On April 20, 1997, at 1615 central daylight time, a Boeing 747-300 airplane, Dutch registration PHBUL, collided with another airplane while taxiing for takeoff at the Houston Intercontinental Airport, near Houston, Texas. The airplane was being operated by the Royal Dutch Airlines as KLM Flight 662 under Tittle 14 CFR Part 129, at the time of the incident. None of the 284 passengers, 10 flight attendants, or the 5 flight crewmembers were injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the scheduled international flight for which an IFR flight plan was filed. KLM Flight 662 was originating at the time of the incident, with Amsterdam, The Netherlands, at its intended destination.

According to Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel at the airport, an Air France Boeing 767 was number one in sequence for takeoff at the runup area for runway 14L. The Air France flight reported to ATC that they were not ready for takeoff; however, they did not state the reason for their delay. ATC asked KLM flight 662, which was number two for departure, if they were able to taxi around the Air France Boeing 767 which was standing on the right side of the KLM Boeing 747. The KLM crew answered that they were able to taxi around and they were subsequently cleared by ATC to taxi into position and hold for departure on 14L.

The first officer of the KLM 747 stated that the flight crew was aware of the close clearance between the two wing tips and they "taxied slowly and cautiously" slightly to the left of the yellow taxi line. The first officer stated that he remarked "we were clear" as he watched out his window on the right side of the cockpit. A couple seconds after the "all clear" the crew reported that a "slight bump" was felt which they attributed to a bump on the taxiway.

While taxiing around the standing Air France Boeing 767, the extended right outboard leading edge flap from the KLM 747 impacted the left wing tip of the Air France 767, resulting in minor damage to both airplanes. The flight crew of the Air France's 767 reported the collision to ATC by radio.

Airport operations personnel reported that no fuel was spilled from either aircraft and both airplanes taxied back to their respective gates in the international ramp where all passengers were deplaned without further incident. Air France's maintenance personnel replaced the left wing navigation light assembly from the Boeing 767 and the airplane was released, departing Houston approximately 3 hours after the their scheduled departure time.

Damage to the KLM Boeing 747 was limited to the leading edge of the outboard leading edge flap and the flap actuator. According to the FAA inspector at the site, the wing tip is visible from the first officer's station in the cockpit of the 747. Additionally, the FAA inspector reported that the side window was crazed.

The scheduled departure time for KLM Flight 662 was 1540. The visibility at the time of the incident was reported in excess of 10 nautical miles without restrictions.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page