Doofus Of The Day #949

Today’s award goes (a little belatedly) to the driver of an airport tug in Copenhagen, Denmark.

On December 16th last year, he was tasked to tow an X-ray trailer to another part of the airport.  The tractor already connected to the trailer exhibited problems, so he switched to a second tractor – but failed to ensure that the trailer was properly connected.  At 40 kph, he hit a bump, and the trailer disconnected from the tractor.  Here’s a frame from an airport security video taken just after the separation.

The trailer swerved to the right, towards an SAS flight loading its passengers. Inevitably, it rammed the aircraft, causing serious damage.

I guess that plane was no longer able to be pressurized, to put it mildly! I wonder how much it costs (and how difficult it is) to repair a great big hole like that in a pressure hull?

(To add insult to injury, of course, the trailer belonged to airport security. It turns out to have been not very secure . . . )



  1. Which brings to mind another aircraft incident due to the same trailer problem.

    Late 70's, I saw a BD-5J in the San Jose shop that first got the prop versions airborne. These little planes could be transported home on a small trailer (wings unbolt). The owner was not planning on flying it for a while (I think he had just bought it), so he had only partial insurance coverage on it. Traveling on a freeway, it popped off the ball when encountering a bump, and tumbled down an embankment. Everything got bent. Not much beyond the turbojet engine was salvageable.

    The prop jobs were around $25-30k. The jets? $100,000.

    All trailers have safety chains or cables as backup, for problems like this. They are seldom used.

    IIRC, this jet was originally built by the author Richard Bach. (Might have been the first jet version built)

  2. In the states I have lived in during the last 20 years (TN, OH, and NC), if you didn't use the chains you'd get a ticket if the cops saw it. Anyone with half a brain uses the chains and also pins the hitch lock so it won't come loose from a properly sized ball.

  3. The airplane will still pressurize, the pressure bulkhead is well forward of the engines on a Canadair Challenger and CRJ. The plane won't fly again without major structural repairs, however. There will be at least eight stringers broken and the tail cone is full of components, on the right side is the #2 Hydraulic System Manifold and electric pump, the bleed air ducting from the #2 engine and the right hand control cables for the rudder and elevator.
    I would guess that it will cost about $1M to make it airworthy again.


  4. Note the distance between the tug and trailer. Driver made no effort to position himself in front of the trailer and stop it, it seems.

    Is the video itself available?

  5. Amazing how some people can work on/around the ramp and not understand that, first, everything around them is valued at several multiples of their lifetime earnings and second, that the cheapest thing there is them.

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