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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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    Japanese Airplanes collide at Tokyo Haneda Airport

    On Jan. 2, a deadly scene unfolded at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport. A Japanese Coast Guard Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft collided with a Japanese Airline A350; the Dash-8 was much smaller than the A350. Five Japanese Coast Guard Members died when the two aircraft collided, while all passengers and crew of the Japanese Airline flight made it out safely, with eight people sustaining injuries. The crash occurred while the Coast Guard plane was taxiing (moving to the runway) to take off, and the Japanese Airline Flight was landing on the runway behind the Coast Guard Plane, leading to a blindspot where both planes couldn’t see each other. 

     The Japanese Airline Crew has drawn much praise due to their professionalism and the fact that they managed to evacuate all 379 passengers and 12 crew members. Sonya Brown, a lecturer on Aerospace Design, said to the New York Times, “The Japanese airline crew did a really good job.” 

    Dr. Brown later continued, “The passengers needed to leave behind carry-on items.” This helped lead to no casualties on the Japanese Airline A350.

    The accident is thought to have been caused by the Japanese Coast Guard plane taxiing instead of holding short, as it was told to by the Air Traffic Controller, leading to the collision. Katie Doeherty, a pilot, said, “It seems to be a breakdown of communications on the plane taking the runway, ATC, and the aircraft landing.” 

    The Japanese Coast Guard was performing a very important mission, and the mission could’ve been at the forefront of their mind, which would have led to the breakdown in communication. Usually, the captain handles the taxiing and the first officer handles radio communications. What most likely happened is that the captain thought he was cleared to move onto the runway when they were not. 

    This accident might have a long-lasting impact on the International Civil Aviation Organization, a branch of the United Nations. This incident appears to have come from human error, and those are harder to fix with policy. Currently, there are some policies, such as having your lights on and repeating what the ATC tells you to do. These simple procedures help prevent these incidents, but whenever there are high-stress situations where you are doing critical missions it will lead to more errors and breakdowns in communications, leading to tragedies.

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