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UpperDeck

SFO Incident

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UpperDeck    301

Why is this not a subject of discussion on this forum? Apparently on Friday past, an arriving AC aircraft was lined up for the taxiway rather than the assigned runway. There were 4 aircraft lined up on the taxiway.

The AC aircraft was directed (???) to go around and thereafter landed without incident.

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Malcolm    646
33 minutes ago, UpperDeck said:

Why is this not a subject of discussion on this forum? Apparently on Friday past, an arriving AC aircraft was lined up for the taxiway rather than the assigned runway. There were 4 aircraft lined up on the taxiway.

The AC aircraft was directed (???) to go around and thereafter landed without incident.

To be a subject of discussion, there would need to be some sort of Public Report of the incident.  Do you have one?

 

Never mind I just found one:

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

An Air Canada pilot on Friday night began his approach lining up to land on a taxiway full of airplanes, before being diverted and landing appropriately on a runway, according to the FAA. (Norm Betts/Bloomberg News archives)
By MATTHIAS GAFNI | mgafni@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: July 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm | UPDATED: July 10, 2017 at 6:22 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.

SFOgraphic

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 it initiated a “go-around.”

“We are still investigating the circumstances and therefore have no additional information to offer,” he said.

The SFO spokesman referred inquiries to the FAA, saying the airport had no comment on the event.

The aircraft had been cleared to land on Runway 28R, which runs parallel with that taxiway, according to the FAA. The pilot was flying the plane manually on a clear night when he lined up wrong, the federal agency said.

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

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How low was the AC flight when ordered to go-around? Did the crew of airplane #1 on the taxiway make a comment that the Airbus was pointed right at them?

I know...I know....wait for the report

edit: disregard.  Airband and I were typing at the same time....:)

Edited by vanishing point

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Jaydee    405

Having done lots of SFO approaches in the days of old and loving every one of them....and as super efficient as SFO is, am I the only one that thinks operating 4 crossing runways at once is nothing but an accident waiting to happen?

Edited by Jaydee

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UpperDeck    301

Happened Friday and in the Globe today. Maybe the Globe should be less concerned with awards and more concerned with timely reportage.

CRM...were BOTH pilots confused or, as suggested above, one somewhat reticent?

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UpperDeck    301

Forgive my ignorance but....on final, are tower communications handled by the pnf?

The voice on the recording is male.

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Malcolm    646

From the recording, the AC pilot saw something was wrong, questioned it and then took the necessary action to correct the problem.  

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Homerun    46

Was fatigue a factor?  This took place around 2:45am YYZ time.  

Questioning tower about landing/taxi lights on the runway and not immediately putting 2 and 2 together is indicative of a human brain being affected by fatigue, imo.

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Vsplat    286

Hmmm..  UD, were you involved?  Still unclear how you found out about this so early on.

Second, trying to determine who was the PF/PM (no longer PNF), what the source and reach of confusion was and who initiated what are all being handled by the NTSB.  I suspect it is not going to be as cut and dried as the press might like it.  The pilots challenged the aircraft lights, the controller, clearly not yet aware of the tracking issue, reassured them that the runway was clear. Technically correct, but under the circumstances, corrosive to situational awareness.  Perhaps workload prevented the controller from asking themselves, why would the aircraft on approach make that observation?

I note that the press is already playing the ATC tapes with the caption that they capture the 'panic in the air'.  That's a great example of why this stuff is best left to agencies that don't use hyperbole as an investigative tool.

Bear in mind that, at night, aircraft lights make things look a lot closer than they are.  The lateral track of the taxiway overflight is only half of the story.  the altitude is still unknown.

Also helpful to keep in mind that, from a safety standpoint, the procedure of offsetting the go around track from the runway VFR is still taught.  That can place the aircraft conducting the go around directly over a parallel taxiway. 

All that to say, I think this is going to come down to vertical separation, height at the commencement of the go around and crew discussions on the CVR, which thankfully we will not (or should not) have access to.

Vs

 

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boestar    600

VSPLAT:  You raised something I was going to ask.  Do commercial airliners deviate from the runway centreline during a go around as I was taught when I received my license?

I was taught to initiate the go around and move to the side of the runway which could potentially place you over an active taxiway

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Vsplat    286

boestar, simple answer is, it depends.  Normally a missed approach will track the approach course until past the missed approach point, then follow the publish missed approach course, or ATC issued track, with ATC taking precedence. 

That said, if the crew initiates the go around due to traffic on the runway, for example an aircraft slow on the takeoff roll, it is absolutely a good idea to offset.  It may not be possible to keep the traffic below in sight but clearly, for the first 400 feet at least, the departing aircraft is likely going to be on centreline, a good place not to be directly overhead.  Easier done on a narrowbody for sure.  I'm not sure I'd want to see an A380 try that from 100'

Vs

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blues deville    381

SFO has close sets of parallel runways with taxiways on either side. The entire airport is a tightly packed solid piece of asphalt.

Did the SFO tower controller call for the G/A after hearing the comments from the other aircraft waiting to depart 28R or was it based on his own (radar) information?

IMG_5882.PNG

Edited by blues deville

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boestar    600

Here is a video...not the greatest but I am not sure how you can make the mistake.  I know there could be factors at work here, and there must be, but the approach and PAPI and unmissable.

 

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blues deville    381
4 minutes ago, boestar said:

Here is a video...not the greatest but I am not sure how you can make the mistake.  I know there could be factors at work here, and there must be, but the approach and PAPI and unmissable.

 

Part of the problem (if in fact this was pilot error) could be the design of this airport. Perhaps several aircraft lined up on a parallel taxiway facing arriving traffic can generate lights which could be mistaken for CL lighting. Also, most US runways are 150' wide not 200' as is Canada. A night time arrival in VMC conditions at SFO can be a challenge visually. Backing up what you need to see electronically is critical.  

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boestar    600

I have problems at the best of times seeing an airport in a rural area let alone in a sea of lights like SFO.

I can only go by the video as I have never been there so I can only guess at what they saw.

 

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gator    14

Runway 28L was NOTAM'd closed according to comments on avherald. So, despite fact that SFO has excellent approach lighting systems, the lack thereof probably should have been a clue, there would have been 2 apparent lit surfaces and they, apparently, lined up for the right hand one. 

Edited by gator
removed detail to avoid circumventing the normal course of investigation
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Vsplat    286

gator, where did you get the information on the crew's schedule?

Edited by Vsplat
info request clarified

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acsidestick    101

BD, I agree that we'll have to see whether this is real, or a reaction to miscues from the pilot on the taxi way.  It's less than 150 feet to the runway and depending on how far back he was and wind, his nose could have been pointed anywhere.

 

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the hammer    0

Quote:

" ACA759 had overflown Taxiway C for approximately 0.25 miles when ATC instructed the
aircraft to go around. Four aircraft were positioned on Taxiway C at the time of the event. It is
estimated that ACA759 overflew the first two aircraft by 100 feet, the third one by 200 feet and the
last one by 300 feet. The closest lateral proximity between ACA759 and one of the four aircraft on
Taxiway C was 29 feet. The NTSB is investigating."

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dagger    460
6 hours ago, Vsplat said:

boestar, simple answer is, it depends.  Normally a missed approach will track the approach course until past the missed approach point, then follow the publish missed approach course, or ATC issued track, with ATC taking precedence. 

That said, if the crew initiates the go around due to traffic on the runway, for example an aircraft slow on the takeoff roll, it is absolutely a good idea to offset.  It may not be possible to keep the traffic below in sight but clearly, for the first 400 feet at least, the departing aircraft is likely going to be on centreline, a good place not to be directly overhead.  Easier done on a narrowbody for sure.  I'm not sure I'd want to see an A380 try that from 100'

Vs

Must happen often enough. Just experienced a go-around on an inbound 777-300ER because a plane ahead of us was slowing exiting the runway at YYZ. I must say, it's quite a rush getting a go-around on a 777, from gradually deceleration to whoosh, those GE-90s kick in. Luckily, not a touch and go, as that would have freaked out some passengers. Was perfectly handled, and a perfect landing. Quite different feeling from a takeoff when you are accelerating to get off the ground. 

Edited by dagger

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