Investigators Report that Taxiway Accidents Present Greatest Danger to U.S. Air Travelers


September 26, 2018

USA- The wsj.com reports that investigators have identified taxiway collisions as the leading threat to air travelers in the United States. The problem stems from planes lining up for landings on the taxiways instead of the runways. In some instances, planes even touch down on the taxiway.*

There have been a number of close calls,including one in which an Air Canada plane nearly landed on four other passenger planes that were lined up and waitingto depart from San Francisco. The error that occurred in San Francisco that day could have created the most terrible aviation disaster in U.S. history. 

Air Canada released a report about the incident stating that it was likely the result of inadequate lighting at SFO, and construction that was ongoing on one of the other runways. The situation on the ground apparently made it difficult for the pilot to tell the difference between the runway and taxiway. Immediately after the accident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) addressed the issue by requiring all pilots landing at SFO at night to carry out instrument landings rather than making visual approaches. 

A flight crew in charge of a Delta flight that landed a few minutes prior to the Air Canada flight came close to making the same mistake as the Air Canada flight crew. 

The airline says that the pilot and flight crew were not able to get direction from the “controller in charge.” An expert in aviation stated that the positions of Air Canada, of San Francisco, and of the FAA were all defensive. 

The aftermath of the incident exposed the fact Air Canada pilots are allowed to fly even after being up for 19 hours. The policy has been described as “very very dangerous.”

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