San Francisco: "Greatest aviation disaster in history" has been averted

San Francisco:

San Francisco: "Greatest aviation disaster in history" has been averted

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a close call Friday night at San Francisco International Airport.

It says Flight AC759 from Toronto was cleared to land on a runway last Friday, but the pilot "inadvertently" lined up for a taxiway where four aircraft were waiting to depart.

There were four airplanes lined up on Taxiway C waiting for departure when the Air Canada plane almost landed on the strip.

In an audio recording of the conversations between air traffic control and pilots available from Live ATC, the Air Canada pilot tells air traffic control he sees other lights on the runway before being told there are no other planes on 28R. At this point, the air traffic controller realised that something was amiss and asked the Air Canada flight to go for a go around - abort his current landing attempt and circle the airport in order to line up for another landing.

Air Canada flight 759, with 140 people on board, was coming in from Toronto.

FAA investigators are still trying to determine how close the Air Canada aircraft came to landing and potentially crashing into the four aircraft below, but the apparent pilot error already has the aviation industry buzzing. "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". "It looks like you were lined up for Charlie [Taxiway C] there", the air traffic controller told the pilot.

Air Canada Flight 759 was about to land on a parallel taxiway instead of the runway.

Captain Aimer said that if the tower hadn't been able to swiftly redirect the Air Canada plane, disaster would have followed.

'Yeah, I saw that guys, ' replies the tower. Can you confirm we're clear to land?

Another voice is heard saying, "Where's this guy going?". He said he's been contacted by pilots from across the country about the incident.

Controllers ordered the A320's pilots to go around, and the aircraft later landed safety. "As the investigation is still ongoing, we will not be making any additional statements on the incident at this time".

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