ANCHORAGE AIRPORT 11 November 1998

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Updated: 12 April 2001

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The following incident occurred at Anchorage Airport, Alaska on 11th November 1998. The incident graphically illustrates why the two Korean air carriers, Korean Airlines and Asiana Airlines, were considered by most professional pilots in 2001 to be the world's two worst airlines. (However, see note below)

At the time of this incident, both airlines were run by a cabal of military cronies in a country devoid of any real democracy, basic workers rights or means of dissent. The end result of such a mixture is the endemic bog stupidity giving rise to what follows.

For an insight into the inner workings of these two airlines at the time of this incident, a leaked independent audit report into Korean Airlines (KAL) is available for download at: Korean Airlines Safety Audit Report (KAL safety audit)

NOTE: It is worth noting, that as of January 2001, pilot reports indicate that from an operational point of view things have certainly improved in both Asiana and KAL associated with the fallout of the leaked KAL safety audit mentioned above and the decision by KAL management to engage Boeing Flight Safety to retrain KAL pilots in basic Cockpit/Crew Resource Management techniques (CRM). 
Alex Paterson (20 March 2001)

Copyright Alex Paterson 1999





What happens when you combine a 747-400 at full power and an Aeroflot 11-62 on a crowded airport ramp? Then to this add a couple of freight containers, an airport terminal, two parked airport vehicles and a U turn!

Well if you had guessed chaos you are right on the money. The scene of this event is Anchorage International Airport in Alaska on November 11 last year, and yes, this is a true story.

Mistakenly an Asiana 747-400 pulled into the wrong parking bay, but instead of (as convention would suggest) requesting a tug for pushback, the crew decided to carry out a U turn instead!

Unfortunately an Aeroflot 11-62 with passengers on board was parked in the adjacent parking bay, in the path of the 400's unconventional turn. As the 747-400 proceeded, its number one engine collided with the starboard wing of the Ilytishin, tearing the engine cowling and fuel lines open, allowing a major fuel discharge.

As if seemingly oblivious to this damage, the Asiana crew reached for the throttles and added more power, but due to the ice on the ramp, put the 747-400 into a skid which in turn saw the aircraft demolish two Evergreen ground vehicles, sending the occupants fleeing.

Simultaneously the port wingtip of the 747-400 sliced into the vertical stabiliser of the Ilytishin gouging several metres into it; not surprisingly the 747 came to a halt, and to overcome this 'minor' obstacle, yet more power was added.

But the 747-400 did not budge. In a last ditch attempt to free the grips of the Ilytishin, the Asiana jumbo reached takeoff thrust! As a result several freight containers located behind the aircraft were sent flying into the terminal building smashing windows and causing considerable damage. It was only due to the frantic efforts of the groundcrew that the chaos ended, finally waving frantically to the pilots to shut down.

Luckily nobody was seriously injured or killed during the debacle, but the question has to be asked: What were the Asiana pilots thinking about? For one it is certainly not normal practice for a 747-400 to attempt a U turn in a parking bay, but what about going to takeoff power in the terminal area? How far away from these guys do ordinary people have stay to be safe?

It took all day to mop up the mess and try to separate the aircraft, the salvage team resorting to cutting off the last six metres of the 747-400's port wingtip in order to do so. Certainly this was an experience the passengers and groundcrew will never forget!

Copyright Australian Aviation 1999



* Pilot's identity known but not disclosed for privacy reasons.


Gudday folks, true story, worth reading.......

Just into Anchorage and looking at all the Korean debris on the airfield. What a beautiful job the Asiana boy did in his 744. (Word is he was an ex KAL guy, makes sense.)

Asiana is KAL's "opposition" company, also run by the military cronies. Pranged in Anchorage trying to do a "u" turn in a parking a 747? Poor Aeroflot was in the way though, minding his business with passengers on board.

Asiana thumped his no 1 engine against Aeroflot's wing and tore open the no 1 engine 744 cowling and engine fuel line, pissing fuel all over the apron. With Korean procedure, that calls for more power so you can get out of the way and hope nobody saw! This he did, but its icy as hell. The skid started took out 2 vehicles, Evergreen staff running for cover.

The circus had begun.

Still more power and he put his left wing (last 15-20ft) into the vertical stab of at IL 62 and cut another 15 ft into the tail. When he reached the main spar of the vertical stab ... he stopped.... you guessed it......... more power. I think he thought there was still time to run for it but he was going nowhere.

So .... more power.....

In trying to escape the grips of the Russian aircraft he took take off power and put a bunch of containers behind the aircraft through the offices in the terminal building and trashed it. Heard NCA got it in the lamps, Japs must be pleased about that!

Still no shut down or evacuation (fuel still pissing over the apron) The Yank ground macs ran on and told them to shut the aircraft down. The crew were busy writing report for management to apportion blame.

mmmmmmm .... Yes please!

Hell, no one is safe around these guys!

Spoke to the crew driver and she said the two vehicles he hit during his exhibition were badly trashed.

The Asiana aircraft is looking quite sad. Took all day yesterday to separate the two aircraft and in desperation the macs had to cut about 20 ft of the Asiana left wing off to separate the two. Talk about "dog lock!" The engine is off and cowlings all torn open.

The opposition (Aeroflot) was taking cover in the hanger. Good idea!

Well, not to be out done, KAL landed a 747 freighter the next day on the runway lights on RWY 6 right. Lights, tyres stuffed...... you know the rest.

That's 9 accidents in 2.5 months for KAL of which one was a 744 hull write off, takes some beating !=20

(We're not counting Guam that was last years score.)

Ah yes, another boring day in aviation!

Yawl be careful out there!!!



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Alex PATERSON is an Australian airline pilot by profession.  He writes articles and advises on issues pertaining to aviation, politics, sociology, the environment, sustainable farming, history, computers, natural health therapies, esoteric teachings and spirituality.

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