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On November 4, 2009, at approximately 1930 EST, the wing of British Airways flight 265, a Boeing 767-300 registered in the United Kingdom as G-BNWY, struck an out-of-position jetway at Dulles International Airport (IAD), Ashburn, Virginia, while being marshalled into parking spot B38. The flight originated at Heathrow International Airport (LHR), London, England. The airplane sustained minor damage and no passengers, cabin crew, or flight crewmembers were injured. Night conditions existed at the time of the incident.
According to the flight crew, the aircraft was being led into the parking spot at the directions of two wing marshallers and a lead marshaller who was positioned on top of an aircraft tug in front of the airplane and close to the terminal building. The flightcrew stated that during the taxi, the airplane was always on the yellow painted line on the pavement. The captain stated that the parking area appeared clear of vehicles and obstructions. He also stated that the lead marshaller was indicating “all clear” with lighted wands, and as the airplane neared the final parking position, it came to a stop. The first officer characterized the stop as “gentle”, as if the aircraft had met an inclined ramp. The lead marshaller continued to indicate “taxi forward” and some engine thrust was applied by the first officer, but because the airplane did not move, he retarded the throttles. The lead marshaller then indicated a routine “stop”. The parking brakes were set and the engines were shut down. The flight crew then followed normal post-flight procedures. Jetway B38 was placed into position against the airplane normally, and all passengers deplaned without incident. During the deplaning, the flightcrew was notified that the left wing had contacted another jetway.
An examination of the B38/B40 parking area revealed that the B40 gate had not been retracted and parked within its safety zone by airline personnel.
The left side marshaller and the lead marshaller involved in the incident were employed by Evergreen Aviation Ground Logistics Enterprise, Inc. (Evergreen E.A.G.L.E). Two other E.A.G.L.E marshallers (one on the right side of the airplane, and one responsible for chocking the airplane) were also in the B38/40 parking area at the time. Due to the proximity of jetways B38 and B40 to a ramp road or lane utilized by ground support vehicles, Evergreen E.A.G.L.E policy called for wing marshallers to remain near the road as aircraft are parked. This allowed them to stop ground support vehicle traffic until the parking airplane’s engines were shut down. At the time of the incident, they did not “walk the wings” into the parking spots.
Due to the geometry of the B38/B40 parking area, Evergreen E.A.G.L.E procedures called for the lead marshaller to position himself as near as possible to the terminal building and stand on an aircraft tug while parking airplanes. This allowed him to remain in sight of the flight crew during the parking maneuver, however it afforded him limited opportunity to see activity regarding the left sides of airplanes being parked. He was, however, in the line-of-sight of the marshaller on the left.
The lead marshaller stated that he was in place on top of an airplane tug, but that jetway B38 blocked his view of the outer portion of the left wing as the airplane taxied toward him. He stated that he did not see the left side marshaller make any signals to stop the airplane. The left side marshaller, positioned behind the airplane at the ramp road, stated that he saw that the left wing was about to contact jetway B40, and signaled to the lead marshaller to stop the airplane. When he saw that the lead marshaller was not responding, he ran forward, but by that time the wing contact had already occurred.
INJURIES TO PERSONS:
No injuries occurred.
DAMAGE TO AIRCRAFT:
A left wing leading edge slat on the incident airplane sustained minor damage. The padded collapsible portion of the entryway to jetway B40 also received minor damage.
According to the Evergreen E.A.G.L.E records, all the marshallers involved in the incident had received marshaller training.
The captain and first officer of the incident airplane were licensed and trained in accordance with British CAA regulations and British Airways policy.
The aircraft was fully serviceable prior to the incident.
ORGANIZATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT INFORMATION:
Following the incident E.A.G.L.E policy was changed to utilize four marshallers and a lead marshaller. Two now remain near the road to monitor ground vehicular traffic and two would follow the wingtips of airplanes being parked. Also, E.A.G.L.E policy was changed to now place the lead marshaller on a mobile wheeled stepladder, rather than the tug to improve the lead marshaller’s ability to observe other marshallers. And last, E.A.G.L.E now includes a specific step on its aircraft arrival checklist to remind the lead marshaller to visually insure that ground equipment, including the jetway, is properly positioned.