With all the precautions and procedures in place on the airfield, aircraft accidents are fortunately not that common. Mistakes do occur, though, as was demonstrated when an American Airlines 737-800 hit a pole at Dallas Fort Worth airport on Friday 28th May. Luckily there were no injuries, but the wing (and the pole) were badly damaged.
Error while taxiing
The accident happened at Dallas Fort Worth airport as American Airlines Flight 1005 to Nassau was taxing away from the gate. As the 737-800 was turning left to head to the taxiway, the left-wing struck a lamp post. The far end of the wing was damaged, and the pole collapsed completely. CCTV captured the taxi and the accident, and it has been shared online.
It appears likely to be pilot error in misjudging the turn, possibly with the crew turning too early or sharply, or applying power as they turned. Obviously, a full investigation has begun to determine what other factors may have contributed.
No estaria la línea amarilla ? pic.twitter.com/sDzLejpgFO
— Fernando Negro (@Fegane75) May 31, 2021
The airline confirmed that no passengers were injured in the accident. The aircraft returned to the gate, and passengers were transferred to an Airbus A321 still operating the same flight number, AA1005, to Nassau.
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— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) May 31, 2021
Damage to the 737
The pole can hopefully be repaired quickly. But this is not necessarily the same for the aircraft. From photographs shared on Twitter, it appears that the left-wing leading edge was badly damaged. The wing remains intact, though, and it doesn’t seem like there was any engine damage or damage to the fuel tanks (this could obviously have been a much worse accident).
Nos registros, os danos causados pela colisão.
A aeronave retornou à operação comercial no fim da noite.
Fotos compartilhadas em grupos de aviação. pic.twitter.com/7lC8SQy7O2
— AERO Magazine (@Aero_Magazine) May 31, 2021
The aircraft involved is a Boeing 737-800, with registration N834NN. It joined American Airlines new in April 2010.
The 737-800 is American Airlines’ most operated aircraft type. It has 303 currently in the fleet (based on data from ch-aviation.com). Overall though, the Airbus narrowbody fleet is larger – with 251 A321, 48 A320, and 133 A319 aircraft (and, of course, the new A321XLR on the way).
Repairing the aircraft
As of Tuesday, June 1st, the aircraft remains at DFW airport. Clearly, it cannot be flown with this damage, so at least some of the repairs will take place at the airport. DFW is, of course, a major base for American Airlines (its largest of several hubs) and the location of its corporate headquarters.
Its main maintenance and repair facility is in Tulsa, but it also operates maintenance facilities at most of its hubs, including DFW. The facility there regularly handles the 777, 787, A320 family, and the 737 family. Simple Flying took an exclusive look inside the DFW facility early in 2021.
Had an accident like this occurred at a distant airport, repairs would obviously be a lot more complicated and time-consuming. Hopefully, American will be able to get this aircraft repaired locally and back into service soon.
Airfield accidents do happen, and they are always fully investigated. We will have to wait and see what the outcome of this is. Feel free to discuss this or similar accidents and anything you think may have contributed in the comments.