stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Failure to communicate: Air Canada pilot blames switched radio channel for close call in San Francisco
space
space
By ERIC ATKINS
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Thursday, January 11, 2018 – Page A1

The pilot of an Air Canada plane that landed at San Francisco International Airport despite repeated orders to abort the touchdown told U.S. investigators the crew could not hear the commands because the cockpit radio's frequency had been changed, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The Airbus 320 from Montreal was within 2.1 kilometres of touching down at about 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 when an air-traffic controller ordered the plane to abandon the landing because another passenger jet had not cleared the runway. When the Air Canada crew failed to respond, the controller repeated the "go around" command six times.

The tower then took the unusual step of flashing a red light at the cockpit in a final attempt to wave it off, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said.

The orders went unheeded. After the pilot landed safely, he told the tower he had radio trouble.

The air-traffic controller replied, "That's pretty evident," according to a recording of the communications from LiveATC.net.

In a postincident interview, the pilot told FAA investigators he received clearance to land before the radio frequency was changed, but did not say who switched the channel or why, according to FAA reports obtained by The Globe in a Freedom of Information request.

"After receiving landing clearance from SFO [San Francisco] tower, the VHF radio frequency was changed to another frequency. The runway was clear and in sight so I landed," the pilot said. "After clearing the runway is when we discovered that the tower did try to communicate with us but we did not hear any communications until on the ground."

The FAA said the pilot's failure to monitor radio communications is a violation of federal aviation regulations, but "appears to not have been intentional."

The incident report said the other plane was clear of the runway when Air Canada landed, but it was not clear if "all parts" of the plane had crossed the holding line on the taxiway.

The close call is the second recent incident involving Air Canada passenger jets making nighttime landings at San Francisco and raises questions about Canada's rules governing pilot flight time and fatigue.

On July 7, an Air Canada pilot nearly landed on a taxiway occupied by four other planes.

The incident, which could have involved hundreds of passengers and crew members, was averted when the Air Canada crew aborted the landing 59 feet above the ground, flying over the jets waiting to take off just before midnight local time.

Speaking about the Oct. 22 incident, retired pilot John Cox speculated fatigue could have made the pilot less aware the normally busy radio had gone silent.

A crew member likely switched the console-mounted radio to another frequency by mistake, said Mr. Cox, who flew for 48 years. "It's likely that they never knew they didn't have radio communication," he said.

Air Canada declined to comment.

The Vancouver-based pilot's name, age and other identifying information were blacked out in the FAA documents obtained by The Globe.

According to the report, the pilot had flown a total of 26,000 hours, including 7,500 in the Airbus model involved in the incident.

The pilot told investigators it was his first flight of the day and he had been on duty for 10 hours with eight or more hours of rest in the previous 24 hours.

He said he believed fatigue played no role in the incident and he was not feeling rushed, according to the report.

Airline industry experts say Canada's rules on pilot flight duty times are more lax than those of the United States, Europe and many other countries. Canadian pilots, who adhere to Canadian rules when they fly internationally, are allowed to be at the controls more hours in a month and are entitled to less rest between flying than pilots in most other countries.

Canadian rules permit flight crews to be at work for 14 hours, compared with nine to 13 or 14 hours for pilots in the United States and Europe.

"When you compare Canada's rule to the U.S., Europe and others, there's probably only two or three countries with more lax rules than us," said Dan Adamus, the president of the Canadian branch of the Air Line Pilots Association.

Clinton Marquardt, an industry fatigue consultant and a former Transportation Safety Board investigator, said pilots' working conditions make them vulnerable to fatigue and their abilities to operate safely can suffer.

"One of the challenges pilots have is they're expected to sleep at all different times during the day. And their body takes time to adjust to new sleep periods," Mr. Marquardt said.

The Canadian government has proposed new rules for pilot flight duty and rest, noting "the current Canadian regulatory regime does not reflect the scientific principles and knowledge on fatigue that were only discovered and understood in the last few decades," according to a Transport Canada summary of the proposed rules.

The final version of the new rules is expected to be issued early in 2018.

Large passenger airlines will have 12 months to comply.

Pilot groups say the new rules are not tough enough and place airlines' financial interests ahead of passenger and crew safety.

"The good news is we're on our way to a new rule. The bad news is it's not as robust as it should be," Mr. Adamus of the Air Line Pilots Association said.

Under the proposed rules, flight duty time, which includes pre- and postflight work, is reduced from 14 hours to a range of nine to 13 hours, depending on the time of day the pilot started work.

Yearly flight time is capped at 1,000 hours, down from 1,200 hours.

However, the Air Canada pilots union says the new rules will allow pilots whose long-range flights begin in the late afternoon or evening to fly for more hours than their U.S. counterparts.

Mr. Adamus, a pilot with Jazz Aviation, said the new rules are silent on a pilot's maximum daily flight time, compared with the United States' eight or nine hours or the 81/2 hours recommended by NASA.

Risk of collision or "loss of separation" accounted for 139 of 833 incidents in Canada in 2016, according to Canada's Transportation Safety Board. TSB data show landings account for the vast majority of aircraft accidents in Canada between 2007 and 2016.

Since the July near miss, the FAA has changed the rules governing night landings at San Francisco. When an adjacent runway is closed, pilots must use instruments or satellite-based systems to land, and cannot rely solely on a visual approach.

Additionally, the FAA now requires two air-traffic controllers be on duty during busy nighttime periods.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Rob_Carrick Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page