Video: Cirrus Taxis Underneath Allegiant Airbus A320 Wing

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An Allegiant Air Airbus A320 was involved in a hair raising near-miss at an Orlando airport, when a tiny Cirrus aircraft taxied right by it, underneath its wing! The pilots reached out to the tower for an explanation, but none was forthcoming. It’s likely that a full investigation will be launched in response to this close call.

It was a near miss for an Allegiant A320 when a Cirrus taxied under its wing. Photo: Allegiant Air

What happened?

Shared in a video posted to YouTube over the weekend, it appears there was a dangerous near-miss at Orlando airport involving an Allegiant A320. The Airbus had pushed back from its stand and was just starting its engines and disconnecting from the tug, when a small aircraft suddenly zoomed by underneath its right wing.

Clearly disturbed by the close pass of an unexpected plane, the pilots radioed up to the air traffic controllers (ATC) in the tower. The pilot said,

“I don’t know if you’re aware, we had a Cirrus just taxi by us on the right hand side of the taxiway where we’re sitting here now while our ground crew was disconnecting.”

The small aircraft appeared to be a Cirrus CS model. Photo: Peter Bakema via Wikimedia

The tower, sounding composed and unsurprised responded,

“Allegiant 296, roger, I was just observing that as well. I wasn’t sure there shouldn’t have been anybody on the taxiway there.”

There definitely shouldn’t have been anyone on the taxiway there. It suggests either the tower gave incorrect clearance to the Cirrus or the pilot of the small aircraft made a mistake. Either way, no apology or explanation was offered by the tower.

Safety event report

The pilots pressed for more information, again radioing up to the tower regarding the incident. The pilot explained what happened, saying,

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“Yeah, we were kind of surprised ‘cause we set the parking brake and ground crew was just getting ready to disconnect, while we were starting number two up they were like “hey, we got some guy trying to taxi around behind us underneath our right wing” so…”

However, the tower was unwilling or unable to provide any further information. All the pilots received back was a brief,

“Roger.”

Allegiant A320
The Allegiant A320 had pushed back when the small aircraft sped by. Photo: Alec Wilson via Flickr

Still concerned by the incident and probably a little shaken up, the pilot communicated a final time with ATC. He assured the controller that he was planning to take action, suggesting that an event report would be filed regarding the incident. He said,

“Yeah, I just wanted to say something about it. I don’t know if he was cleared or where he was supposed to be going or what but nonetheless I think we’re probably going to file a safety event report or something about that.”

Cool and calm, the tower still maintained only the briefest of communications with the A320, saying nothing more than,

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“Allegiant 269, roger”

The ATC then proceeded to give clearance and taxi information to the Allegiant aircraft. By all accounts, the A320 proceeded on to its destination at Leigh Valley without additional incident.

You can watch the incident and hear the radio communications in the video below:

Clearly, taxiing underneath the wing of a commercial aircraft is highly dangerous, and should not have been allowed to happen. It’s likely that there will be a full investigation launched at Orlando Airport in order to determine how it did happen, and hopefully to avoid anything like this occurring again.

What do you think about this near-miss? Let us know in the comments.

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