Delta jetliner rolls off taxiway during test
The Delta 737 rolled off a taxiway early Tuesday morning.
March 13th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Delta jetliner rolls off taxiway during test

A Delta Airlines jetliner veered off a taxiway during maintenance testing at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport early Tuesday, causing significant damage to the aircraft, an airline spokesman said. No one was injured, he said.

"Mechanics testing the engines of a Boeing 737-700 this morning experienced a problem with the plane’s braking system," Delta spokesman Eric Torbenson said.

The plane left a taxiway near 8 Right at the airport, he said, and rolled partially down an embankment.

There were no passengers aboard, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration said.

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Filed under: Aviation • Georgia
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. jerry

    That's the new lawn mowers in Atlanta . No wonder it cost so much to fly on Dela

    March 13, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. ronny

    It's a good idea to test the brakes first from now on.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • George Campbell

      And how do you propose they test them without rolling the plane? This WAS a maintenance test after all.

      March 13, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Pilots do test the brakes before taking off (most of the time). Unless they're asked to do a rolling takeoff (starting in motion and continuing in motion from the taxiway), they normally keep the brakes on while they spool up the engines. If they get much movement, they are supposed to power back and have the brakes inspected. Not sure exactly how the mechanics are trained procedurally.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Anthony

    The good news was the pilot had Nationwide insurance so his coffee never spilled during his accident.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. musomesa

    I wonder why they could not stop it using thrust reversal. Maybe they realized too late.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      Thurst reversers are only good above a certain speed. If you used it too slow you could damage the engines due to no airflow and you could even tip the plane backwards. No the brakes were the right thing to use, however I agree they should have been tested first.

      March 13, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      I doubt the Mechanics were thinking that quick. They probably just kept hitting the brakes. I'm willing to bet that this 'Brake problem' will turn out to be human error after it is investigated. People will say a lot of things to avoid responsibility for trashing a whole airplane. And to Ted....What are you talking about? I have personally marshaled many large passenger jets out of airport gates from a full stop while the pilots used reverse thrust only.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • L1011

      Normally when you test an engine you are parked with the brakes on. So I'm sure the brakes was working but when they went full thrust the brakes couldn't hold it. How do you test the brakes if the plane is not moving. Also I believe they were testing it at the end of the runway so if it went forward they had no other place to go!!

      March 13, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Wowie

      Actually, the speed isn't the issue with thrust reversers... Youtube DC-9 Powerback to see that some jets can actually push back from the gate with TR, although a discontinued practice because of fuel burn/cost.

      The issue on planes with low-slung engines using thrust reverse at low speed is two-fold: FOD (sucking in debris and ruining the engine), and putting the airplane onto its tail if too much reverse is used.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tammy

    Really not joke worthy! My brother is a mechanic for Delta in Atlanta and am hoping he wasn't one of the mechanics.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Judging from your comment I think it may be likely he was involved in that little accident.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Something bad happened to a major corporation where no one was injured. It's fair game all around for jokes. I do hope your brother wasn't in charge of this plane's braking system. Outside of that, that's the only emotion I feel aside from giggling.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Duck amok

    Guess the pilot forgot about reverse thrusters too. I think they're gonna need a new test pilot...and new plane.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat Hill

      To those talking about the again, there was no pilot! The plane was being taxied by mechanics. You only need a pilot when you intend to fly the plane. Mechanics in Atlanta are required to have a Taxi License which is an airplane version of a drivers license to operate an aircraft on one of the worlds busiest airports.

      March 13, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |

      I guess you forgot about the part where it was mechanics and not pilots taxiing the aircraft. This is a very common practice at all airlines.

      March 13, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

    It figures.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. JohnnyInSNJ

    In his defense, he thought it was the brake.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    Must have been one of those bad fitting floor mats

    March 13, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      That has happened to me. I hate those things.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. techo61

    So my first question is why weren't wheel chocks in place and did the maintenance crew not have any indication of emergency brake pressure before pushing the throttles above idle?

    March 13, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Emergency brakes? What are you talking about?

      March 13, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • 1stSgt-Topkick

      Wheel chocks are used in the engine test run-up area at eh maintenance hangar, NOT on an "active" taxiway.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. bob

    i didnt know a plane could role

    March 13, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. bob


    March 13, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Onthemark

    Price increase coming!

    March 13, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dennis Hubbs

    Whoops...Hate when that happens!

    March 13, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. hecep

    This would not have happened if George Kennedy was at the controls.

    March 13, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Rolyat

      LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so true !

      March 13, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      "Nice goin', sweetheart!"

      March 13, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • word-smythe

      Surely you can't be serious.

      March 13, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • MXD

      "Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue..."

      March 13, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Army NCO

      Looks more like Ted Kennedy was driving.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
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