Dublin Airport: serious runway incursion by grass mower

The Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) released the final report regarding the investigation into a serious runway incursion incident at Dublin Airport (DUB/EIDW) in May 2009.

On May 29, 2009, at 02:53 local time, a Boeing 757-200 landed on runway 10 following a passenger charter flight from Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt. On roll-out, it passed a ride-on grass mower which was travelling eastwards along the runway approximately 18.5 metres to the right of the centre-line. The driver of the mower was unaware that an aircraft was arriving until he heard it on the runway behind him. Prior to the incident, ATC was informed that all grass-cutting equipment had vacated the field.

Probable Cause:
The failure of the driver of the ride-on mower T3 to vacate the runway after he had been instructed to do so.
Contributory Causes:
1. The assumption by the supervisor in Maintenance 12 that the driver of T3 had vacated the runway, even though he had received no confirmatory transmission from T3 nor had he visually confirmed that the runway was clear.
2. The absence of a communication from the supervisor to the driver of T3 that an aircraft was approaching.
3. The use of grass-cutting vehicles that were not equipped in accordance with the requirements of Airport Direction 20.
4. The lack of a capability to listen out on the Tower frequency, which reduced the situational awareness of the driver of the ride-on mower.
5. The lack of specific procedures related to routine grass-cutting in the Airport Manual.
6. The poor visibility combined with the limited performance of the SMR restricted the AMC’s capability of intervening in the developing situation.

One safety recommendation was issued to the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to “review their training programmes, including the frequency of refresher training, for all operatives who are required to drive on the manoeuvring area. Reference to ICAO Doc 9870 AN/463 “Manual on the Prevention of Runway Incursions” should be included in all such training programmes.”

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