Bright lights baffled exhausted pilots before near-collision in San Francisco

Bright lights baffled tired pilots before near-collision in San Francisco

The National Transportation Safety Board released footage this week of an Air Canada plane coming within 10 feet of other jets on the runway at San Francisco International Airport last year, one of a number of close calls to plague the airport in recent years.

Air Canada has not said if action was taken against the pilot and first officer, who told investigators they felt exhausted after manoeuvring around thunderstorms earlier in the flight.

The pilot and co-pilot reported being drained after flying from Toronto, in keeping with the NTSB report.

"Upon landing the crew was informed the tower had attempted unsuccessfully to contact the aircraft, however, the message was not received by the crew". The incident "resulted in several actions" that were not specified in the report.

Some instructors described the first officer as "nervous" and a "weak candidate".

The captain cited a late flight the night before as throwing off "his sleep cycle a little bit", but both men said they felt well-rested before starting the flight to SFO.

Air Canada has not said if either man was disciplined.

Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said Wednesday that more lights have been added to the runways; a confusing taxiway has been closed; and a ground radar system has been reinforced to give pilots a greater level of precision when landing.

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Following the incident, an Air Canada spokesperson released a statement stating that the airline was still "investigating the circumstances" of the incident. As a substitute, they have to use instrument touchdown programs or satellite-based programs to line up for the right runway.

"The captain of that flight further reported that the aircraft on taxiway C were stopped and had their taxi lights off, which 'helped to create this misconception that taxiway C was Runway 28R, ' " the NTSB report found.

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration re-certified the airport after an in-depth review of its operations.

The agency said the A320 with 140 people aboard was headed for a taxiway because the pilots had mistaken it for a runway.

Realising the potential disaster, air controllers instructed the pilot to abort the landing and climb immediately.

The tail on the Boeing 787 that was first in line on the taxiway is nearly 56 feet high, according to the company's website. "The FAA deemed this event to be an isolated occurrence and not reflective of any systematic deficiencies at Air Canada". "A supervisor then used a red light gun to alert the crew to go around" until the other plane was off the runway.

But on the runway, a Philippine Air jet appears directly in its path.

On Jan. 9, Aeromexico Flight 668 lined up for the wrong runway, where a Virgin America jet was waiting for takeoff. Federal authorities have determined most of the close-calls reported since December 2016 at the busy San Francisco International Airport were caused by pilots.

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