ASN Aircraft accident Airbus A320-214 (WL) N220FR Denver International Airport, CO (DEN)
ASN logo
 

Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 28 January 2019
Time:06:17
Type:Silhouette image of generic A320 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A320-214 (WL)
Operator:Frontier Airlines
Registration: N220FR
MSN: 5661
First flight: 2013
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 120
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 126
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Denver International Airport, CO (DEN) (   United States of America)
Phase: Pushback / towing (PBT)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Denver International Airport, CO (DEN/KDEN), United States of America
Destination airport:Buffalo-Greater Buffalo International Airport, NY (BUF/KBUF), United States of America
Flightnumber:450
Narrative:
Frontier Airlines flight 450, an Airbus A320-214, N220FR, was struck by the tug during pushback operations at Denver International Airport (KDEN), Denver, Colorado.  There were no injuries and the airplane received substantial damage.
According to flight crew statements, the crew advised the tug driver they were cleared to push back, either tail east or straight back. At the time of the accident, dark night conditions existed and the ramp was contaminated with snow. During the pushback, the flight crew started No. 1 and 2 engines. The tug driver pushed the airplane back with its empennage towards the east and then notified the captain that he would pull forward to straighten them out. As the tug driver pulled the airplane forward and was coming to a stop the airplane's nose began to drift to the left.  The tug detached from the airplane and impacted the right forward fuselage and right engine air intake resulting in substantial damage. The captain noted that the nose swung to the left, and then said it felt as if the airplane was moving backwards. According to the operator, on the morning of the accident, the ramp management company had instructed their ground personnel that all pushbacks should be straight back pushes due to the snowy conditions. It is likely that the angle of the towbar from pushing the airplane back to the east, combined with the snow contaminated ramp and the engine idle thrust, caused the tug driver to lose control of the tug during the pushback.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: loss of control of the tug by the driver during pushback operations as a result of the contaminated ramp, angle of the towbar, and the airplane engines being at idle thrust.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 1 months
Accident number: DCA19CA079
Download report: Summary report

Classification:
Collision with airport equipment
Damaged on the ground

Photos

Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

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 Denver International Airport, CO to Buffalo-Greater Buffalo International Airport, NY as the crow flies is 2167 km (1354 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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.
languages: languages

Share

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2023 Flight Safety Foundation

701 N. Fairfax St., Ste. 250
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
www.FlightSafety.org