FAA investigates close call at San Francisco International Airport

Alicia Cross
July 12, 2017

The flight 759 Air Canada has almost caused what would have been one of the worst disasters in the history of aviation shortly before midnight last Friday at the global airport in San Francisco, California. For an unknown reason, the pilot of Air Canada flight AC759 straightened the plane out and began his descent towards the taxiway, which runs parallel to the runway, instead of the runway itself.

An air traffic controller ordered the jet to pull up and circle for another approach, and it landed without further incident.

Details are emerging about an apparent near-miss at San Francisco International Airport on Friday, in which a flight arriving from Toronto reportedly mistook a taxiway for a runway. It's unclear why the pilot did what he did.

In the recording, a United Airlines pilot is heard saying "United One, Air Canada just flew directly over us". "It looks like you were lined up for Charlie [Taxiway C] there", the air traffic controller told the pilot.

Another pilot asked, "Where's this guy going".

The FAA said it continues to investigate the distance between the plane and the other jets when it landed on the taxiway.

"Yeah I saw that guys", the control tower responds.

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The plane was an Airbus A320, which typically seats up to 150 passengers, according to the Airbus website.

An Air Canada spokesperson confirmed the incident to RT.com and said an investigation is underway.

The FAA, which described the incident as "very rare", is now investigating how close the Air Canada plane came to the four other jets sitting on the taxiway at the time.

Typically, incoming global planes air directed to one of two runways: 28L or 28R, referred to verbally as "28-Left" or "28-Right".

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, a former pilot said the plane avoided what could have been a "horrific" collision.

The Air Canada flight from Toronto was supposed to land on Runway 28R but nearly landed on the adjacent taxiway.

"We are still investigating the circumstances and therefore have no additional information to offer", Fitzpatrick added.
A spokesman for the airport said there would be no further comment.

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