- Air Canada Flight AC781 failed to respond to air traffic control’s repeated commands to abort a landing and go around.
- Air Canada crew claims the plane suffered a radio problem.
- The incident took place Sunday evening at San Francisco International Airport.
- Air Canada had another incident at that airport in July that could’ve led to one of the worst air disasters in history.
The US Federal Aviation Administration confirmed it has launched an investigation after an Air Canada jet failed to respond to air traffic control’s repeated requests to abort its landing.
The incident occurred Sunday evening at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) less than four months after another Air Canada jet mistook a taxiway for a runway at the same airport, nearly causing one of the worst disasters in aviation history.
Air Canada Flight AC781, an Airbus A320 en route from Montreal, Canada, was on final approach to SFO when the incident took place.
“Air traffic control cleared the flight to land on Runway 28R and the Air Canada crew acknowledged the instruction when they were approximately 6 miles away from the airport,” an FAA spokesman told Business Insider in an email on Tuesday.
“The tower controller subsequently instructed the Air Canada crew multiple times to execute a go-around because he was not certain that a preceding arrival would be completely clear of the runway before the Air Canada jet reached the runway threshold.”
After the crew failed to respond to the controller, the ATC used a red light gun in an attempt to alert the crew and get them to go around.
“Flashing a light gun is standard protocol when an aircrew is not responding to radio instructions,” the FAA said.
However, the flight did not respond to the light gun either. Instead, it proceeded to land on runway 28R at 9:26 pm.
After landing, the Air Canada pilots told the tower that they experienced a radio problem. Fortunately, the no one was injured as the preceding aircraft had cleared the runway by the time AC781 landed.
In a statement to Business Insider, an Air Canada spokesman wrote:
Air Canada flight AC781, an Airbus A320 was travelling from Montreal to San Francisco on the evening of Oct. 22. After receiving proper clearance to land it proceeded to do so and landed normally. Upon landing the crew was informed the tower had attempted unsuccessfully to contact the aircraft, however, the message was not received by the crew. Air Canada is investigating the circumstances.
In July, Air Canada Flight AC759 mistook a taxiway for a runway at SFO, nearly landed on top of a row of airliners waiting in line to take off. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, that Air Canada jet was less than 60 ft from the ground before it climbed to safety.
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