Narrative:A Boeing 737-2T5 passenger jet, registered ZS-SGX, sustained substantial damage in an accident at Hoedspruit AFB (HDS), South Africa. There were no fatalities. The airplane operated on a flight from Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) to Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB).
Whilst taxiing to the cleared holding point for takeoff from runway 18, the pilot switched off the landing lights to avoid blinding an approaching aircraft. As a result, he overshot the turning point at taxiway C in the darkness and found himself at the end of taxiway A with insufficient space to turn around. According to him, he decided to maneuvre the aircraft out of the "dead end" by turning into the last taxiway, which led to military hangars, and then reversing the aircraft to carry out a 180° turn. This was to be done without external guidance. Whilst reversing the aircraft, the pilot failed to stop it in time, the main wheels rolled off the edge of the taxiway and the aircraft slipped down a steep embankment, coming to rest with the nose-wheel still on the taxiway.
Probable Cause:PROBABLE CAUSE: "Inappropriate decision by the captain to reverse the aircraft at night without external guidance."
» Nick Elzinga
» Hoedspruit (FAHS) Aerodrome chart
» CAA South Africa
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 Hoedspruit Airport to Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport as the crow flies is 343 km (214 miles).