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Last updated: 25 February 2020
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 23 January 1996
Time:18:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic MD11 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas MD-11
Operator:VASP - Viação Aérea São Paulo
Registration: PP-SPE
C/n / msn: 48412/454
First flight: 1990
Total airframe hrs:21341
Engines: 3 General Electric CF6-80C2D1F
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 12
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 197
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 209
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Miami International Airport, FL (MIA) (   United States of America)
Phase: Taxi (TXI)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, SP (GRU/SBGR), Brazil
Destination airport:Miami International Airport, FL (MIA/KMIA), United States of America
Flightnumber:844
Narrative:
A McDonnell-Douglas MD-11, PP-SPE, operated by VASP as flight 844, collided during taxi from landing at Miami International Airport with a Boeing 747-243B, registration I-DEML, operated by Alitalia as flight 631. VASP 844 was arriving at Miami from Sao Paulo, Brazil. AZ631 was taxiing for departure to Rome, Italy. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. Both airplanes sustained substantial damage. There were no injuries.
The ground controller (GC) had coordinated with the local controller (LC) and had cleared the Boeing 747 across runway 12 on taxiway V. The MD-11 had landed on runway 09R and was in contact with the LC while holding short of runway 12 at taxiways V and S. The flightcrew of the B-747 reported to the GC that the MD-11 was in the way on the opposite side of the runway. The GC did not acknowledge this and again cleared the B-747 across the runway. The B-747 crossed the runway and stopped short of the MD-11. The tail of B-747 was still over the edge of runway 12. The LC asked the MD-11 if they could make a right turn onto taxiway S. The flightcrew of the MD-11 acknowledged this as a clearance and began a right turn. The captain of the B-747 saw the MD-11 begin to move and transmitted on the ground control frequency for the pilot to stop. The MD-11 was on the local control frequency. The captain of the MD-11 pulled the aircraft to the far right side of the taxiway and the right main landing gear collided with 2 taxiway lights. The left wingtip of the MD-11 struck the nose of the B-747. As this occurred the GC asked the B-747 to pull up because the tail was obstructing runway 12 and there was traffic landing. As the B-747 pulled forward, the left wingtip of the MD-11 collided with the left wing of the B-747. The landing traffic had included a 'heavy' aircraft which had landed while the B-747 was not completely clear of the runway (all parts of the airplane had not crossed the holding line).

Probable Cause:

The local and ground controllers' failure to adequately coordinate the movement of the two airplanes, the tower cab supervisor's failure to provide adequate supervision to the controllers, the MD-11 flightcrew's misinterpretation of the local controller's question about whether they could make a right turn onto another taxiway as a clearance, and the MD-11 flightcrew's failure to ensure that their aircraft could clear the B-747.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years
Accident number: MIA96FA068A
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Ground collision
Damaged on the ground

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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 São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, SP to Miami International Airport, FL as the crow flies is 6551 km (4094 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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