Sensing A Pattern: United Airlines Planes Clip Wings At Dulles International Airport

Pilots need to pay attention when they’re taxiing around the airport. Just a week after two US Airways planes clipped wings at Reagan Airport, two United Airlines planes decided to snuggle up at Dulles International Airport.

Two United Airlines planes were being inspected Sunday night after their wings touched at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. Officials say there are no reports of injuries.

Rob Yingling, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, says a Boeing 737 and a smaller Embraer aircraft were preparing for departure Sunday evening when their wings touched. They were on the taxiway

United Airlines Clip Wins At Dulles [MSNBC] (Thanks, Andrew!)


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  1. statnut says:

    “were preparing for departure Sunday evening when their wings touched”

    It was a magical experience for the two planes, akin to love at first sight. They are expected to tie the knot in a tasteful ceremony in the skies above Bermuda.

  2. UpsetPanda says:

    This makes me nervous. I fly out of Dulles.

  3. MPHinPgh says:

    @statnut: …following the ceremony, they will both nose-dive into the beautiful blue waters (taking the lives of all on-board).

  4. rolla says:

    just a matter of time before a major accident on the runway is going to happen

  5. FLConsumer says:

    As long as we’re playing bumper planes on the ground and not in the air, I’m game.

  6. SkokieGuy says:

    Reagan Airport is aware of this situation and want Consumerist readers to know we take airport safety seriously.

    Additional fees to customers for these ‘connecting’ flights were waived.

  7. jamesdenver says:

    quote: “Pilots need to pay attention.”

    That simply huh?

  8. JerseyJarhead says:

    Collisions and near collisions on the ground, and incursions, collisions between one aircraft on the ground and another either taking off or landing, are happening daily at major US airports, especially those in the northeast corridor.

    The airlines, and especially the FAA, are NOT taking this seriously. FAA and DoT are, well, incompetent.

    If you need a reminder about what can happen, think back to the collision between two 747s on Tenerife Island in 1977…killed almost 600 people. It can happen here. It’s just a matter of time.

  9. theblackdog says:

    That’s what happens when Larry Craig is on one plane and Tom Cruise is on the other.

  10. rustyni says:

    @theblackdog: *chokegiggle*

  11. NcSchu says:

    @UpsetPanda: Don’t worry, it’ll happen at any airport.

  12. MrMold says:

    It’s Washington National. The only Reagan airport is the one next to Mommy’s house so the Pharmacia can deliver “diet pills”.

  13. Chese says:

    This kind of thing happens all the time. This is not even close to the same issue as the Tenerife disaster, its more of a fender bender than anything else. Every plane you have flown on has probably been hit by ground equipment at some time in its life.

  14. @UpsetPanda: Fly out of Reagan. And don’t fly United.

    I know exactly what happened here. United was afraid that USAir would take their TITLE for MOST INCOMPETENT AIRLINE, and decided, if they clip wings, we must clip wings. No one will beat United as the Worst Real Airline flying (as opposed to AirTran and that lot). they will not be outdone for shoddiness. In fact, since American apparently killed a passenger with lousy service, United is liable to poison an entire flight, just to keep the lead.

    United is the worst. Don’t ever get confused.

  15. ywgflyer says:

    This just sounds like a few wing walkers who weren’t paying attention. Ground crew’s fault.

  16. hwyengr says:

    What’s this Reagan airport everyone’s talking about? Washington National forever!

  17. Mykro says:

    I’ll probably see this Wednesday when I return to work.
    I work for Republic Airways (Who operate the United 170 Embraer a/c) and we have a station in Dulles. We’re the biggest 170 station in the company, so… If theres anything wrong with it, I’ll see it. The paint company used to paint our a/c is about 10 minutes from my house.

  18. fergthecat says:

    I wonder if anyone reported back injuries this time.

  19. Propaniac says:

    I’d be most worried if I flew out of BWI. It’s their turn.

  20. badgeman46 says:

    I am both a pilot and air traffic controller, so I see both sides of this, and neither is especially heartwarming. One of the “challenges” in aviation is the fact that pilots are becoming more inexperienced. Most airlines have dropped their minimum hours qualifications like a brick, in response to a shortage of pilots. To put this in perspective, Delta used to have minimums of around 4,000 hours of flying time. Now its down to around 1,500. And thats a MAJOR airline. The regionals hire now with about 500 hours, in some cases only 250 hours. I am not saying that they are all bad pilots but here is food for thought. the general rule in aviation is that the first 300 hours are when you are “green” and you probably will scare yourself a couple times. Most insurance companies wont let you buy a plane unless you have close to 500 hours. Yet there are definitely 250-700 hour pilots in small airliners. On my side, air traffic control, we have a simlar problem, but it is compounded with the fact that an enormous majority of the workforce was hired around the same time after Reagan fired all of the controllers. This leaves us with everyone retiring and not many people to take over. Those who have come into the agency for the most part are inexperienced, and there is simply not enough time to train everyone before someone retires. The FAA is so desperate for new controllers, that they are hiring people off the street, something they really havent done in a long time. Inexperience combined with record traffic is not a very good combination. Ideally there should be an independent oversight comittee created tomake sure the Airlines are safe and the FAA is safe.

  21. theblackdog says:

    @Propaniac: I fly out of BWI next month…thank god it’s on Southwest and not either of these two POS airlines.