On Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board released an update on its investigation of the near-disaster involving an Air Canada jet’s aborted landing in San Francisco on July 7.
According to the NTSB, Air Canada Flight 759 was at just 85 feet of altitude when the pilots powered up its engines to abort the landing.
The Airbus A320 dipped to as low as 59 feet before climbing to safety.
“In post-incident interviews, both incident pilots stated that, during their first approach, they believed the lighted runway on their left was 28L and that they were lined up for 28R,” the NTSB report said.
“They also stated that they did not recall seeing aircraft on taxiway C but that something did not look right to them.”
Even though the pilots didn’t see any aircraft, there were, in fact, four fully loaded jets sitting on taxiway C awaiting takeoff. That means the Air Canada jet came within feet of colliding with three fueled and loaded widebody airliners. Air Canada declined to comment on the matter.
Along with the report, the NTSB released a set of photos and diagrams showing what transpired that evening. Take a look.
The first photo shows the four jets lined up on taxiway 3.
According to the report, the four planes on taxiway C were United Airlines Flight UAL 1, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner; Philippines Airlines Flight PAL 115, an Airbus A340; United Airlines Flight UAL 863, also a Boeing 787; and United Airlines Flight UAL 1118, a Boeing 737
The second photo shows Air Canada 759 approaching San Francisco International Airport when a pilot from United Flight 1 notifies air traffic control.
The report indicates that the Air Canada pilots flew too far to the right. Instead of lining up for runway 28L and 28R, the Air Canada jet lined up to land on taxiway C, which runs parallel to the runways. AC759 was supposed to land on runway 28R while 28L was closed at the time of the incident.
The third photo shows the point where UAL 1 tells air traffic control that Air Canada 759 is lined up for the taxiway.