Accident description
Last updated: 24 April 2014
Status:Final
Date:Friday 12 February 1999
Time:15:40 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A320-211
Operator:Air France
Registration: F-GJVG
C/n / msn: 0270
First flight: 1991
Total airframe hrs:14425
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-5A1
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 163
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 169
Airplane damage: Minor
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:Grenouillet (   France)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO), France
Destination airport:Montpellier-Frejorgues Airport (MPL/LFMT), France
Flightnumber: 550
Narrative:
At 15:36 the Airbus 320 contacted Montpellier approach and reported descending through FL140. The crew were told to continue to VOR Fréjorgues and descend to FL080. FL080 was reached at 15:39. At the same time a Grob G.103 glider plane (F-CGXB) was flying nearby at the same altitude. Both were on a collision course and the A.320 captain took avoiding action by banking to the right. The left wing of the Airbus collided with the Grob's horizontal stabilizer. Both aircraft managed to make a safe landing.

CAUSES PROBABLES: "L'abordage résulte de l'inadéquation du concept "voir et éviter", seul applicable dans cette partie de l'espace, compte tenu des caractéristiques actuelles de l'aviation. Plus spécifiquement, l'abordage s'est produit parce que :
- les occupants du G 103 n'ont pas vu l'A 320 sur leur travers gauche,
- l'équipage de l'A 320 a discerné trop tardivement le G 103 pour pouvoir, compte tenu de la vitesse de rapprochement des deux aéronefs et du temps
de détection et de réaction, en dépit de sa vigilance, réussir sa manoeuvre d'évitement."

Sources:

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA) - France
report status: Final
report number: Report f-vg990212
download report: Report f-vg990212
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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Paris-Orly Airport to Montpellier-Frejorgues Airport as the crow flies is 581 km (363 miles).

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