Shannon plane incident probe concluded

Shannon plane incident probe concluded

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An investigation has found that an aircraft carrying hazardous material that struck a hangar at Shannon Airport last year was parked in an area not big enough for the plane.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of the Department of Transport has concluded it’s investigation in the incident which occurred on February 26th 2014.

An ATR-72 turbo-prop cargo plane, operating a regular nightly cargo service out of Shannon to Cork and Paris, was manoeuvring from it’s parking position when it clipped the corner of a hangar. The plan struck the external cladding of the building but not the main steel structure.

Photo: AAIU Report
The plane’s wingtip impacted the hangar cladding – Photo: AAIU Report

The aircraft had repositioned from Cork earlier in the day to conduct a scheduled operation later to Paris. The flight filed with Air Traffic Control (ATC) indicated that the aircraft would be an ATR-42-300.

A new flight plan was not filed to reflect a change of aircraft to a larger ATR-72 so air traffic control was unaware of the variant change and cleared the plane to proceed to the area adjacent to the East Apron hangar, where the ATR-42 would normally park.

While the flight captain had used the airport on previous occasions, but did not operate there routinely, he was unaware that ATR-72’s were prohibited from using the parking stand while he was also unaware of the limited wing-tip clearance afforded in that location.

At around 7.42pm, while preparing to taxi for departure, the captain commenced a gentle right turn to manoeuvre the aircraft along the lead-out centreline. Shortly after moving, the crew felt a jolt to the aircraft however the captain thought that they had hit a wheel chock.

On opening the front cargo door, it became apparent to the captain that the left wingtip of his aircraft had struck the corner of the hangar.

There were two crew members on board however no injuries occurred while damage to the aircraft and hangar was described as ‘minor’.

The plane was carrying a small amount of ‘dangerous goods’ but the investigation concluded that these posed no hazard as a result of the impact.

The investigation concluded that the probable cause of the collision was due to “insufficient wing-tip clearance for safe manoeuvring in an area that was unsuitable for that aircraft type.”

The report also stated: “The prevailing weather and ambient lighting conditions at the time may have contributed to the difficulties experienced by the Flight Crew and Ground personnel.”

The report does not sustain an safety recommendations.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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