Radio communication between Air Canada Pilots and ATC reveals how ‘greatest aviation disaster in history’ averted after plane’s near-miss with four other aircraft
An Air Canada plane with 140 people on board came within 30 metres of crashing onto two of four planes lined up to take off at San Francisco International Airport last week, according to a preliminary report Canadian air safety regulators released Thursday.
According to Telegraph newspaper;
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the incident where one of the carrier’s Airbus A320s arriving at night at San Francisco from Toronto was preparing to land on a runway, only for the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower to order the pilot to pull up after becoming aware of four aircraft lined up on the tarmac waiting to depart.
It is estimated the plane abandoned the landing at 400 feet, missing two aircraft on the ground by about 100 feet.
The FAA said Flight AC759 was cleared to land on a runway, but the pilot “inadvertently” navigated towards a parallel taxiway instead. It said the July 7 incident was “very rare”.
Air Canada, which is also investigating the incident, said its aircraft was carrying 135 passengers and five crew members.
The Aviation Herald reported that after being cleared to land the crew “queried the tower to confirm they were cleared to land advising they were seeing lights on the runway, the tower advised the runway was clear and they were clear to land indeed”.
However, another voice came over the radio to explain that the Air Canada plane was lined up with the taxiway. The ATC then immediately ordered the Air Canada pilot to pull up and make another approach. The plane landed safely 15 minutes later.