Accident McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 N927VJ, Wednesday 2 September 1998
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Date:Wednesday 2 September 1998
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC93 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31
Owner/operator:US Airways
Registration: N927VJ
MSN: 48154/1046
Year of manufacture:1981
Total airframe hrs:40700 hours
Engine model:P&W JT8D-9A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 86
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Location:Philadelphia International Airport, PA (PHL) -   United States of America
Phase: Taxi
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Ottawa International Airport, ON (YOW/CYOW)
Destination airport:Philadelphia International Airport, PA (PHL/KPHL)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A DC-9-31, N927VJ, operated by US Airways as flight 1722, struck a refueling vehicle at Philadelphia International Airport, Pennsylvania. The airplane received substantial damage. In addition, the fuel truck was damaged. There were no injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the international passenger flight that originated in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, at 16:41.
Flight 1722 was about 1 hour 20 minutes behind schedule. The airplane landed on runway 27R, and exited the runway to the right at a high speed turnoff, K-4. The airplane continued with a right turn and passed through intersection Oscar, headed straight toward the alleyway entrance between concourses A and B. Flight 1722 was cleared to change from tower frequency, to ground control, and then to US Airways ramp control. The flight was scheduled to arrive at gate B-8.
The operator of the refueling truck had recently transferred experienced drivers, including the accident driver, from other airports to increase the work force at Philadelphia. The accident driver first received 2 days of on the job training, which included riding with another driver. He also passed his Philadelphia Airport, vehicle airport operations area test, after which he was released for work. The accident occurred on his third day of work. He reported that he had serviced an airplane on the west side of concourse A. As he approached the alleyway entrance between concourses A and B, he observed a US Airways B737 to his right just outside of the outer service road.
The investigation revealed that the outer service roadway crossed the alleyway entrance between concourses A and B. Printed on the roadway in white letters was, "STOP FOR AIRCRAFT." According to airport operations personnel, a driver would not be expected to stop if no aircraft were present. Vehicle drivers were instructed that airplanes have the right of way.
Additionally, the investigation revealed that the US Airways B737 parked adjacent to concourse A would have obstructed the fuel truck driver's view of the approaching DC-9, and the flight crew's view of the fuel truck, until the fuel truck had passed from behind the airplane. Visibility to the right was further restricted for the fuel truck driver by refueling hoses located to the right of the cab.
At the time of the accident, the fuel truck had driven 150 feet ahead of the STOP FOR AIRCRAFT sign. The front wheels of the fuel truck (empty weight 42,000 pounds) were displaced 2 feet laterally to the left. Skid marks were found from the left main landing gear of the DC-9, which measured 47 feet. The ramp was dry.
US Airways submitted calculation which indicated the airplane was traveling at 14.48 knots when the skid was initiated.
The fuel truck was a 10,000 gallon capacity truck, which was carrying about 5,000 gallons of Jet-A at the time of the accident.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the fuel truck driver to follow airport operating procedures, and yield the right-of-way to the airplane. Factors were the stopped airplane, which obscured the fuel truck from the approaching airplane and the approaching airplane from the fuel truck, and the lack of visual aids on the vehicle to help compensate for restricted driver visibility to the right."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NYC98LA177
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 5 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:


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