On February 3, 2020, Kalitta Air’s flight 368 collided with a garbage bin during the takeoff roll at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published the final report on the incident.
Almost two years ago, a Boeing 747-400, registration N703CK, operating flight 368 between Los Angeles and Honolulu for Kalitta Air, suffered an incident while on takeoff roll.
The aircraft collided with a garbage bin during the takeoff roll on runway 25R at LAX, as described by the NTSB. There were no injuries to the seven passengers and flight crew onboard, although the airplane was substantially damaged.
Despite the incident, N703CK continues to operate. Today, the aircraft is operating a flight between Anchorage and Seoul, according to Radarbox.com. In the last 12 months, Kalitta Air’s B747 has had 3,913 total flight hours in 683 flights, operating mainly in Los Angeles, Anchorage, and Honolulu.
At the time of the takeoff, winds at LAX were reported to be 15 knots, gusting to 28 knots, from 340 degrees. The force of the winds blew a garbage dumpster into the runway at the wrong time, impacting Kalitta Air’s Boeing 747.
The captain onboard flight 368 noticed a large object “moving right to the left at a good speed.” After that, the object passed under the nose and loudly impacted the airplane, creating a severe vibration across the 747. The pilot immediately rejected the takeoff and stopped on the runway. Following that, the crew turned off the engines and requested an inspection of the airplane from the ground.
The tower reported there was a cloud of smoke coming from the nose gear, so emergency services responded; both tires of the Boeing 747’s nose gear had blown as a result of the impact with the trash bin.
The NTSB launched an investigation on the incident and determined that the probable cause was:
“An unavoidable collision with a garbage dumpster that had blown into the path of the airplane during the takeoff roll.”
Kalitta Air is a cargo carrier founded in 2000. It has a fleet of 40 aircraft, including 24 Boeing 747-400s, nine B767, and seven B777. The average age of the fleet is 19.7 years old, according to ch-aviation.
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In 2021, there was only one fatal accident with a large commercial aircraft and 125 lives lost, according to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN). On January 9, 2021, flight SJ182 from Sriwijaya Air crashed after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia. The airline operated the flight onboard a Boeing 737-500. Onboard were 62 people, including the crew.
Additionally, there were 148 accidents and incidents in 2021, including 40 fatal. Of this total, three accidents were from commercial airlines, according to ASN. A couple of Let 410 aircraft crashed in South Sudan and Russia in March and September, respectively, and a Short 360 belonging to Malu Aviation crashed on December 23, in the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In comparison, in 2020, accidents in commercial aviation led to 314 deceases, according to the Aviation Safety Network.
What do you think about Kalitta Air’s incident at LAX? Let us know in the comments below.
Lead Journalist – South America – Daniel comes to Simple Flying with many years of aviation journalism experience, having worked with Mexican publication A21, Roads & Kingdoms, El Economista and more. His degree in journalism allows him to form beautifully crafted and insightful pieces. His specialist knowledge of Latin American airlines and close relationship with the likes of Aeromexico, Avianca, Volaris brings depth to our coverage in the region. Based in Mexico City, Mexico.