Boeing 777 Rolls Back, Loses Door

I spotted these photographs on the Star Telegram’s Sky Talk blog along with a few posts detailing how a Boeing 777 lost a door at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The flight from Sao Paulo used the autopark system at Dallas/Fort Worth, which means that ground workers are not involved and thus it isn’t simply a case that chocks were not used. At the moment, it is still unclear what caused the accident. Gate D33 has a slight incline and the plane apparently rolled back 100 metres (over 300 feet) while the passengers were disembarking. The movement physically ripped the door off of the plane. Amazingly, no one was hurt.

Andrea Ahles spoke to American Airlines and received the following statement:

Flight 962 parked at the gate one (1) minute early Tuesday using our docking guidance system. Therefore, it was not appreciably early. Using the docking guidance system is completely normal at the airports where it is installed – DFW being one of them. We have them at all of our gates at DFW. Installing them was an American initiative, and they’re installed at other airports we serve, such as Miami, as well. Whether the plane had been docked with the guidance system or by our ramp personnel, the use of parking brakes or wheel chocks are part of procedures that occur after the plane has stopped at the gate. Again, American has yet to determine the cause of the incident, and nobody should speculate publicly about the cause until all the facts are gathered and interpreted.

No speculation? What fun is that?

In a further statement to the press, a spokesperson for American Airlines stated that it was unclear whether the crew had failed to set the brakes properly or if there was a physical failure.

Meanwhile, there are a few comments from people supposedly in the know.

An anonymous poster on the Dallas AIRLINE BIZ Blog stated that it was a pressure failure:

When the Captain attempted to set the brakes, the system lost all pressure and the aircraft began rolling backwards. He twisted the tiller that controls the nosewheel steering and eventually slowed and stopped the aircraft. A valve in the hydraulic braking system had failed and has since been replaced – along with the door.

Meanwhile, on the PPRuNe thread, Plane to jetway: Can I have my door back? it was stated that the parking brake valve malfunctioned which fits in with the description of losing pressure.

This further image was posted on Bizzarre AA 777 incident at gate — door ripped off plane – FlyerTalk Forums with the classic comment, “I did this to my car’s side-view mirror once, backing out of the driveway.”

I know, I shouldn’t laugh.

I couldn’t find anything on the American Airline site although they’ve clearly released a statement that’s being quoted all over the local news. Still the reporters seem to be focusing on the lack of chocks although the statement is very clear that the lack of chocks was not seen as a contributing factor. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if the NTSB end up offering a recommendation to use chocks as a back-up measure on any gates with an incline.

Category: Miscellaneous,

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