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Last updated: 26 October 2021
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 19 January 2021
Time:14:28 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic RJ85 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro RJ85
Operator:Jota Aviation
Registration: G-JOTR
MSN: E2294
First flight: 1996-09-19 (24 years 4 months)
Engines: 4 Lycoming LF507-1F
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:London-Biggin Hill Airport (BQH) (   United Kingdom)
Phase: Pushback / towing (PBT)
Nature:Test
Departure airport:London-Biggin Hill Airport (BQH/EGKB), United Kingdom
Destination airport:London Southend Airport (SEN/EGMC), United Kingdom
Narrative:
The crew boarded G-JOTR while it was parked on a taxiway at London-Biggin Hill Airport, but airfield restrictions required it to be towed to a designated area on the apron for engine start. The towing route followed the edge of the apron, which was damp and downhill, and involved a 90° left turn to line up for start. A combination of unfamiliarity with a relatively new operating base, towing in reverse and difficulty interpreting "indistinct" taxiway markings meant the tug driver entered the left turn later than intended. The late entry made the turn excessively tight, and the tug lost traction on the damp surface and jack-knifed. The resulting combination of a sharp towing angle and the aircraft’s downhill momentum caused the towbar shear pin to break. The commander applied the brakes immediately on hearing "the sound of snapping metal" but was unable to prevent the aircraft rolling forward into the tug.

The operator’s internal investigation report made several safety recommendations, including a review of towing procedures, enhanced driver training, the use of radios by towing teams and improvements to taxiway markings. The company also reviewed its apron risk assessment and towing was added to their audit plan.

On 10 February 2021 the aircraft was ferried to Cranfield for repairs. On 1 July 2021 the aircraft was flown back to London-Biggin Hill Airport.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: AAIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 170 days (6 months)
Accident number: AAIB-27100
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-Biggin Hill Airport to London Southend Airport as the crow flies is 53 km (33 miles).

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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