A pilot with Air Canada avoided landing on the taxiway of the San Francisco International Airport by a whisker, averting disaster. According to the FAA, which is currently investigating the “rare” incident, the event took place a little before midnight. At the time, four airplanes full of passengers were sitting on the Taxiway C and were waiting for the green signal from the air traffic controller or ATC take off.

Flight narrowly avoids landing on taxiway

According to the agency, just before landing, the ATC sent the Airbus 320 a “go-around” message, which means that that the pilot needs to make the plane airborne air once again, circle around and land safely.

The investigators from FAA are still trying to understand how near the aircraft came to landing on the airport’s taxiway and potentially crashing into the four airplanes, which were standing. The near-disaster may have been averted, but it has created quite a stir in the aviation circles with experts trying to unravel what went awry.

What transpired and led to the near-mishap?

A spokesman for Air Canada shared that flight number AC759, which was coming from Toronto was able to land sans any incident after the go-around message was issued from the control towers. He further added that the company was “investigating the circumstances” and refrained from giving additional information. Spokesman from the San Francisco International Airport also did not comment on the incident.

Pilot lined the flight incorrectly, reveals the FAA

According to the FAA, the flight received clearance to land on a different runway i.e. 28R. This runway is parallel to the Taxiway C, on which the Air Canada airbus tried to land on its first attempt. The federal agency said that the pilot who was driving the aircraft manually had lined up the incorrect runway.

The audio exchange between the pilot and airport obtained by a news organization showed the Air Canada pilot asking the ATC in confusion whether he is cleared to land as he can see airplanes on the runway. In response to the question, the ATC said that there were no planes on the 28R.

Amid this confusion a third voice was heard in the recording (presumably of another pilot) who reveals that the Air Canada flight is going to land on the runway. The ATC quickly takes charge of the situation and gives the pilot a “go-around” signal. In addition he also informs him that he was lined up to land on Taxiway C.