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As I understand it from what I read earlier, there were four wide-body airliners waiting on the parallel taxiway for their turn on the runway.  After Air Canada went around one of them told the tower that Air Canada passed directly over him.  

 

Of course, unlike Harrison Ford, he didn't actually land on the taxiway, but still pretty much the same scenario.  

 

John

 

 

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Flying is rife with stories like this. I remember reading a column in (I think it was) Flying Magazine called "I learned about flying from that". This would be in the late seventies, early eighties. Every month there was a story about something that someone learned the hard way.

 

It's almost hard to believe that in that, and in this, day and age someone manages to line up for the wrong airport, wrong runway, or a taxiway.

 

At night??? They're side by side, yes. But one looks like a Christmas tree.

 

Yikes!

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You almost don't know what to say with something like this, this wasn't some amateur pilot it was a certified commercial jet pilot, gee wiz, someone was asleep at the wheel on this one.

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7 hours ago, brett said:

You almost don't know what to say with something like this, this wasn't some amateur pilot it was a certified commercial jet pilot, gee wiz, someone was asleep at the wheel on this one.

 

That's sort of what I was talking about. There are many areas (especially in the US) where there are several, as in 3 or 4, airports in close proximity. Landing on the "right" runway, but at the "wrong" airport is a favourite for pilots. This is due to the fact that runways are set up to use prevailing wind directions. So several airports close together may all have a (eg.) Rwy 06/24. If you're a hot shot commercial pilot who is not really paying attention, it's real easy to land at the wrong one. Happens all the time ^_^.

 

It's "Visual" approaches that cause the problems. Mostly because it's (almost) impossible to be on the wrong Localiser and GS. 

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I bet Harrison Ford said or thought upon reading this something along the lines of "See what I mean?" or "Ha!". :D

 

 

I read somewhere someone claimed "High Crosswinds" were to blame...BS...this is SFO, they have crosswind runways....its a set of 2 Parallel runways in a cross pattern. If xwinds were high enough to overcome the ILS/AP system they would have been using a different runway. I suspect the pilot was hand flying and actually pulled a Harrison...sorry Mr. Ford...you are stuck with that legacy I'm fraid. Henceforth, landing on the taxiway shall be called a "Harrison".

Edited by Captain Coffee
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In one of the fairly recent events like this (within the last couple of years, I think), also somewhere in California, the pilot had early morning sun right in his eyes on approach.  I think he actually landed on the taxiway but can't recall for sure.   I've slept since then.

 

Several years ago, a Delta airliner actually landed on a parallel taxiway at Atlanta.  Fortunately, the taxiway was deserted at the time.  It was a pre-dawn approach following a red-eye from somewhere in South America, as I recall.  You'd think that lack of threshold lights and blue edge lights would have somehow intruded upon his awareness, but I guess not.

 

As QM notes, if you're following a Localizer this is unlikely to happen.  The old Mark 1 eyeball isn't always as good.

 

 

John

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It's funny how our minds can trick us into thinking we are doing it right as we do it wrong.:D

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Many years ago on a misty evening a VC-10 belonging to BOAC tried to land on the A4 Bath Road which runs parallel to Runway 27R. He only pulled out when the crew realised that what they had mistaken for runway lights were actually the tops of the streetlight gantries poking out of the thin layer of ground mist. It was all over the local news at the time.

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So what do they do to the pilot/co-pilot when something like this happens, suspend them and send them for retraining and hope the simulator doesn't end up looking like the one from John's latest Caption the Picture entry or something drastic.:D  

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Not sure what the answer to that is, but they have at least two problems - their company and the FAA, or whatever other aviation authority rules the roost where they showed off their shortcomings.  I'm sure it's not a comfortable place to be.

 

John

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New info - worse than initially reported - he descended to 81 feet before establishing a positive rate, overflew two of the four AC on the taxiway while still descending and was at only 106 feet when he passed over the second one.  That's WAY too close.   Still no word about why.

 

There's a really good diagram in the article showing his altitude and path over the other aircraft.

 

NTSB: Air Canada close-call at SFO was even worse than first reported
 

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/17/ntsb-air-canada-pilot-actually-flew-over-plane-before-aborting-landing/

 

John

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Yikes!

Most decent-sized commercial jets' tails reach up into the fifties and sixties. The 747 is over 65' from the ground to the top of the tail. 20' of clearance is unbelievable.

Somebody in that cockpit needs to make a career change.

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Good job it wasn't an A380 involved, the tail on those things are enormous! That skipper seeds some urgent retraining!

 

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37 minutes ago, dodgy-alan said:

That skipper seeds some urgent retraining!

 

Yeah, for some other career.

 

John

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I remember there was a gasometer which pilots used to line up to land on runway 23 at Heathrow (this runway is not used now)...Sadly there was another gasometer that lined up with the runway at Northolt...After someone landed at Northolt by mistake, they painted a big white NO on the top of the Northolt gasometer.

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35 minutes ago, petermcleland said:

I remember there was a gasometer which pilots used to line up to land on runway 23 at Heathrow (this runway is not used now)...Sadly there was another gasometer that lined up with the runway at Northolt...After someone landed at Northolt by mistake, they painted a big white NO on the top of the Northolt gasometer.

 

Obviously visual checkpoints and landmarks are useful during a visual approach, but why would any pilot not tune the Localizer if one is available and use that as an aid as well?

 

This event was near midnight so I suspect visual aids other than the various forms of airport lighting weren't much of a factor.  I wonder if the taxi lights of four airliners, all pointing more or less directly toward him weren't somehow mistaken for a string of runway lights - both are white lights.  The blue taxiway lights are considerably dimmer and might have been lost in the glare of the taxi lights of four airliners all of which were nearing the approach end of the taxiway.

 

It seems as if the authorities have decided to cover this event in the usual way - with a pillow, until it stops moving.

 

Aviation authorities should take a lesson from US railroads - if there is an accident or event, all crews of the involved trains are quickly subjected to testing for drugs and alcohol.  It's regulatory-driven, and is a standard, expected action that is routinely taken after any event.

 

John

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On 17/08/2017 at 19:43, allardjd said:

This is an editorial, so opinion, but seems pretty well sourced.  If this is accurate, the fix is in and no heads will roll.

 

John

 

http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/08/15/editorial-air-canada-faa-hindered-investigation-of-sfo-near-miss/

 

I notice that report contains every emotive trigger word they could find in the dictionary. Hardly unbiased reporting.

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19 minutes ago, Tim_A said:

I notice that report contains every emotive trigger word they could find in the dictionary.

 

Naah - they missed "nose dive", that ubiquitous term that journalism schools teach must be used in every story or article remotely related to aviation.  Mainstream media seldom miss a chance to use it and probably face formal disciplinary measures if they do.

 

John

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I prefer to believe that story is false, it just seems farfetched to think they just went on like nothing happened, I mean I almost nose dived off my chair when I read it.:D

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true, they missed "narrowly avoided school packed with terrified children" too. Probably cos of the extra wordcount.

 

Got to believe though that some report had to be filed, just for the go around - the bean counters would have demanded it if nothing else.

 

Reason for go around (costing us $$$$$$): Harrison Ford Avoidance manoeuvre*

 

* I'm guessing Canadians spell that properly ;)

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