On January 5, two Silver Airways ATR-72 turboprop aircraft collided at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
Shortly before 8:00 a.m. local time, one Silver Airways ATR-72 with registration N702SV clipped the tail of another ATR-72 (N708SV). Both aircraft, one being towed and the other parked, had no passengers onboard and the damage sustained appears to be relatively minor. Many videos and images circulating online show the two planes narrowly positioned alongside each other on the tarmac, with the wingtip of N702SV brushing against the tail stabilizer of N708SV.
Investigation and Response
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the incident to determine the cause and prevent similar occurrences. While initial reports suggest the collision happened during ground maneuvering, the details remain under investigation. The FAA released this statement: "The incident occurred in an area not under air traffic control. The FAA will investigate."
Silver Airways released a statement acknowledging the incident and confirming that no passengers or crew were onboard either aircraft. The airline also stated that they are cooperating fully with the FAA investigation.
While collisions between aircraft on the ground are relatively rare, they occur occasionally. In July 2022, two Delta Boeing 737s clipped wings at Miami International Airport, prompting an investigation by the FAA.
Another similar incident occurred in October 2023, when an Allegiant Air Airbus A320 came dangerously close to colliding with a parked FedEx Boeing 767 at Nashville International Airport (BNA). The incident reportedly occurred because an Allegiant pilot mistakenly taxied onto the wrong runway, barely avoiding the FedEx aircraft.
Safety Measures in Place
Aviation safety remains a top priority for airlines and regulators. Strict protocols and procedures are in place to minimize the risk of ground collisions, including:
- Clear communication: Clear and concise communication between ground personnel and pilots is crucial for safe maneuvering.
- Proper signage and markings: Airport runways and taxiways are clearly marked to ensure adequate separation between aircraft.
- Ground radar systems: Some airports utilize ground radar systems to track aircraft movements and identify potential conflicts.
- Training and procedures: Ground personnel and pilots receive extensive training on safe ground operations and procedures.
The collision at Fort Lauderdale Airport serves as a reminder of the importance of aviation safety and the need for continuous vigilance. Fortunately, no one was injured in this incident, and the FAA's investigation will undoubtedly help prevent similar occurrences in the future.
While air travel remains statistically the safest mode of transportation, incidents like this highlight the complex operation behind every flight and the dedication of professionals on the ground and in the air to ensure everyone's safety.
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