Accident Airbus A320-231 N627AW, Friday 15 October 1999
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Date:Friday 15 October 1999
Time:09:18
Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Airbus A320-231
Owner/operator:America West Airlines
Registration: N627AW
MSN: 066
Year of manufacture:1989
Total airframe hrs:32206 hours
Engine model:IAEV2500-A1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 94
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Category:Accident
Location:Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport, AZ (PHX) -   United States of America
Phase: Taxi
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport, AZ (PHX/KPHX)
Destination airport:Tucson International Airport, AZ (TUS/KTUS)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
America West Flight 2433, an Airbus A320-231, N627AW, collided with a pedestrian walkway during pushback in Phoenix, Arizona. The aircraft sustained substantial damage; however, none of the 89 passengers nor the 5 crewmembers were injured. The airplane was originating as a non-stop flight to Tucson, Arizona.

At each gate, America West has a mark painted on the ramp called the "T." This "T" marking is the target point for each tug driver to place the nose wheel during pushback operations.
The captain reported that he was at gate A-2 when he received a clearance from ramp control that he was to push to the "T" and to advise when ready to taxi. The captain read the clearance to the tug driver over the intercom. The tug driver read back the clearance and began the pushback about 40 seconds later. Approximately 10 feet before reaching the "T," the aircraft's right horizontal stabilizer struck the pedestrian walkway that connects concourse A to concourse N-1. The tug driver then reported to the captain that, "I may have hit something." The captain made an announcement to the cabin about the nature of the problem and then received permission from ground safety supervisors to pull back to gate A-2.

The procedure to push the aircraft to the "T" had been discontinued due to the construction of the new pedestrian walkway between concourses A and N-1 that did not allow sufficient clearance for the pushback. However, on the morning of the accident, it was decided that pushbacks to the "T" at gate A-2 would resume as of that morning.
The aircraft was accompanied by wing walkers and when the aircraft was about 20 to 25 feet from the walkway, the right wing walker signaled the tug driver to stop the push. The tug driver said he was focused on correctly positioning the nose wheel on the "T" and did not see the signal in time to stop the aircraft.

The airline's failure to fully review the obstruction clearances and revise the pushback procedures in an area of the ramp where new construction had impinged on the available ramp space. Also causal was the failure of the tug driver and the wing walkers to maintain adequate communications during the pushback. A factor in the accident was the failure of the airline to follow its own internal decision processes when implementing the procedural change on this ramp.

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: LAX00LA015
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 7 months
Download report: Final report

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