Viator by TripAdvisor

Published on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Air Canada near-miss close to being the 'greatest aviation disaster in history'

A quick thinking air traffic controller at San Francisco Airport managed to avert what may have been the 'greatest aviation disaster in history.'

An Air Canada jet was making its descent into SFO but wrongly lined up to land on a taxiway.

The taxiway runs parallel with Runway 28R and had four other aircraft loaded with passengers lined up awaiting permission to take off.

Noticing the off target approach, the air controller ordered the Air Canada pilot to pull up and go around again.

"It looks like you were lined up for Charlie (Taxiway C) there, the controller can be heard saying on ATC audio, the Mercury News reported.

A United Airlines pilot on the ground can be heard saying: "United One, Air Canada flew directly over us."

Former United Airlines Capt. Ross Aimer, now CEO of Aero Consulting Experts, said it came close to becoming an unparalleled catastrophe with a likely huge loss of life.

"If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history. If you could imagine an Airbus colliding with four passenger aircraft wide bodies, full of fuel and passengers, then you can imagine how horrific this could have been," he said.

An Air Canada spokesman said Flight AC759 from Toronto then 'landed normally without incident' on the second attempt.

The FAA is investigating and trying to determine exactly how close the Air Canada jet came to disaster.

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  • Pilot or air controller error?

    It seems to me that this near-miss incident may have have been caused by vague/unclear landing instructions by an air controller.

    By Joe Forest, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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