A shocking new video shows just how close an Air Canada plane came to hitting four jump jets waiting to take off at San Francisco Airport earlier this month, when it tried to land on the taxiway instead of the runway.
Bay Area News Group created the animation, which uses data from FlightAware to chart Air Canada Flight 759’s near miss on July 7.
From The Daily Mail
The video also includes audio from the Air Traffic Control tower, which shows just how startling the near hit was for the pilots on the ground and in the air.
Earlier this week, federal investigators said that the close-call was even worse than it was first reported to be.
It has now been confirmed by federal investigators Air Canada flight 759 from Toronto was descending toward a taxiway holding four other planes rather than the assigned runway and narrowly avoided disaster at San Francisco International Airport on July 7 at 11.56pm.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the Air Canada Airbus A320 was cleared to land on runway 28R but instead lined up its approach for a parallel taxiway, which four other airliners were using to get in position to take off. In total, more than 1,000 people’s lives were put at risk in the incident.
New data obtained by The Mercury News reveals that the Air Canada plane was at roughly 106 feet in the air when it flew over the second fully loaded Philippine Airlines jet that was in the second place on the runway waiting for take off. The Air Canada plane was still continuing its descent when the pilot was told to abort the landing.
A flight crew member from a jet on the taxiway alerted both the Air Canada pilot and the air traffic controller over the radio about how close the Airbus 320 was to causing a disaster.
But once it passed the second plane, the Air Canada jet continued to drop as low as 81 feet above a United Airlines 787 plane – the third plane in line for takeoff – before it began to climb, The Mercury News reported.
Mountain View pilot Max Trescott, an aviation expert who is well aware of the incident, said that had the Air Canada pilot waited five more seconds to pull the jet up, the plane would have hit a United Airlines 787 plane headed to Sydney, Australia on flight 863.
‘I find it remarkable that the Air Canada crew had still not fully comprehended their situation as they were passing over the second airliner, when the tower called for the go-around,’ Trescott told the newspaper
Trescott added that at its lowest point of 81 feet, the Air Canada plane was only 26 feet above the top of the United Airlines flight 863 airplane’s tail.
Canadian authorities noted in their preliminary report that the Air Canada plane did not begin to climb until it had flown over a quarter-mile of the taxiway.
As the Airbus 320 pulled up sharply it flew 100 feet over the first two jets, 200 feet above the third and 300 feet over the fourth, the summary said. It then circled and landed safely.
‘This was very close to a catastrophic event,’ said John Cox, a safety consultant and retired airline pilot.
The NTSB said Monday it interviewed the captain of the Air Canada Airbus A320, and officials say they plan to speak with the co-pilot of the Air Canada flight Tuesday.
They will also finish talking to air traffic controllers by Wednesday about the potentially deadly incident.
In addition, federal officials have already recovered the flight’s data recorder and security camera video from SFO of the incident approach.
The video will be released once the public docket for this incident is opened in the next few months, according to the NTSB.