NTSB: Air Canada close-call at SFO was even worse than first reported
New data reveal 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.
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By MATTHIAS GAFNI | Bay Area News Group
SAN FRANCISCO — As a wayward Air Canada pilot guided his plane toward a landing on a crowded SFO taxiway July 7 in a now-infamous near-disaster, he passed over one fully loaded jet — and was directly over a second jet — before he was finally ordered to abort the landing by an air traffic controller, according to startling new information by federal investigators and an independent review.
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.
A time stamp at 11:56:07 p.m. on July 7 shows the exact moment an air traffic controller ordered an Air Canada pilot to abort his landing. The Airbus 320 had already flown over one jet and was just above another. The dots show a second-by-second account of the Air Canada's flight path...(Courtesy of FlightAware)
New data obtained exclusively by this news organization add to the picture, showing that the Air Canada plane was just flying over a second fully loaded Philippine Airlines jet at 106 feet in the air — still continuing its descent — when an SFO air traffic controller finally warned him to abort his landing. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said...