Again? FAA investigates another Air Canada runway mix-up at SFO

SAN FRANCISCO — Just three months after an Air Canada plane nearly landed on a crowded SFO taxiway, the FAA has launched another investigation into why a second passenger jet from that airline Sunday ignored a San Francisco air traffic controller’s repeated order to abort a landing.

Air Canada Flight 781, an Airbus A320, was preparing to land at SFO on Runway 28-Right on Sunday night. The crew acknowledged the tower’s clearance to land when they were six miles away from the airport, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

However, as the plane approached, an air traffic controller repeatedly instructed the flight crew to execute a “go-around” — an aborted landing where the plane pulls up and circles around to approach again — because the tower was not certain if an earlier arriving plane had fully cleared the runway.

“The Air Canada crew did not acknowledge any of the controller’s instructions,” Gregor said.

As the plane got closer to landing, a tower supervisor used a red light gun to alert the crew to abort the landing. A flashing light gun is “standard protocol” when an air crew is not responding to radio instructions, Gregor said.

However, despite all those attempts to abort the landing, the Air Canada plane still landed on Runway 28R at 9:26 p.m., Gregor said. Fortunately, radar showed, after the fact, that the plane the tower had feared was still on the runway had actually cleared the area.

The Air Canada crew after it landed safely, alerted the tower it had a radio problem, Gregor said.

The FAA is investigating the incident.

Sunday’s incident follows a stunning July 7 near-collision involving the same airline, airport and runway.

In that episode, Air Canada Flight 759 mistook a crowded taxiway for Runway 29R and flew as low as 59 feet off the ground before the pilot aborted his landing, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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