After one of our pilots landed at the wrong airport ( I know of 3 such incidents during my employment ) our esteemed Manager threatened the next criminal with the sack. He then went and landed at USAF base Burtonwood instead of Manchester Ringway. He didn't sack himself.
One incident involved the crew landing at Cartierville (? name ?) GA airport just north of the then Dorval Montreal international airport. A private pilot in a Cessna saw the landing and thought " The mighty XXXX airline can't be wrong" so he went and landed at Dorval !
Landing on parallel taxiways are relatively common , lining up on one even more, and in most cases not by inexperienced pilots. Give the guy a break , he made the headlines because of his name , not because of his mistake .
Reminds me a good one , during the earthquake relief for Yerevan some years back a Russian IL76 landed in Frankfurt in the middle taxiway between the 2 parallel runways , luckily no one was taxing on it at the time. After a good R/T rebuff that got no answer , the crew came up the Tower with 6 bottles of Vodka , and said only one word in English : "Sorry "
I hope we are not going to make this into an age thing I remember Harrison Ford flying into a small UK airport a long time ago he is a true aviation enthusiast
Making a mistake like that is not unique not even to airlines I remember only too well the Ryan air mistake at Londonderry where a 737 approached and landed on a nearby disused airport
The PAX had to be bussed out but the disused airport obviously wasn't identified as such by either the professional Captain or his FO
In a basic aircraft like the Husky it is a pure visual aircraft and hence much more likely that a visual mistake was made I also ask where were ATC in this ? Surely they should have told him to Go around as he was landing on a taxiway?
According to Google Earth, the distance between the centerlines of RWY 20L and TWY C is only 240 ft. From the tower, the angular difference between 1/4 mile final for RWY 20L and 1/4 mile final for RWY C is only about 4.3 degrees--not likely to catch a controller's attention. Additionally, because the runways are so closely spaced, aircraft fly an angled final to RWY 20L.
KKoran , absolutely correct extremely difficult to judge from the distance. I would add that it is also not the first task of a TWR controller, and by far , to monitor visual APP alignments of VFR traffic. A VFR visual APP is not a PAR
As to the audio : call sign confusion , who never did that jumping from one aircrfat to another ? and forgetting to push the "next" on the VHF ( or just not pressing it hard enough) ? common , we all did that , and not only once. OK he sound tired , or maybe just focusing on something worrying him on the aircraft. Not his day but not worth all those comments about age and asking to pull his licence. I'd fly with the guy anytime and would almost certainly learn something in the process. Great guy and great GA pilot. Check him on the EAA web site.
Poor fella wasn't having a good day at all, was he? There's more to this than a mere landing error I'm afraid, he sounded confused and detached from the task on his RT and although anyone can mis-speak a callsign once very few pilots indeed could bungle it so badly three times, and get confused whether they are in f/w or a helicopter, and fail to change frequency, AND when corrected not sound the least bit apologetic or even interested in what had just happened. Such an event almost invariably results in a much crisper finish to the exchange - he just sounded bored with the whole affair. That level of lip stall and tongue buffet is usually gone in a 20hr PPL stude. It's hard to tell with the sloppy American RT whther the content of the call was there or not (state QNH or readback clearance for instance?) but there's no hint of crispness in his transmissions, and that followed by the inexplicable taxiway landing suggests to me there is more to this than meets the eye. Indeed, he couldn't have sounded less like a light a/c PPL heading carefully and alert into heavy jet territory if he'd tried. In every photo I see of that airport the VFR runway jumps out at me and I have to look hard to identify where the taxiway is, let alone say I can actually "see" it with confidence - I just cannot imagine how anyone made that error especially if there was a monking great airliner sitting on the "threshold" too.
Last edited by noflynomore; 18th Feb 2017 at 12:47.
I am also surprised by the warmth towards this event. There was a 737 parked on the 'threshold' to HF's runway. He knew it was there and still flew over the top of it. His R/T was shambolic and distracted - at best he was not up to the task; at worst, he wasn't paying attention. Neither gets excused so easily for me.
Granted, we all make mistakes, but in aviation mistakes are often an indicator that someone needs more training or a change of licence. That decision is up to the FAA.
As for excusing the landing on the rationale that it's easy to mistake the taxiway for a runway... 172Driver's photo doesn't look like that to me:
I watched one of the videos that are out on news sites. I see that some of the previous news reports gave an incorrect impression.
It looks like Harrison wasn't faced with an airliner under his glide path when he started his approach. The route was clear and then the airliner taxied forwards so that only on reasonably short final was he presented with an airliner in front of him.
Thus the airliner taxied in front of an aircraft on approach to land -- although the airliner was in the right place and Harrison wasn't. It doesn't change anything else about what happened that day though.
I'm typing this 3 miles from KSNA, my "home base" as a private pilot. To cut through speculation about 20L being difficult to tell apart from Taxiway C, the runway has several cues:
Big "20" and "L" . Chevrons pointing to the threshold. White edge and centerline on 20L, yellow on Charlie per international standards. REIL (pair of strobes, "Runway End Identifier Lights", guess they didn't serve their purpose). VASIs on the right-hand side of the runway (side farthest away from C) IFR hold bars on both sides of the runway at intersecting taxiways.
20L is not a precision IFR runway, hence markings are VFR and better than most airports. As far as brown grass, it's very green right now due to our epic rainfall.
I hope it all works out for him...with the other errors and detached demeanor, perhaps a medical issue?
My first landing at KSNA was 1974. We parked the Citabria just off the threshold of what is now due east of 20L, a bit east of the taxiway in question. Landed there many times since, visiting my office, and a g/f. Back then, we were allowed to take off from the taxiway with 'pilot discretion'. I never landed on it, but I can see how it is done. I've also landed there in a Piper J4(rear seat), C-210N, and a few other things. I've made one approach to 20R, but broke off and switched to the left at request of tower(fairly common).
I don't think they should put piano bars on 20L. If we are going to be confused about 20L being a runway or not, the trouble with adding piano bars is now it may look too much like 20R! Even though it is much shorter and narrower. Also, it has had chevrons on it for decades, and of course the taxiway never had them.
Ford uses his toys on unimproved strips, back country strips, and all over the country in and out of narrow and short landing fields. The taxiway he was lined up for prolly looked like a mega-runway to someone used to the sight picture of an 1800'x25' paved or gravel runway. Given that he was in the Husky, and that he's landed the heli in unimproved areas, this may have thrown off his aim.
The last thing one wants to do at KSNA as a PPL is interfere with 20R that has major traffic from Al overcast(well, 737s anyway) planes. Getting run over on short final by a comm plane would ruin everyone's day. So - I always cheated to the left a little, even on quiet times, just so I would NEVER be a burden, or make a mistake of 20R for 20L. I think this might be fairly common with PPLs like myself, but it's only op-ed. If one cheats to the left a little, and rolls out a bit early from downwind, it might be easy to line up with the taxiway, and leave it at that - knowing you would not be interfering with 20R.
Having said all this blather, there is no excuse, and no matter his celebrity, we are all the same once we strap on the plane. A series of small mistakes along the way portend that he wasn't really up to the challenge of aviating at his best. If I had made this mistake(I'm not perfect), and were mid-70s age, I would call the FAA, prostrate myself, issue the most formal of mea-culpa, schedule proactive radio and landing training, take my 709 ride, and do anything they asked. I might also go on a SoCal radio or talk show and apologize to the fans and other pilots out there that he has to mollify to stay in the good graces and be allowed to retain his privilege for a bit longer.
YMMV, don't try this at home, contents have settled, and may cause anal leakage.