While taxiing, the crew of flight DAL97 identified a possible conflict with flight AFR498 at a standstill on a perpendicular taxiway. After stopping before the junction and considering that they had enough of a margin, the crew started taxiing again. The left wingtip of the Delta Air Lines aeroplane then came into contact with the tail of the Air France aeroplane.
This collision was the result of an error in judging the distances, in context which did not allow for precise assessments.
Only the intervention on the frequency of an agent towing another aeroplane to advise of the damage finally allowed the air traffic controller to identify the actors of the collision and to thus prevent flight AFR498 from taking off.
When at least one of the crews involved in a collision between two aircraft is aware of the accident, its immediate declaration to the air traffic control service will ensure that the latter is aware of the complete situation, can rapidly identify the actors of the collision and prevent an additional accident.
What’s more, this event is a reminder that precisely following the centre line of a taxiway does not protect an aircraft from colliding with other moving vehicles on taxiways which are not parallel to it.
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