. hangar is quite a distance and logistically it is easier more cost effective to taxi than to tow.


#7

It’s a ton less expensive to tow though.


#8

Hmmmmm… which is true?


#9

Not if you factor in the additional manpower costs. Most company SOPs would require at least two spotters for a tow of that duration.


#10

I know it doesn’t really say in the news article, but could be possible that MX could’ve had to do engine tests before delivering it to the gate as well. They may have serviced the aircraft at the hanger, and then performed a ground ops check, and then if checked out, taxiied it straight to the gate.
I don’t know this to be true, but could be another theory as to why they taxied.
Listening to ORD ground, you do hear a fair amount of aircraft in tow going to the hangars from the gate so they do tow from time to time,
or as JHEM said, at 4 AM they may not have had enough “wingwalkers”.
At any rate, if they were taxiing, they should’ve/would’ve been trained and signed off to taxi, meaning they were/should’ve been trained in both the ops of the a/c and the communication w/ ground control, and the knowledge of the airport layout/taxiway config…so either way I don’t think them taxiing it or towing makes much of a difference in the possible cause.


#11

Question: Why are they on the grass?


#12

soft field with 50 ft obstacle?


#13

Eh? :confused:


#14

maybe they were practicing their soft field takeoffs. :unamused:

could’ve been either trying to get out of the truck’s way at the last minute or got pushed out there by the truck?


#15

That’s where they wound up after evasive maneuvers to avoid the truck?

That’s where they wound up after relinquishing control of the aircraft upon collision?

??


#16

As if that damn airport doesn’t have enough problems already. It would be funnier if their were passengers on board and their flight that was already delayed was delayed even more.


#17

[quote=“jgona”]

Well no pax aboard, but if they were taxiing to the gate, I’d bet it was an early departure, and (despite most pax thinking) there are usually never other aircraft to just swap into (without taking from another flight etc) so, I’d imagine the end result is probably about the same, and the next flight to that destination probably had a fair amount of pax, so they probably couldn’t accomodate all of them so , you probably weren’t too far off there.


#18

No it’s isn’t. At airports like ORD, and DFW the distances from terminals to hangars are far and do or can cross multiple runways. Tugs and tow equipment are very expensive…much more than the jet fuel it takes to taxi. Further, it takes two mechanics to taxi. To tow it takes the mechs. plus a tow driver which also has to be trained to a higher standard for taxiway/runway tow ops. Then there’s the issue of incursions during tow ops. The margin for error increases when instructions from a controller are given to the mechs in the cockpit and then passed on to the tow driver. You add the mixing of other aircraft not under tow, weather, darkness and the margin increases even further. Bottom line, the monetary cost and potential costs in risk are far greater than taxi fuel costs.


#19

I can’t see that. I am not saying a disagree with you, but it seems wierd to think that towing is more expensive than taxing it over to the hangers.


#20

Well to put it into a little more perspective, equipment like this: http://www.tugtech.com/Product%20Brochures/GT35.pdf costs several hundred thousand dollars…and the proper towbars cost tens of thousands… Then there is also equipment maintenance costs involved. And as I mentioned, the operation itself is much more than meets the eye. Taxiing at places like ORD and DFW, is more cost effective and lower risk.