Push Back without clearance

SWANS-LL-2010-002

Reporter’s description of the incident

We thought we were cleared to start and consequently also cleared to push so we initiated the pushing process. We were pushed back by a single man respectively a tug without towbar. So when the mistake was discovered by ground control, we were unable to stop the process immediately as we could not communicate with the tug.

Causes from the reporter’s point of view

  1. Crew initiated pushback process with ambiguous mind about the clearance.
  2. Crew accepted pushback without being able to communicate to the tug operator.

Reporter’s suggestion for improvement

  1. Do not move the aircraft without being 100% sure about the clearance.
  2. Do not pushback before having secured ways of communication with the pushback tug operator.

FOCA comment

The FOCA notes that communication failures, such as misinterpretation and false assump-tion, are one of the most common causal factors leading to dangerous situations.

It is therefore essential not to assume but to reconfirm the information in case of uncertainty.

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