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Last updated: 21 March 2019
Status:Final
Date:Monday 30 April 2018
Time:10:35 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic B738 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-8AS (WL)
Operator:Ryanair
Registration: EI-GDZ
C/n / msn: 44820/6809
First flight: 2018-02-01 (3 months)
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-7B26E
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 170
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 177
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:London-Stansted Airport (STN) (   United Kingdom)
Phase: Pushback / towing (PBT)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Stansted Airport (STN/EGSS), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Athens-Elefthérios Venizélos International Airport (ATH/LGAV), Greece
Narrative:
The aircraft was parked on Stand 43L at Stansted Airport, and because it was unable to make a Calculated Take Off Time (CTOT) of 08:45 hrs a new CTOT of 10:05 hrs was allocated. The crew requested to "push and hold" which was granted by the ground controller who added, "push across to the east line, abeam stand 50R. do not start engines". These instructions were repeated to the groundcrew. During the pushback, ATC informed the crew of a new CTOT, very close to the present time. The crew informed the groundcrew and advised them that they would start engines after the pushback. Approaching the end of the pushback, the flight crew felt the tug stop abruptly. The commander asked the groundcrew if everything was alright and the groundcrew responded that they had pushed the aircraft too close to the blast fence and were going to pull it forward. The Senior Cabin Crew member called the flight deck on the interphone and informed them that she and the cabin crew seated at the rear of the aircraft felt that the tail of the aircraft had struck something. The commander checked with the groundcrew, who thought it hadn’t, but the commander contacted engineering who sent out an engineer. On inspection, damage was found to the trailing edge of the left elevator. The commander called the ground controller and informed them of the collision. The Fire Service attended and, following an inspection, determined that there was no immediate danger to the aircraft or passengers, which was also confirmed by the engineer. The aircraft was towed to Stand 50L and the passengers disembarked using the air stairs.

Probable Cause:

Discussion
The clearance was to carry out a pushback of the aircraft to abeam Stand 50R and the headset operator believed this would be when the pilot’s window was in line with the stand. The pushback continued until the elevator struck the blast fence but the relative positions of the pilot’s window and the stand were not determined at this point.
The poor weather, light and poor clarity of the taxi line as seen by the tug driver meant that all his attention was focussed on his task. This and his restricted viewpoint from the nose of the aircraft prevented him from monitoring the actions of the headset operator and being aware of the proximity of the tail to the blast fence.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 290 days (10 months)
Accident number: EW/G2018/04/18
Download report: Final report

Classification:
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 London-Stansted Airport to Athens-Elefthérios Venizélos International Airport as the crow flies is 2390 km (1494 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

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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