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Old 11th Jul 2017, 01:16   #1 (permalink)
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Near miss with 5 airliners waiting for T/O on taxiway "C" in SFO!

Anyone with more info or possibly the ATC tapes of an incident in SFO, on Friday July 07, just before midnight local time?
Apparently an Air Canada jet cleared to land on 28R had lined up with the parallel taxiway "C".
There were up to 5 "heavies" full of fuel and pax waiting for T/O on that taxiway.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Captain of UA 001, (a 787 bound for SIN) may have said something on the Tower frequency to get the pilot's attention and causing them to go around!
Perhaps averting the most horrific aviation disaster in history!
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 01:40   #2 (permalink)
 
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*sigh*

What breathless nonsense. In visual conditions there's no way anyone's landing on an occupied strip of pavement, night or not. ATC may have ordered a go-around but that doesn't mean the AC crew hadn't already noticed their error. If the aircraft on C were waiting to take off they would have been at the threshold end and clearly visible.

It certainly wasn't anything close to a disaster. An embarrassing, recoverable error if true, at most.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 01:44   #3 (permalink)
 
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FAA investigating after incident at SFO where Air Canada flight nearly landed on taxiway | abc7news.com
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 02:28   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolimitholdem View Post
*sigh*

What breathless nonsense. In visual conditions there's no way anyone's landing on an occupied strip of pavement, night or not. ATC may have ordered a go-around but that doesn't mean the AC crew hadn't already noticed their error. If the aircraft on C were waiting to take off they would have been at the threshold end and clearly visible.

It certainly wasn't anything close to a disaster. An embarrassing, recoverable error if true, at most.
Well, the Air Canada 759 folks asked why they saw lights on the runway.

The discussion starts at about 25:40 into this clip:

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/ks...2017-0630Z.mp3

An edited transcript from the news article linked in the previous post:

Quote:
AC759: "Tower, just want to confirm. This is Air Canada 759. We see lights on the runway there. Across the runway. Can you confirm are we cleared to land?"

SFO TOWER: "Confirmed cleared to land. Runway 28 Right. There's no one on 2-8 Right but you."

"Where's this guy going? He's on the taxiway," the other pilot said.

SFO TOWER: "Air Canada, go around."

AC759: "Going around. Air Canada 759."

SFO TOWER: Air Canada looks like you were lined up for Charlie there. Fly heading 280. Climb maintain 3,000."

AC759: "Heading 2-8-0, 3,000 Air Canada 759."

UA001 PILOT: "United One, Air Canada just flew directly over us."

SFO TOWER: "Yeah, I saw that."
Nothing close to a disaster? Breathless nonsense? Well, a little close for me...

AC 759 was an A320 from YYZ. The other aircraft lined up on C behind UA 1 were PR 115, UA 863 and UA 1118. A lot of beacons.

There was a discussion on the thread about the Air Canada YHZ crash that implied that the AC A320's didn't have updated avionics. Was that a player here? Did they have a map shift that lined up perfectly with the taxiway? Obviously they knew there weren't supposed to be planes on the runway but they sure didn't seem to catch the error in time if they overflew United on the tower called go around.

Usual caveats, we mustn't speculate, a report will be out in a year or two, Harrison Ford will be called as an expert witness etc...
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 02:33   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
What breathless nonsense.
Breathless - agreed. AC pilots did question their clearance and what they were aiming for.

But...

Quote:
In visual conditions there's no way anyone's landing on an occupied strip of pavement, night or not.
It has happened before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USAir_Flight_1493

But at SFO, the runway has a honking big array of approach lights, and the taxiway does not. I'd find it hard to confuse one for the other, even more so at night.

Perhaps a database error? EDIT: I see that idea occured to airbubba, too.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 03:45   #6 (permalink)
 
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Was the ILS out?
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 03:57   #7 (permalink)
 
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Brings added meaning to the phrase, "see something, say something".
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 04:42   #8 (permalink)
 
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From the SFO noise monitoring web page a comparison of the tracks of AC 759 on the go around and a few aircraft that landed in the preceding minutes:

Looks like they indeed nailed the taxiway for the line up.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 170711ACA759 on C - Copy.JPG (83.6 KB, 1501 views)

Last edited by Airbubba; 11th Jul 2017 at 05:34.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 05:28   #9 (permalink)
 
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Hard to figure how this could happen on a visual approach at night...

Quote:
Exclusive: SFO near miss might have triggered ‘greatest aviation disaster in history’

By Matthias Gafni | mgafni@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: July 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm | UPDATED: July 10, 2017 at 9:06 pm

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 appropriate runway.

Sitting on Taxiway C shortly before midnight were four fully-loaded airplanes full of passengers and gas awaiting permission to take-off, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the “rare” incident. An air traffic controller sent the Air Canada Airbus 320 on a “go-around” — an unusual event where pilots must pull-up and circle around to try again — before landing safely, 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.
Exclusive: Air Canada near-miss at SFO sparks FAA probe
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 07:00   #10 (permalink)
 
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Screenshot from SFO WebTrak. The parallel track is the same aircraft landing after the GA:



Heights shown on WebTrak systems are usually AAL, corrected for QNH and to the nearest 100', though that may not be the case for SFO.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 07:14   #11 (permalink)
 
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interesting to know if the approach lights and localizer were functioning
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 07:25   #12 (permalink)
 
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Well, USAir 1493 did: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USAir_Flight_1493

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolimitholdem View Post
In visual conditions there's no way anyone's landing on an occupied strip of pavement, night or not.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 07:45   #13 (permalink)
 
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Maybe the ILS and approach lights for 28L were OTS. The AC crew saw the lights for 28R, mistook them for 28L and then approached the illuminated strip (TWY C) to the right of 28R, thinking that was 28R?

Similar thing happened at Gatwick in the late 80s(?). A BIA BAC1-11 actually landed on TWY J instead of RW08L. RW08R was closed but the crew saw the bright approach lights for 08L, assumed they were still on for the closed runway and mistook the dim taxiway lighting for RW08L. There was another aircraft taxiing out for departure at the far end but he/she made a rapid exit when they saw the 1-11 flaring for landing right ahead of them!

The tyre marks were visible on the taxiway for months afterwards.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 09:16   #14 (permalink)
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From the transcript it is obvious the Air Canada crew could see the aircraft where they planned to land - that's why they asked ATC the question about them. From that point there was no danger of collision; even if ATC didn't order the go-round at some point the crew would have. Unless you think they would have thought, "what the hell, lets just land on top of them anyway.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 10:11   #15 (permalink)
 
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Still, in 2017 this should not happen.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 10:39   #16 (permalink)
 
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Unless you think they would have thought, "what the hell, lets just land on top of them anyway.

no, but they might have come a lot closer before they realized it...good thing the guys on the taxiway were watching and saw it...yah wonder how much further they would have gone without the comment from the crew on the taxiway
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 10:41   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
From the transcript it is obvious the Air Canada crew could see the aircraft where they planned to land - that's why they asked ATC the question about them. From that point there was no danger of collision; even if ATC didn't order the go-round at some point the crew would have. Unless you think they would have thought, "what the hell, lets just land on top of them anyway".
Doubtless true.

But nevertheless satisfies a criterion for a "serious incident" per Annex 13:

"5. Landings or attempted landings on a closed or engaged runway, on a taxiway or unassigned runway"
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 10:47   #18 (permalink)
 
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'Twas night? Someone posted an altitude plot that read 200'. How tall are those 787 tails? How low do the undercarriage hang?
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 11:13   #19 (permalink)
 
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As others I'm pretty sure they would have not landed on top of the waiting aircrafts on the taxiway.

A more sinister scenario would have been for the taxiway to be empty up until the very last moment.
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Old 11th Jul 2017, 11:41   #20 (permalink)
 
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FMS bridge visual 28R is an offset approach which requires you to maneuver to the centerline.

It's very obvious which is the runway there, particularly on a clear night.

I can't imagine they were going to land on an aircraft. Again it's obvious where the runway is there. They were probably just not all the way over to the left yet and the go around was initiated with an abundance of caution.
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