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It’s probably no coincidence that a few weeks before it released recommendations and supporting materials designed to educate pilots on the dangers of wrong surface landings that a Gulfstream crew attempted a wrong surface landing.
The NTSB released its preliminary report on the incident in which a Gulfstream on a charter flight lined up for a taxiway at Philadelphia International. The G-IV was aiming at Taxiway E instead of Runway 35, the runway it had been cleared to land on. The NTSB said the big bizjet came within 200 feet of four “air carrier airplanes” that were on Taxiway Echo.
Last year the actor Harrison Ford infamously lined up and landed on a taxiway at John Wayne Santa Ana International Airport in Southern California. Also, last year on a nighttime arrival an Air Canada Airbus A320 came perilously close, perhaps as close as 10 feet, to hitting a United Airlines 787 jet, and three other jets, as they were on the taxiway the Air Canada jet had mistaken for Runway 28R, the runway it was cleared to land on. The Air Canada A320 initiated a go-around at the last moment. Later its captain said he’d thought the plane was much higher than it actually was when the go-around was begun. See the video on the San Francisco near miss here.
These latest near misses underscore the idea that even very experienced pilots are at risk of wrong-surface landings. To see our coverage of the FAA’s advice on how to avoid being on the news, check out our story here.