As I first wrote about over two weeks ago, on Friday, July 7, 2017, an Air Canada flight had an incident at SFO. The A320 was flying from Toronto to San Francisco, and accidentally lined up with the taxiway instead of the runway. To make matters worse, there were four planes on the taxiway that were waiting to take off (a United 787 headed to Singapore, a Philippine Airlines A340 headed to Manila, a United 787 headed to Sydney, and a United 737 headed to Orlando), so you can imagine how much fuel they had.
The Air Canada pilots were clearly confused, because on final approach they asked air traffic control to confirm that the runway was clear, because they saw lights on it. Air traffic control confirmed the runway was clear. The Air Canada plane only realized it was about to land on the taxiway when the pilots of one of the planes waiting for takeoff told ATC what was going on.
Initially we thought this was a close call, though we didn’t actually know how close of a call it was. A week after the incident, data emerged about just how close of a call this really was. Data obtained at the time suggests that the plane was less than 50 feet above the tail of the plane on the taxiway, which is insane.
While I had seen recreations of the incident, it looks like there’s actual footage of what happened. Unfortunately it’s not a full video, but rather just frames, but it gives you a great sense of just how close this was. Here it is:
Just… wow. You can find the full NTSB report here.
(Tip of the hat to Woodrow)