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On Sunday, July 25, 1993, at 0948 eastern daylight time, while taxiing for takeoff, a Boeing 747-368, HZ-AIS, operating as Saudian Arabian Airlines flight SVA 039, and an Aerospatiale ATR-42-300, N242AT, operating as Flagship Airlines (dba American Eagle) flight 4944, collided on the ground, at John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport, Jamaica, New York. The collision involved the left wing of the B747 and vertical stabilizer and rudder of the ATR-42. The B747 received minor damage and the ATR-42 received substantial damage. There were no injuries to the occupants. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Both flights had filed instrument flight rules flight plans. Flight 039 was operating under 14 CFR Part 129, and flight 4944 was operating under 14 CFR Part 121.
Flight 039 was the continuation of a flight from Saudi Arabia. At JFK there was a flightcrew change and the flight was scheduled to continue on to Dulles Airport, Washington, DC. Flight 039 was parked at Delta Airlines terminal 1A. The on coming flight crew had been on 48 hours of rest.
Flight 4944 was an originating flight for the flightcrew. The destination was National Airport, Washington, DC. The airplane was parked in the commuter area for American Eagle. This was the first flight after 4 days of rest for the crew.
Both flight were instructed to taxi to runway 4L. Upon crossing runway 31L, both flightcrews contacted the control tower. As flight 4944 neared taxiway KILO BRAVO on taxiway KILO, they were asked if they would accept an intersection departure, and they replied they would. Flight 4944 pulled onto taxiway KILO BRAVO to await their departure sequence.
As flight 039 neared taxiway KILO BRAVO, on taxiway KILO, the pilot deviated to the right, however, the left wing made contact with the vertical stabilizer of N242AT (Flight 4944).
In a written statement, made after the accident, the captain of flight 039 stated:
...As I was approaching [taxiway] KB and to give myself more clearance I taxied off centerline to the right thinking I would be clear of the American Eagle. Meanwhile I heard over the VHF Frequency (AE)[American Eagle] calling and advising position at KB[KILO BRAVO] and been hit. I stopped the aircraft immediately....
In a written statement, the Purser (senior flight attendant) on flight 039, who was seated at the L1 position in the cabin stated:
...During our taxiing, I observed a small commuter aircraft...As we passed behind this aircraft, I felt a small jolt but I was unable to see anything. I got the impression initially, that we may have clipped the American Eagle Aircraft, as I thought I had seen the AA [American Eagle] A/C moving as we passed it. The Captain was in the middle of a welcoming P.A. to the pax[passengers]. But he broke off mid-way....
The interrupted public address from the captain was also mentioned in two other written statements from flight attendants.
When interviewed after the accident, the captain of flight 039 stated he thought we would clear the airplane while on the taxiway centerline. He said he moved to the right for more clearance.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight at 40 degrees, 37.57 minutes north and 73 degrees, 47.07 minutes north.
HZ-AIS The airplane, a Boeing 747-368, has a wing span of 195 feet, 8 inches. According to Boeing, the wing landing gear is 41 feet, 4 inches wide, measured from the outside tires. The left wing tip is 126.8 feet rearward, and 95.35 feet outboard of the left pilot seat. Sitting in the left seat of HZ-AIS, this investigator found it was possible to see the wing tip, only if the seat belt was loosened, and he rotated in the seat to the left.
N242AT The airplane, an Aerospatiale ATR-42-300, has an overall length of 74 feet, 5 inches. The nose wheel is located 5 feet aft of the nose of the airplane.
John F. Kennedy Airport is managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It is a FAR 139 airport and receives federal funding. No restrictions were found for the use of intersection takeoffs at taxiway KILO BRAVO, when using runway 4L for departures, or for taxiing other airplanes behind an airplane holding on a stub taxiway.
Measurements of the runway and taxiway at taxiway, KILO (K), KILO BRAVO (KB), and runway 4 LEFT (4L) produced the following measurements:
Centerline of runway 4L to runway hold short line 283 feet, 2 inches; Runway hold short line to centerline of taxiway K, 167 feet, 7 inches; Width of taxiway K, at taxiway KB, 72 feet, 2 inches; Centerline of taxiway K to edge line on left 37 feet, 11 inches Centerline of taxiway K to edge line of right 34 feet, 3 inches
According to Mr. William DeGraaff, FAA Eastern Region, Airports Division, Safety and Standards Branch, the runway and taxiway markings at JFK met FAA requirements. The 280 foot distance, centerline of runway to runway hold short line had been in use since November 1980.
HZ-AIS The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and digital flight data recorder (DFDR) were forwarded to the NTSB Laboratory in Washington, DC, for review. The recording medium on both recorders was of useable quality.
According to the cockpit voice recorder report, the recorder had been bulk erased. At the end were 14 seconds of conversation which was transcribed.
The information in the flight data recorder was not inconsistent with interviews, and was not included in this report.
N242AT The airplane was stationary at the time of the accident. The flight data recorder was not retained. The cockpit voice recorder was retained and listened to. The recording was of useable quality; however, it was not inconsistent with interviews and a transcript was not made.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplanes were examined at the accident site on July 25, 1993.
HZ-AIS The airplane was on taxiway K, with the main landing gear approximately 250 feet beyond the centerline of taxiway KB. All wheels except the left wing landing gear were found to be on the west (right) side of taxiway K. The airplane was angled with the nose pointed approximately 10 degrees left of the centerline of taxiway K.
The wing flaps were extended to 20 degrees and the leading edge devices were extended. All damage was limited to the outboard section of the left wing. The number one leading edge device was off the airplane and the number two leading edge device was crushed back into the leading edge of the wing. There were two small punctures of the leading edge skin in the vicinity of the leading edge devices. The plastic navigation light cover on the left wing was broken.
When a photograph of the left wing was reviewed by Boeing, they placed the initial contact point at 108 inches (9 feet) from the wing tip.
N242AT The airplane on located on taxiway KB. The wing flaps were in the takeoff position. The nose of the airplane was rotated 50 degrees nose left. An arcing skid mark was found which originated on the centerline of taxiway KB, and terminated with the nosewheel of the airplane. The center of the skid originated 30 feet 3 inches from the runway hold short line. There was a small gouge mark in the asphalt that corresponded with the position of the outboard wheel of the right main landing gear. In addition, a mark was found on the wheel rim, and small pieces of asphalt were imbedded in the wheel rim. The left main gear had left an intermittent skid mark approximately 10 feet long, in the shape of a curving arc.
The number one leading edge device from HZ-AIS was found lodged in the vertical stabilizer of the ATR-42, just forward of the rudder (approximately 7 feet from the rear of airplane). In addition, horizontal scrape marks were visible between the point where the number one leading edge device was lodged in the vertical stabilizer and the end of the rudder.
Additional statements were submitted by the flightcrew of HZ-AIS after they returned to Saudi Arabia. In these statements, the captain stated he was making a cabin public address at the time of the accident.
According to the Saudi Arabian Airlines, Flight Operations (Part 121/91) Policy Manual, Item 9:
If, at any time, there is any doubt in the pilot's mind as to proper clearance, the aircraft should be stopped until he is assured that there is sufficient room.
Both airplanes were verbally released to their operators on July 25, 1993.