I found the overhead picture of Sofia's airport to be of interest. My initial impression was "well, it is as wide as a runway ... easy mistake to make ... "
This post a bit further down by one of the commenters there cleared up some of my confusion.
Absolutely correct. Before the airport expansion completed in 2007, the Taxiway H used to be the runway. After building the new runway 09, it became the taxiway. However, up to now there have been no accidents of this kind for the last 5 years or so and Sofia Airport sees quite a lot of aircraft daily
What crossed my mind is the question of how often this crew had been to Sofia, and what went on during the pre-flight and pre-taxing crew briefings, what NAV/Chart data they had to hand, etcetera. I envision a less than joyful "tea and biscuits" session on return to home base.
On a more positive note, the alert controller caught them in time to avert anything worse than a red face or two. Well done.
EDIT: looks like firefly bob got ahead of me in the kudos department.
Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 19th Oct 2012 at 20:04.
It would be interesting to see the AF checklists and what the line up checks include. Some kind of FMS and navaid integrity cross check would almost definitely be included(?) to cross check departure position.
That said, the failure to verify visual cues (runway intersection holding point signage etc) is rather worrying.
The layout is not that unusual, a lot of airports have done the same reconstruction. Nice, for example, and they should be familiar with that one. Toulouse and Lyon also have wide parallel taxiways, and runways without centerline lighting. Charles de gaulle is not a very structured airport, you really have to pay attention with all the K1 K3 and so on.
The layout is not that unusual, a lot of airports have done the same reconstruction. Nice, for example, and they should be familiar with that one
Exactly. And how many (attempted) to take-off / land on the wrong runway? The answer is not "none" We certainly had specific airfield notes warning against it. And why have NCE invested in the world's largest flashing 'X', that you can see from 20K'
Whether or not Taxiway H used to be a runway is irrelevant in this incident. The visibility was at 4000m so that's another excuse out the window. Runway 09 is equipped with HIRL and CL. There would be no trace of those on H. Never mind the fact that all the crew would see is a yellow line with (perhaps?) green taxi lights instead of a plethora bright HIALS cross bar lights due to a significantly displaced threshold on RW09.
What most likely happened is crew fatigue, complacency or just plain not paying attention. Perhaps they had more pressing matters to discuss? I know I'm certainly not holier than thou when it comes to that, especially with crews I'm very familiar and comfortable with.
You can blame the airport layout, ATC or invent MAP cross-check SOP's. Or you could properly picture what exactly you should be seeing on line-up and then look out the window to verify that.
Just in from pub so usual caveats but - Now that there has been an incident, what measures should be taken to ensure that this strip is clearly and unmistakably marked as a taxiway. Would there have been a problem if they'd continued takeoff on the taxiway?