Air Canada pilot nearly lands on SFO International taxiway, mistook it as runway

XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
#1
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/...ggered-greatest-aviation-disaster-in-history/

SAN FRANCISCO — In what one aviation expert called a near-miss of what could have been the largest aviation disaster ever, an Air Canada pilot on Friday narrowly avoided a tragic mistake: landing on the San Francisco International Airport taxiway instead of the runway.

Sitting on Taxiway C shortly before midnight were four airplanes full of passengers and fuel awaiting permission to take off, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the “rare” incident. An air traffic controller sent the descending Air Canada Airbus 320 on a “go-around” — an unusual event where pilots must pull up and circle around to try again — before the safe landing, according to the federal agency.


FAA investigators are still trying to determine how close the Air Canada aircraft came to landing and potentially crashing into the four aircraft below, but the apparent pilot error already has the aviation industry buzzing.

“If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history,” said retired United Airlines Capt. Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts. He said he’s been contacted by pilots from across the country about the incident.

“If you could imagine an Airbus colliding with four passenger aircraft wide bodies, full of fuel and passengers, then you can imagine how horrific this could have been,” he said.

Peter Fitzpatrick, an Air Canada spokesman, said Flight AC759 from Toronto “landed normally without incident” after the go-around.
The aircraft had been cleared to land on Runway 28R, which runs parallel to that taxiway, according to the FAA. The pilot, flying the plane manually on a clear night, lined up wrong, the federal agency said.

Audio from the air traffic controller communication — archived by a user on LiveATC.net and reviewed by this news organization — recorded the confused Air Canada pilot asking if he’s clear to land on 28R because he sees airplane lights on the runway.

“There’s no one on 28R but you,” the air controller responds.

An unidentified voice, presumably another pilot, then chimes in: “Where’s this guy going? He’s on the taxiway.”

The air controller quickly tells the Air Canada pilot to go around, and adds, “It looks like you were lined up for Charlie (Taxiway C) there.”

A United Airlines pilot radios in: “United One, Air Canada flew directly over us.”

“Yeah, I saw that, guys,” the control tower responds.

The event has launched a discussion among airline circles, Aimer said.

“This is pretty huge. My buddies called and asked if I knew about it,” the former pilot said. “They’re a sitting duck on the taxiway. They can’t go anywhere.”
 

FrankCanada97

Roughly the size of a baaaaaarge
#14
Anyways, this is what the approach to 28R looks like at night:



The column of green lights to the right indicate a taxiway. I don't know how the pilot could have thought he was aligned with the runway.
 
#19
“If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history,”

“If you could imagine an Airbus colliding with four passenger aircraft wide bodies, full of fuel and passengers, then you can imagine how horrific this could have been,” he said.
Yarp.
 
#24
Pilots inbound for landing saw planes on what he assumed was the runway, reported it to the control tower and at 1000 feet up did a go around since it was obvious what they assumed to be runway wasn't clear.

Theres the question of why the pilots mistook the taxiway for the runway and there will be investigations and reports filed as there should be but there's not even the slightest chance this would have ended up as a disaster.

There's no way two trained pilots flying in vfr conditions would have seen 4 planes with their lights on and still landed on them anyways.
 
#25
Pilots inbound for landing saw planes on what he assumed was the runway, reported it to the control tower and at 1000 feet up did a go around since it was obvious what they assumed to be runway wasn't clear.

Theres the question of why the pilots mistook the taxiway for the runway and there will be investigations and reports filed as there should be but there's not even the slightest chance this would have ended up as a disaster.

There's no way two trained pilots flying in vfr conditions would have seen 4 planes with their lights on and still landed on them anyways.
I wouldn't say not even the slightest chance. Many awful airline crashes defy logic, like Air France 447 which crashed into the ocean because of pilot incompetence.
 

FrankCanada97

Roughly the size of a baaaaaarge
#29
I wouldn't say not even the slightest chance. Many awful airline crashes defy logic, like Air France 447 which crashed into the ocean because of pilot incompetence.
I would say the circumstances of AF447 and this incident are very different. The only way this would have ended in disaster would be for the pilot to intentionally crash the plane.
 
#31
Yeah I heard about this earlier, I'm not going to pretend flying a commercial airline is easy but if there are a few professions where I don't want to see mistakes, Pilot is one of them, next to Surgeon and Lawyer.

Piloting mistakes though have a higher risk of being a mass tragedy, compared to most other professions.

Thank God no one was hurt.
 
#37
Yeah, Air Canada will probably give the flight crew a suspension, training and cooperate with whatever investigation occurs where it will likely be determined the pilot was fatigued and we'll get a couple bullet points on the news about it over the next 2 years and that will be that.
 

XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
#39
Yeah, Air Canada will probably give the flight crew a suspension, training and cooperate with whatever investigation occurs where it will likely be determined the pilot was fatigued and we'll get a couple bullet points on the news about it over the next 2 years and that will be that.
Fatigue is pretty likely, considering the incident occurred around midnight.
 

FrankCanada97

Roughly the size of a baaaaaarge
#44
Replace pilots with computers.
I mean we basically already have. Flight engineers were rendered obsolete by flight computers. Pilots rarely do any actual flying except for landings and take-offs, they mostly monitor instruments and handle communications.

Computers aren't infallible, which is why they have humans in the cockpit. Although, sometimes there are situations where it is impossible for both the computer and human to save an aircraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeroper%C3%BA_Flight_603
 
#49
Anyways, this is what the approach to 28R looks like at night:



The column of green lights to the right indicate a taxiway. I don't know how the pilot could have thought he was aligned with the runway.
28 right

He could've thought 28R was 28L

Still a huge fuckup, from afar it's pretty clear where XXL and XXR are, but I can kinda see a brain fart like that
 

XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
#50
28 right

He could've thought 28R was 28L

Still a huge fuckup, from afar it's pretty clear where XXL and XXR are, but I can kinda see a brain fart like that
But 28L is that other set of huge runway approach lights extending out to the water that's to the left of 28R.