757 reports near miss with lawnmower

Author: By Sarah Stack, Press Association

The driver of the sit-on mower did not even notice the Boeing 757 until its
wing passed over his head as he cut grass near runways at Dublin Airport.

Air accident investigators have launched a probe in to the near miss, which
happened shortly before 3am on 29 May.

The aircraft, which had flown from Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt, had 198
passengers and eight crew on board.

No-one was injured.

The flight, chartered on behalf of Thomson Airways, had just touched down when
crew reported the ground equipment at the edge of the runway lights.

The Irish Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Unit found the
small ride-on grass mower had been moving along the runway a number of
metres inside the edge lighting.

“The mower had no rear lighting or flashing beacon and it was not equipped
with any airband radio equipment capable of listening out on the control
tower frequency,” said the report.

“The driver of the mower was unaware that an aircraft was landing and he did
not see the aircraft before it passed his vehicle.

“It is probable that the starboard wing of the Boeing 757 passed over the
ride-on mower during the landing roll.”

Several ride-on mowers had been cutting grass on the side of runways until
work had been stopped six minutes early due to fog.

Air traffic controllers were not aware the unsuspecting workman was almost in
the path of the oncoming jet when they gave the all-clear for landing.

In a preliminary report, investigators recommended Dublin Airport Authority
(DAA) should ensure all vehicles operating close to active runways have
flashing lights, airband VHF radios linked to ground control and tower
frequencies and were fitted with equipment to be detected on the ground.

The DAA told the investigation it had already implemented the interim safety
recommendation.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said its Advanced Surface Movements
Guidance and Control System (ASMGCS) was currently being commissioned in
Dublin and was expected to be fully operational by September.

A recording of the ASMGCS images from the event, which was still under test,
showed a ride-on mower moving along the runway.

“The test recording also shows… the potential conflict between the landing
aircraft and the ride-on mower,” the report added.

A final report will be published when a full investigation is complete.

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