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Runway safety concerns in focus as Japan probes Tokyo crash

47 Comments
By Tim Hepher, Allison Lampert, David Shepardson and Valerie Insinna

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47 Comments
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Nearly all the fuselage, including the cockpit, is burnt away. How inflammable (or flammable to our US English users) is this composite material, I am wondering.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

An accident that should never have happened involving gross human error.

5 ( +19 / -14 )

Quote: "One obvious question is whether the coast guard plane was on the runway . . . "

Seem quite obvious that it was, otherwise there would be no accident, collision, "incursion", or crash.

As to why it was there, we shall have to wait and see.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

A huge round of congratulations to the airline crew that got all the passengers of the plane quickly and safely.

28 ( +29 / -1 )

That JAL-516 got clearance prior landing.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-01-02/jal-flight-516-was-cleared-to-land-before-fiery-tokyo-collision-lqwlyijt

Runway safety concerns in focus as Japan probes Tokyo crash

Just check how those ATC's conversational English, perhaps better salary will attract more good talent for ATC crew.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fItu5qM7QfE

-14 ( +10 / -24 )

”A picture speaks a thousand words…”

ATC dropped the ball, big time.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

The first possible reason that there were two planes on a runway at the same time is fault of Air Traffic Controller! Second, the smaller plane did not follow or misunderstood the Air Traffic Controller's instructions.

Fuselage is made of aluminum which melts at 660.3 °C. It is very easy to reach well above that in a aircraft fuel feed fire.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

As I commented on in the other article, an improper taxi clearance from ATC to the CG Dash-8 was one of three scenarios.

The ATC recording has the controller giving an unclear instruction for the CG plane to "taxi to holding spot Charlie 5."

Charlie 5 is an intersection of the taxiway and runway 34R, about 1,600 feet from the end of the runway and right at the landing area markings which are 1,500 feet from the runway threshhold.

That is a non-standard radio call. The call should have been to "taxi to Charlie 5 and hold short Runway 34R."

That could mean to the the spot on the active runway at Charlie 5 intersection, but that would have been unusual. That would have been a call to line up and wait.

Second, the English was so poor, I could barely understand it (as a pilot) without listening several times. And I'm still not 100% sure that was the instruction. There certainly was no "hold short of 34R."

I could not listen to the aircraft reply to the ATC transmission, but that, as I said before, is a crucial check in the system.

Preliminary, but the unclear and non-standard radio call by ATC will likely be a significant link in the chain.

24 ( +24 / -0 )

How everyone got out of that wreck unscathed is beyond me. My jaw is still on the floor since watching the live footage of the disaster last night.

Rest in Peace to the five hero Coast Guard members, who gave their lives to assisting in the earthquake tragedy.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Either human error from the airport directors or the cargo plan got stalled on the runway.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Aluminum burns at high temperatures. British warships discovered that during the Falkland War.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

How everyone got out of that wreck unscathed is beyond me.

it is amazing. luckily the fire apparantly took more than 20 mins to spread, so there was time to evacuate smoothly

6 ( +7 / -1 )

100% human error, most likely on the side of air-traffic control. Even if the cargo ship had stalled, they should have known that and asked the larger plane to circle around and wait.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Pray for the families who lost loved ones.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The runway involved had been used for departure only until the last few days. Flight 516 would have been one of the first to land using that runway, coupled with night time, poor lighting, IMHO, too early to lay blame.

RIP coastguard crews who perished in the line of duty.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I agree with Peter and it is possible that a non-standard call out from ATC is a factor.

I heard “Charlie 1” instead of Charlie 5, (Charlie 1 is a holding point short of the runway) but the quality of the raw ATC recording is so poor that I could be mistaken. Only the cleaned up version will say for sure.

Just an additional point: If the JCG aircraft had been cleared to enter the runway, I believe the ATC call out would have been “Runway 34 Right Line up and wait.”

2 ( +2 / -0 )

fatrainfallingintheforest

Ground control gives you clearance to taxi up to and hold short of a runway but only air control can give you clearance to enter or cross any runway, active, inactive, or closed.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

As a BBC expert commented, it's too early to praise or blame until we know the full details of what occurred.

no, praising the flight crew who lead the evacuation of passengers should be recognized since all passengers were able to evacuate safely off the plane. your comment makes no sense. The flight crew has no responsibility in the actual crash itself.

The commenter was praising the crew that got the passengers off the plane safely. what details do you need about the flight crews? unless you’re saying that you need confirmation that they didn’t just abandoned the passengers and boarded off before anyone? You make it sound as if those 350+ passengers were bored and picking their noses while waiting in line to get off the plane.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I have no knowledge of airport procedures but I do know what a landing airliner looks like. The video shows a landing airliner catching fire and skidding with its nose landing gear damaged after presumably hitting something in the way. The question is what was the mixup that resulted in that thing being tragically in the way.

Coastguards do a dangerous job to begin with and risk their lives in the line of duty in more ways than one. My condolences to the bereaved and I hope the authorities look after them.

We can also be thankful that the the other plane was small enough to mostly pass under the airliner, preventing a much bigger impact to the body of the airliner carrying the passengers.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

No, most accidents are attributed to “Pilot Error” but occasionally due to bad / incorrect information from Tower Control.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Experts have cautioned it is too early to pinpoint a cause and stress most accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors.

Yet the armchair experts here have it all sorted on this chat.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@factchecker

Yet the armchair experts here have it all sorted on this chat.

Many data now is available on public domain these days, we can confirm official statement whether is true or just another PR stunt. Do you have anything to add? Or just comment the commmenters?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

It's not that hard to walk to the end of the aisle and jump is it?!

In a burning airplane? Certainly harder than you make it out to be.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Lots of planes literally have to circle, because their no place for them to land see Haneda in real time Google Flightaware Haneda

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What about the direct testimony of the captain survivor of the Bombardier D-8 plane ?

He may be the only eyewitness to know what happened.

Strange so far no name was given.

I assume his words will play the most crucial role in the investigation.

He must be having a very hard time, in all sense, losing his subordinates he was in charge and having endured physically probably a run for your life event.

All my prayers to the deceased and their families.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Sh1mon M4sada

The runway involved had been used for departure only until the last few days. Flight 516 would have been one of the first to land using that runway, coupled with night time, poor lighting, IMHO, too early to lay blame.

That runway-C or 34R, always being used for take off and landing when there's north wind which 60% overall.

https://www.mlit.go.jp/koku/haneda/public/pdf/haneda_Pamphlet_english_vol2.pdf

.

However there were some changes to anticipate Tokyo Olympics before

https://www.travelvoice.jp/english/new-air-routes-into-haneda-airport-will-be-effective-in-march-2020-to-add-39000-international-slots-a-year

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Strange so far no name was given.

saw it in a previous article...Genki Matsumoto 30-something years old

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The lessons learned are much better than blaming and pointing fingers now.

Kudos to the flight crew who managed to get everybody out from a heavy burning plane.

Condolences to the crew of the Cost Guard plane. Very sad news.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

DanteKHToday  03:45 pm JST

The lessons learned are much better than blaming and pointing fingers now.

How are you going to learn a lesson without finding blame?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Fuselage is made of aluminum which melts at 660.3 °C.

The fuselage and wings of the A350 are made of carbon reinforced plastic.

I believe this is the first hull loss of an airliner made of such material, although several 787s have suffered "thermal incidents" with their lithium batteries over the past decade.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hanada uses two separate tower frequencies, which is not unusual for a large airport. Each frequency is used for a specific runway.

JAL was on tower frequency 118.725, the frequency being used for 34R.

The CG flight was handed off to tower frequency 124.350, which was the frequency being used for 34L.

Neither crew could hear the radio calls of the other crew with tower, or the different tower frequency. That's very troubling.

In addition, the CG plane did not appear to have turned on TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) before entering the runway. It's standard procedure to activate upon entering a runway for departure. TCAS would have alerted the JAL crew of a conflict and initiated an immediate response.

Sometimes a single action or event may be the cause of an accident, but many times it is a cascade of events.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

NHK reported tonight that the focus is upon miscommunication with the Capitan of the Coast Guard flight contradicting what the ATC staff had said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder why blue strobe laser lighting isn't used at night to illuminate stationary objects nearby the runways ?

Wouldn't cost much to implement - a blue light strobe, triggered whenever the multi-level object detector on a pole is breached - a bit like an i/r burglar alarm detector. The strobes would keep flashing in the areas where stationary objects were, and apart from being a visual aid at night, could provide basic information to Air Traffic Controllers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have aviation background and this is the kind of scenario that keeps anyone involved up at night. The pace and intensity of operations exceeded capability of two-way radio communication long ago, but alas, it is still in use largely in the same way it was 40 years ago. There are some simple fixes for runway occupancy that can be implemented with relative ease worldwide, and perhaps this accident will spur that on. RIP to the CG folks who were just doing their duty...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How everyone got out of that wreck unscathed is beyond me. My jaw is still on the floor since watching the live footage of the disaster last night.

Rest in Peace to the five hero Coast Guard members, who gave their lives to assisting in the earthquake tragedy.

Well said fighto! At the moment let's not be armchair experts. Everybody can learn from this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The fire had not reached the cabin until everyone was out so it was pretty easy to juts walk out.

except you’re forgetting the fact that everyone is panicking and anxious to get out. Crowd control of over 350+ in that moment is extremely difficult as the flight crew needs to stay composed and give firm instructions so that others won’t panic. They obviously did this which is why people are giving credit to them except you.

there’s a reason why you can’t scream fire in a crowded movie theater. I’m sure you don’t have a clue as to why so look up the reason and you’ll learn why the flight crew should be commended. They did their job in a fantastic manner and this isn’t because of nihinjinron.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Landing and take offs should all be done by automated system rather than pilots. There should be proper radar systems at the airport that can scan the runways and automatically communicate to the panes so that plane’s auto pilot can take the right action.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is amazing that all passengers and crew from JL516 are safe. Good Job!

Worst firefighting response I have seen. They didn't even protect the passengers.

JL516 was clearly given 'clear to land' by ATC

JA722A (CG aircraft) was assigned as number 1 for takeoff and told to proceed to location C5 (which is next to the runway). The pilot did not acknowledge this command or state that he was entering the runway. He was not cleared for takeoff. The pilot obviously did not hold short and entered the runway.

Both pilots and ATC should have had situational awareness of each aircraft's position. The poor communication discipline certainly contributed to the confusion.

IATA regulations require exclusive use of English so that every pilot and ATC controller can understand. Yet, it is fairly common to hear conversations in Japanese. Many controllers and foreign pilots have strong accents that make communications less reliable.

The JTSB will investigate and determine the contributing factors to this accident. Flying will be safer as a result.

May the five Japan Coast Guard members who lost their lives serving their country rest in peace, and their families receive the appreciation of everyone.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Aviation fluid is 101 % inflammable. Perhaps a way can be found to dump

all of it in case of an accident over uninhabited land.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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