Ryanair B738 and American B763 at Barcelona on Apr 14th 2011, both aircraft departed despite ground collision and passenger complaints

Okay, where do I start?

The captain wasn’t sure if they had hit the 767, turned out a passenger warned the cabin crew about it, and they passed the message along to the flight deck. They thought they didn’t hit it and decided to continue on to their destination. The American 767 departed with a damaged horizontal stabilizer, which could have ended in disaster. Ryanair took off right behind it, with a damaged winglet.

I still find it weird how much damage the 767 received, when the winglet only has a few scratches?

American Airlines 767-300 (N366AA) damaged elevator. Picture taken in JFK after a safe landing.

Damaged winglet on the Ryanair 737-800 (EI-EKB)

I will not speculate too much. Never the less, this incident will not be the last incident we’ll see. Good thing this ended good for the passengers and crew on both airliners.

And by the way, I’m not trying to trash talk about this particular airline. This has to do with safety in general. I don’t care if it’s Lufthansa, SAS or Ryanair. Safety always has to come first, no matter how cost-cutting your company might be….

Posted on July 30, 2012, in aviation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Cecilie, this is fascinating. My question is how this could happen? Why would this captain not respond to the concerns in the cabin? Amazing. I would have got off the plane had I been in the back. I wish I could contact her and find out what she was thinking. Far too often pilots are pressured to “go.” Not only externally, but internally. There is always two sides…sometimes three or four. Do you have any way to contact this captain? We could do research on human factors.
    Thanks for a great post. Yes… Safety first!!!

    • Yeah I know, “how could this happen?” The report suggests that the captain used “advanced aviation terminology” to the purser, and the purser approached the captain, starting with “I know I’m not supposed to bother you at this time, but…” Pretty hesistant. This should become a lesson for all cabin crews. How to respond to passenger concerns.

      I do not know how to contact her, unfortunately. Would make a pretty good research I’m sure. Hm, perhaps I could use this for my Bachelor thesis maybe?

      Safety comes first! Always! Thank you for the comment!

      • Yes… this would be a great thesis. And, I’m sure she is haunted by this and wants to talk about it. We must find her!

  2. Thor Andreassen

    There is one thing I do not understand. The picture of the damaged stabilizer does not look like the stabilizers I find when looking up AA 767 N366AA on Airliners.net. The “rods” sticking out do not appear visible on any of the pics. The stabilizer looks much cleaner. Is this an optical illusion coming from beeing photographed very close, and are they in fact only a few centimeters large? That would make the damage smaller than one might first think. Any comments, anyone?

    Thor Viking

    • Excellent questions Thor! Those rods sticking out are static wicks. These dischargers limit the amount of static build up on the plane that could interfere with the navigation equipment.

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