NTSB, FAA To Investigate Air Canada SFO Near-miss
The US FAA is investigating an incident at San Francisco airport last week where an Air Canada aircraft appeared to attempt a landing on a taxiway.
The incident happened late Friday evening as Air Canada flight AC759 from Toronto was attempting to land at SFO. The aircraft was cleared to land on runway 28R, but the pilot appeared to line up on a taxiway a few feet from the assigned runway.
The pilot was informed of the mistake only after a pilot of an aircraft waiting to takeoff from the same runway alerted air traffic control to the approach of the Air Canada A320.
The flight controller ordered a go-around to avert what could have been a serious accident. Four aircraft were on the taxiway waiting their turn to takeoff on the runway Air Canada should have landed on.
The Canadian plane completed a go-around and landed safely a few minutes later.
Flight tracking web sites showed the Airbus descending to about 200 feet on its approach, before increasing speed and altitude, narrowly missing the four waiting planes. The aircraft on the taxiway were three from United Airlines and one Philippine Airlines plane.
The pilot that alerted ATC to the Air Canada approach was reported to be from one of the United planes.
San Francisco International has runways that are fairly close together. Runways 28L and 28R are only a few feet apart, but 28L was not in service late on Friday when the incident took place. It is not clear why the Air Canada pilot wrongly identified a taxiway as a live runway when attempting to land.
The US National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday joined the FAA in the investigation into the incident.
Air Canada would not comment, saying the incident is under investigation.