An Air Canada Airbus 320 attempted to land on a taxiway at San Francisco International Airport on July 7, 2017, coming within seconds of a major collision with two other aircraft waiting in the taxiway. The Air Canada pilot mistook a crowded taxiway as the runway he had been assigned to land on. The pilot was ordered to go around by the control tower in the nick of time, avoiding a major catastrophe. New data released by the NTSB reveals the pilot had already flown over the tops of two other aircraft on the taxiway and descended as low as 81 feet above two other planes before aborting his landing attempt.
From Mercury News:
National Transportation Safety Board investigators said Monday in an initial report that Air Canada flight 759 from Toronto — with 140 passengers aboard — descended below 100 feet and aborted the landing “after overflying the first airplane on the taxiway.” Federal investigators interviewed the captain on Friday.
With each new revelation — the NTSB report being the latest, and perhaps the most alarming — it becomes ever clearer just how close SFO came to a historic disaster.
Ryan Jorgenson, a FlightAware senior aviation data analyst: “If everything lines up with my data and the timestamp from the audio, it’s amazing that the pilots were even able to go-around that late in the final approach.”
This video is amazing, it’s a video simulation of the entire event, in which the Air Canada plane was only 11 seconds away from colliding with a United plane waiting on the taxiway.
Landing on the taxiway can lead to the worst sort of disaster because more than one plane is involved in the crash. Harrison ford made a taxiway landing this last February. The deadliest aircraft disaster in history occurred on March 27, 1977 when two KLM 747s collided on the ground at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 564.