Near miss at SFO involving Air Canada A320 and four other aircraft

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  FDOS_UK 8 Aug 2017
at 07:51
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  • Craig Bright
    Moderator

    An Air Canada A320 was involved in a near miss at San Francisco Airport. The pilot apparently lined up with the taxiway rather than the landing runway, where four other aircraft were located, though fortunately it was able to pull up and land successfully on a second approach.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40571913


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    To be fair to AC, they did report seeing ‘lights on the runway’ to the tower and clarified that they were clear to land, at which stage it seems one of the pilots in the queue on the taxiway made a comment that got the controller’s attention and he ordered a go around, which AC immediately did – another pilot reported that the AC aircraft flew overhead their aircraft on the go around.

    Will be interesting to see what the subsequent report says, my moeny would be on a technical problem rather than human error, since the AC guys seemed situationally aware.


    Gin&Tonic
    Participant

    Didn’t Lgw have a number of similar incidents.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Yes and landing on vacant taxiways is a very infrequent, but not unknown event.

    What makes this case a little different is that there were several aircraft on the taxiway and without the go around, a disaster would hve been inevitable.


    canucklad
    Participant

    Surely, it would only have ended in disaster if the aircraft was in auto-land mode and the pilots weren’t paying attention.

    But it seems that it was a clear night and the aircraft was being flown on a manual approach.

    I wonder if atmospheric conditions, aligned with the aircrafts angle of descent lead to the flying equivalent of “railroad blindness” .
    The phenomenon occurs when for no explicable reason people stand frozen on the wrong train track not being able to judge correctly the safe track.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Surely, it would only have ended in disaster if the aircraft was in auto-land mode and the pilots weren’t paying attention.

    I wouldn’t be so confident – even with a ‘go around’ instruction and instant compliance, I believe that the separation with the first queueing aircraft was 29′ laterally and 100′ above the ground – very close.


    canucklad
    Participant

    FDOS, reading your numbers, my gut reaction was “holy S**t”..
    And assuming your figures are accurate , it’s not a near miss, better to call it what it really is….a near hit !!

    Transfer your distance numbers into a timeline , and it is very alarming indeed.

    Having experienced my own mid-air near miss in an Air Canada DC-9 over the suburbs of Chicago, I can state that it’s not something I’d want to do again. Very scary at the time and as I said, translate miss distance into time, and it really became my closest brush with death!!


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    “Surely, it would only have ended in disaster if the aircraft was in auto-land mode and the pilots weren’t paying attention.”

    Far less likely to happen in auto land as the computers fly the aircraft with more accuracy than the pilots. The clear night could explain why the pilots may have been looking outside, if one pilot had been looking inside they should have noticed the primary flight display showing an unacceptable deflection on the localiser… if lined up to land on the taxiway.

    As usual in these situations, I am sure all will be revealed in the subsequent investigation.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    “Surely, it would only have ended in disaster if the aircraft was in auto-land mode and the pilots weren’t paying attention.”

    Far less likely to happen in auto land as the computers fly the aircraft with more accuracy than the pilots. The clear night could explain why the pilots may have been looking outside, if one pilot had been looking inside they should have noticed the primary flight display showing an unacceptable deflection on the localiser… if lined up to land on the taxiway.

    As usual in these situations, I am sure all will be revealed in the subsequent investigation.

    Map shift and confirmation bias?


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    The worrying part for me is that whatevet wad the cause…2 pairs of experienced eyes thought they were lined up correctly for landing.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Is it possible for these 2 threads about the same subject to be merged..

    AC missed landing at SFO


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    Thanks MartynS was surprised it wasn’t on list so added. AC flight crews should still monitor the ILS instruments and aircraft computer exactly to check their visuals were correct that’s one reason for two pilots.
    Its not infrequent,and remember the old BA 747 that lined up on parallel road at LHR (many years ago) and last year the american airliner (SW A/L?) that landed at the wrong airfield.It only takes one!


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    ATW reports Canadian Govt. states near’hits’at 29’and 100′,200’and 300′.Gets more interesting by the day!


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    @flightlevel – good memory re: BA 747 – I’m trying to remember the details of this, but I think it was late ’80’s or early ’90’s and it almost landed on the roof of the Penta (now Renaissance) hotel. I think the BA skipper lost his job over the incident.

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