Safety board is­sues fi­nal re­port in 2017 Air Canada near-col­li­sion

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - NEWS - DAVID KOENIG

Safety of­fi­cials say a near-col­li­sion of air­lin­ers in San Fran­cisco last year was a few feet from be­com­ing the worst crash in avi­a­tion his­tory and un­der­scores the need for faster re­port­ing of dan­ger­ous in­ci­dents be­fore ev­i­dence is lost.

The Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board is­sued a fi­nal re­port on Thurs­day on the in­ci­dent in which an Air Canada jet nearly crashed into planes lined up on the ground at San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The pi­lots were slow to re­port the in­ci­dent to su­pe­ri­ors. By the time they did, the plane had made an­other flight and the cock­pit voice record­ing of the close call was recorded over.

The NTSB says the record­ing could have helped in­ves­ti­ga­tors un­der­stand why the Air Canada pi­lots missed the run­way and were about to land on a taxi­way where four other planes were idling be­fore they aborted their land­ing.

The Air Canada jet swooped to just 60 feet above the ground while pass­ing over other planes packed with pas­sen­gers wait­ing to take off shortly be­fore mid­night on July 7, 2017.

NSB board mem­ber, Earl We ener, said the Air Canada plane came within feet of hit­ting an­other plane and col­lid­ing with sev­eral oth­ers.

The dead­li­est avi­a­tion ac­ci­dent oc­curred in 1977, when two Boe­ing 747 jets col­lided on a run­way in Tener­ife on the Ca­nary Is­lands, leav­ing 583 peo­ple dead.

The NTSB is con­sid­er­ing rec­om­mend­ing that cock­pit recorders cap­ture the last 25 hours of fly­ing time, up from two hours un­der cur­rent rules. Board mem­ber Mr. Weener also crit­i­cized the air­line in­dus­try’s reliance on self-re­port­ing of safety is­sues.

Air Canada told the NTSB it has taken steps to in­crease safety since the event, in­clud­ing em­pha­siz­ing proper pro­ce­dures for land­ing ap­proaches.

The NTSB rec­om­mended de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy to bet­ter warn pi­lots and air-traf­fic con­trollers when a plane ap­pears to be off-course for a run­way.

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