New data show how close jets came to crashing at SF airport | National News – Arizona News

New data show how close jets came to crashing at SF airport | National News – Arizona News

Newly released data and photos show how shockingly low an Air Canada jet was when it pulled up to avoid crashing into planes waiting on a San Francisco International Airport taxiway last month.

The Air Canada pilots mistook the taxiway for the runway next to it and flew their jet to just 59 feet (18 meters) above ground before pulling up to attempt another landing, according to National Transportation Safety Board information released Wednesday.

That’s barely taller than the four planes that were on the taxiway when the incident occurred late at night on July 7.

Pilots in a United Airlines plane alerted air traffic controllers about the off-course jet, while the crew of a Philippine Airlines jet behind it switched on their plane’s landing lights in an apparent last-ditch danger signal to Air Canada.

NTSB investigators said they have not determined probable cause for the incident that came within a few feet of becoming one of the worst disasters in aviation history.

“It was close, much too close,” said John Cox, a safety consultant and retired airline pilot.

The investigators said that as the Air Canada jet approached the taxiway just before midnight after a flight from Toronto, it was so far off course that it did not appear on a radar system used to prevent runway collisions.

Those systems were not designed to spot planes that are lined up to land on a taxiway — a rare occurrence, especially for airline pilots. But the Federal Aviation Administration is working…

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