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On October 12, 2005, at 2018 mountain standard time, a Boeing 737-7H4, N755SA, collided with the tail of Boeing 737-3H4, N624SW, while taxiing to parking at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona. Both airplanes were owned by Southwest Airlines, Inc., (SWA) and operated as domestic flights under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 121; flight 1097 (N755SA) and flight 2080 (N624SW). Flight 1097 sustained minor damage to its left winglet, and flight 2080 sustained substantial damage to its right horizontal stabilizer. There were no injuries to the 5 flight and cabin crew, and 71 passengers aboard flight 1097. There were also no injuries to the 5 flight and cabin crew, and 56 passengers aboard flight 2080. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and instrument flight rule (IFR) flight plans had been filed for both airplanes. Flight 1097 departed Burbank, California, about 1858 Pacific daylight time, destined for PHX. Flight 2080 was waiting to depart at the time was destined for Reno, Nevada.
According to the captain's written statement, this was the last leg of a scheduled 4-day trip for flight 1097. After landing on runway 26, the PHX Ground Control North (GCN) controller instructed flight 1097 to taxi to spot 5, located between gate C-18 and taxiway intersection D-13, via taxiways "C" and "R." When they arrived at Spot 5, the flight crew of flight 1097 noted a company airplane (flight 2080) holding for takeoff at intersection D-13.
The flight crew of flight 1097 thought they had enough clearance to pass behind flight 2080 and proceed to parking at gate C-18. The captain of flight 1097 taxied slowly until it appeared the airplane had passed flight 2080, and proceeded to intercept the J-line when the flight crew felt the airplane shudder. The captain looked out the left window towards the wing and saw that the top portion of the left winglet was missing. He continued to taxi the airplane the remaining 20 feet to the gate, parked the airplane, and deplaned the passengers.
According to the flight crew of flight 2080, their airplane was stopped at D-13 with its parking brakes set, and were number 2 for takeoff on runway 25R behind a company airplane. The crew felt a noticeable impact and radioed to the tower that they might have been hit, and asked a nearby United Airlines airplane awaiting takeoff clearance to visually inspect their airplane for damage. The United Airlines crew reported that they had observed flight 1097 taxi into flight 2080's right rear horizontal stabilizer, and that the winglet from the other airplane was embedded in their stabilizer. The United Airlines crew also said that there were no fluids leaking from Flight 2080's airplane. The crew of flight 2080 requested and received a clearance from the tower to return to the gate and parked uneventfully.
Flight 1097 sustained damage to the upper half of the left winglet, which remained embedded in the right rear horizontal stabilizer of flight 2080. Flight 2080 sustained structural damage to the rear spar of the right rear horizontal stabilizer and its "T" chords.
The crew of flight 1097 consisted of two pilots. The captain was seated in the left seat, and the first officer was seated in the right seat. The captain possessed an airline transport pilot certificate. He was type-rated in the Boeing 737, and had accumulated 13,390 total flight hours. The first officer possessed an airline transport pilot certificate. He was type-rated in the Boeing 737, and had accumulated 11,000 total flight hours.
The crew of flight 2080 consisted of two pilots. The captain, the flying pilot for the flight to Reno, was seated in the left seat, and the first officer was seated in the right seat. The captain held an airline transport pilot certificate, with a Boeing 737 type-rating. He reported a total flight time 27,300 hours. The first officer held an airline transport pilot certificate, with a Boeing 737 type-rating. He reported a total flight time of 9,000 hours.
Taxiway "R" runs north and south between runways 26 and 25R at PHX. Spot 5 is adjacent to taxiway "R", between D-13 and the east "C" gates. Spot 5 is a holding location area/spot for airplane's awaiting clearance to taxi into the east "C" gate area. Taxiway "R", Spot 5, and D-13 are all in an air traffic control non-visibility area, and as such, the Federal Aviation Administration designates it as non-movement area.
The airplane's Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Digital Cockpit Voice Recorder (DCVR) were removed from the airplane and shipped to the Safety Board Vehicle Recorder laboratory in Washington, D.C., for analysis. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder factual reports are included in the official docket for this accident.