Back to Squawk list
  • 55

United And Alaska Airlines Aborted Landing In San Francisco To Avoid Hitting Southwest Airlines Jet

Submitted
On May 19, a United Airlines flight was forced to abort landing in order to avoid a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 on the runway. Then an Alaska Airlines jet aborted its landing, too. Air traffic control called out the Southwest pilot – “you shouldn’t be on the runway” – yet the FAA dismisses this in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle saying that there was no runway incursion (because of the aborted landings!) and that they “looked into the incident and determined the appropriate steps… (viewfromthewing.com) More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]


ghstark
Greg S 28
I guess the controller issued a "cleared for takeoff" instruction which was blocked. It's unsafe to takeoff because you *think* you heard a clearance somewhere in a garbled, stepped-on call. It seems to me that the SW pilot did absolutely everything correctly. And so did the other pilots. The only party not keeping up was the controller. She was reacting too slowly, other pilot called go around before the controller did, she should have realized it wasn't going to work and called for the missed approach before the pilots had to.
Propwash122
Peter Fuller 22
Controller issued SW takeoff clearance, but missed that SW never read it back. A clearance not read back is not a clearance received. SW and the controller shouldn’t have argued about it on the frequency, but responsibility for this whole situation is on the controller.
madrockradio
James Cross 21
Controller seemed to be the only one arguing, SW was just explaining that they never heard a clearance. They did it politely and professionally when ATC gave them an attitude.
sporty222
Brian Franklin 5
Understood but it seemed like she had her hands full at that time. Two go arounds and taxing at a very busy airport. My two cents worth
skylane777
John Nichols 3
Without hearing a clearance there is I'll clearance. STOP....
victorbravo77
victorbravo77 8
Communications between a/c and tower. Credit VASAviation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4cewwhcL5c
dnorthern
dnorthern 6
Controller should be fired
flygerold
Yes, absolutely. Did you believe what you talk ? 🙃
Relics
Relics 14
This might be the third incident I’ve read about the same controller at SFO, a major attitude problem that needs to be corrected immediately. There’s no ego in aviation.
Ricovandijk
Rico van Dijk 15
“Other than the Southwest pilot, who didn’t follow (and may not have internalized) instructions, everyone did everything right. But like many reason near-misses, the margin for safety was limited.”

What instruction didn’t SW follow? He was cleared to cross and line up and that’s what he did.
Though, I think in the same situation looking right into the landing lights of that heavy, I would have passed on that opportunity and take an extra minute for the family. But then I’m never in a rush unlike some others ;) Just take it easy people. Stress is unhealthy.
websanity
websanity 5
For goodness sake, isn't it time that aviation moved on from 1950's voice communications radio technology?
uapilot
uapilot 4
Datalink critical and rapid paced comms? Oh THATS a fine idea! I’ll stick to live vs data linked virtual!
bartmiller
bartmiller 4
The interesting question is what that should look like. Certain AM VHF radios are an archaic technology. Moving to FM and SSB would be a minimum improvements.

And how to integrate datalink in a way that single pilot operations can safely use. Plus the backwards compatibility issue of a huge fleet of existing aircraft.

There's a great need for a study group and design team to figure out what's the more effective path forward and try to set a schedule for getting there.
Rfengr
Michael Martin 3
Both FM and SSP would have issues in aviation.
FM has "Capture Effect" where the stronger signal will totally capture the receiver and block the weaker one.
SSB would have the advantage of hearing everything but because of fast moving aircraft, would suffer from Doppler Shift of the channel frequency and thus the voice frequency.

There is a need to think of something better.

Michael Martin - RF Consultants.
Rfengr
Michael Martin 3
On a 120 MHz radio Channel, at 550 Mph there would be a carrier and voice frequency shift would be just over 60 Hz.
Too much frequency shift for clear SSB.
GreggB57
Gregg Bender 1
Is there enough FM spectrum to accommodate aviation traffic?
vea542011
Sorry but the fault was from the controller, it’s no way the pilot will take off without his permission. I agreed with donor then. He or she should get fired.
bartmiller
bartmiller 5
The system worked. ATC is a collaborative effort between the pilots and controllers. No one is perfect and no communication is perfect, voice or data link. We listen to each, confirm by repeating what we're told, and question when things don't make sense, for our own aircraft or another.

During the Reagan era, there was a "zero tolerance" policy that forced pilots and controllers to shut up and not question mistakes because someone would be punished for a human error. That created an environment where errors were allowed to go unquestioned.

Data link is great but requires you to either have a second pilot to handles comms or take your eye away from the window or nav. And data link entries are just as error prone as voice.

Yes, two plane went around. We're trained for that. The default for every landing is a go around. Only if everything is fine, do you complete the landing. Just because we complete the landings most of the time, doesn't mean we shouldn't be ready for the inevitable. If you've taken an ATP checkride, probably on some landing, just before or as your wheels touchdown, the examiner quietly says "truck on the runway" and you better be ready to goose the throttles and be on the go.

I like stories like this one. Reminds us of what we need to do and shows that human redundancy in the system works.
bkoskie
Billy Koskie 9
The frequency of these types of incidents is increasing. Anyone who has a background in statistics will tell you that unless the trend is interrupted by action, an accident is only a matter of time.
ghstark
Greg S 14
They're definitely being reported in the media more frequently. Does anybody know if they're actually happening more frequently?
TiredTom
Tom Bruce 2
good point
patpylot
patrick baker 23
this incompetence is entirely on the tower, the FAA and other air traffic control entities.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

ToddBaldwin3
ToddBaldwin3 1
In what evidence are you basing that assertion on?
uapilot
uapilot -6
Clearly it was a joke. Your sensitive brain needs another chill pill DA
MikeMohle
Mike Mohle -4
D.I.E.
jbsimms
James Simms -5
Amazing how the comments in this thread receive positive votes yet mine are negative, which is not that much different…
21voyageur
21voyageur 8
The simple fact that there is a +/- vote count indicated on this site reflects the personalities of the emotionally needy and their desire for approval. Who cares?
fireftr
Dale Ballok -1
Different enough to warrant disapproval!
watkinssusan
for those of you using the term"czar",referencing the need for one to run/control the FAA,and also as a derogatory remark regarding some political figures,the term is derived from a russian word "tsar",meaing "king" or "monarch"..we need a competent PERSON who knows aviation well,who might just have a pilots license or have been a commercial pilot,and someone who can influence the hiring of responsible,competent people to staff the ATC towers at airports of all sizes..we are NOT in need of a monarch or king..we have enough people in politics who feel they have that title!these recent near misses etcetera,appear to be a lack of total communication /directions/instructions between various ATC personnel and the pilots involved..
4gloriajohns
Gloria Johns 1
I don't think anyone took it that literally ... or seriously.
gilgraham
gilgraham 6
Controller obviously at fault for not confirming readback, then tries to blame pilot "on frequency". THEN, has the gall to say "let's not argue on frequency" when the pilot merely informed her of his last clearance.
jhakunti
jhakunti 3
Controller was at fault. She lost control of the air traffic she was managing and the pilots had to takeover to see and avoid. Plain and simple. Retrain the controller for having a nasty attitude when she failed to keep aircraft separated.
amerson
Rick Amerson 3
Sounds like the controller was having a bad day. She should have stayed home and not brought her attitude to work. If that's her regular attitude, she should not be in the high-stress position of controller of any kind. Controllers must ALWAYS be very professional, which all pilots involved were. Her snap-back to the pilot was inappropriate. Likely she felt threatened because she knew it was her mistake.

The controller gets feedback from the pilot not only on the radio, but also from looking out the tower window to the runway. There's a reason the tower has very large windows and sits just off the runway. When the plane did not do what she had cleared it to do, she should have repeated the instruction, figuring her call was stepped on. If she needed him to expedite the taxi, she should have included that in the clearance.
gomedoc
Jon Schwartz 4
we don't know all the details but I hope these incidents are not the result of the loss of meritocracy in this country..
d0ugparker
Doug Parker 2
Looking around to see where the list's courtesy and mutual respect standard seems to have flown off to…
skylane777
John Nichols 2
Yikes. What happened to "no delay"? On a clear night, how could SWA not get the picture?

SWA In Austin took his sweet time to roll so FedEx could land.

What the Hell
Flighttrackerpro111
Astn D 2
Pro tip: DO NOT FLY WITH SOUTHWEST FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS
Ricovandijk
Rico van Dijk 2
Other than the Southwest pilot, who didn’t follow (and may not have internalized) instructions, everyone did everything right. But like many reason near-misses, the margin for safety was limited.

What instruction didn’t SW follow? He was cleared to cross and line up and that’s what he did. I think in the same situation looking right into the landing lights of that heavy, I would have passed on that opportunity and take an extra minute for the family. But then I’m never in a rush like some others. Just take it easy people. Stress in unhealthy. :)
skylane777
John Nichols 1
You left out Alaska short final for 28R ... "Hold short" NOT "line up and wait..."

SW slow rolled a take off at Austin, jammed FedEx widebody
Into Go Around...
baingm
Gary Bain 1
Anyone wonder why the United flight was at 225 feet AGL a mile from the runway> Probably wasn't but the reporter obviously got it wrong as usual..
baingm
Gary Bain 1
Anyone wonder why the United flight was at 225 feet AGL a mile from the runway>
wentress1027
This definitely controller error
amerson
Rick Amerson 1
KSFO is the worst airport I've flown to. KIAD and KLAX are both fabulous and professional as are most airports around the country.
chandrahas
The voice over radio has lots of crackling noise.. Why is so much noise at such a short distance from each other..?
Cessna157
Cessna157 1
This is like being on the other side of the room seeing 2 people standing next to each other talking and asking “why are they talking so quiet, I can’t hear them”.
gaylewoods
Gayle Woods 1
It would appear that the sky's are becoming way to congested around larger airports which creates a very unsafe environment. It is only a small matter of time before the next disaster.
craiglgood
Craig Good 1
The system is too antiquated. Clearances should be texted, with vox coms used just as a backup or for urgent messages.
victorcarreno
victor carreno 1
Aviation gentlemen and ladies. I disagree with some of the comments of blame and firing. The controller issues a clearance to SW1179 to cross RWY 28L and line up and wait on 28R. SW1179 acknowledges the clearance and starts to cross 28L. The crossing is very slow. UAL277 is cleared to land on RWY 28L. UAL277 declares the go around 30 seconds after SW1179 has been issued the cross RWY 28L clearance. The takeoff clearance for SW1179 has not been issued yet. Hence, the go around of UAL277 has nothing to do with the takeoff clearance being received or not received. Although there is no fault on the SW1179 pilot being slow, in a busy airport like SFO, taking 1:27 seconds to cross RWY 28L and linen up on RWY 28R is a long time.
Furthermore, the pilot says "we never got that clearance, somebody blocked it" and then in a later transmission "The last clearance we got was for a line-up and wait" which is unnecessary and crowding a frequency that is extremely busy.
If landing and taking off is happening every 90 seconds like in this airport, there will be times when aircraft are going to go around due to runway occupancy.
skylane777
John Nichols 3
You left out Alaska on short final to land 28L
SW should have been directed to "hold short of 28L" " landing traffic" NOT "line up and wait...."
stofer
Pat Barry 0
The comments ignore that there are intersecting runways at SFO, and they land inbound across the Bay and depart on the other runway to the north. United was inbound over the Bay with a landing clearance from the Tower controller.
Meantime, Southwest got a prior taxi clearance from Ground frequency to taxi to the active and the
"Line up and wait" was a modification of the prior clearance.
Understand, there are two frequencies here -- Tower and Ground. Southwest is listening to Ground, not Tower. Southwest would change to Tower once off the taxiway and onto the active departure runway.
This was a controller error, but media made it sound like a Southwest pilot error.
TiredTom
Tom Bruce 7
no no no...once they reach the end of taxiway they go to tower frequency and ONLY tower can clear a taxiing plane to cross runway threshold...
dnorthern
dnorthern -1
While the administration has been hammering airlines over nonsensical issues ( see SOTU address), the FAA is ignored
jbsimms
James Simms -7
I have no need to travel by air @ the present time. But if I did; I’d give it second thoughts considering the sad state of air travel, air traffic control, & the type of ATC candidates being hired w/in the US & strongly consider driving.
uapilot
uapilot -6
Agreed! From first hand knowledge and observation. Also be aware the “woke” idiots are everywhere. Thank their terrible parents for that!
darjr26
darjr26 2
Are you ex-Continental?
4gloriajohns
Gloria Johns 1
I wondered which idiot would bring up politics.
fabedk
E Kaufman -1
Glad you aren’t my parent.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

punkrawk78
Silent Bob 9
I don't know what SWA did to hurt you, but you sure do carry quite the grudge.
ghstark
Greg S 12
SW pilot did everything correctly.
ko25701
ko25701 4
SWA has a stellar safety record for decades. If you weren't a good fit for their culture, I'm glad you found another place to work.
uapilot
uapilot 4
Ummmmm Midway? Burbank? Decades? Personally I’ve seen them cut many safety corners in my 28 years flying at a major…most of those on here are pilot wannabes so your opinions are just that!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

johntaylor571
John Taylor 10
It might help if President Biden appointed an Administrator who actually knew what caused a plane to stall instead of "diversity hires". And the agency is still without an Administrator. I don't care who the president is, he/she needs to be choosing quality people for these jobs regardless of race or gender. The FAA needs an Administrator who know the industry and what needs to be done, and they need one now. Who needs a czar if a capable administrator is hired?
4gloriajohns
Gloria Johns 0
What Black people (diversity hires, unqualified people) are you talking about that are in the upper echelon of the FAA? Are there people of color who have filled these leadership roles? Exactly what diversity hires are you talking about? Name names! None. Don't try so hard to be a bigot.
pjshield
pjshield 1
Well, Kamala Harris is a Border Czar, so there's that.
godutch
godutch -4
What's wrong with Buttigieg being the czar? He's competitant?!? Right?🤣😭😉
Nooge
Nooge 0
lets put Comer and Gym on it

Give them something useful to do
godutch
godutch -2
***competent
Nooge
Nooge -3
"One of Trump's great advantages is he talks at a level where third, fourth and fifth grade educations can say, oh, yeah, I get that," Gingrich said. "I understand it."
dnorthern
dnorthern -5
Kinda my point. With the present administration’s exaggerations regarding airlines (and other matters), the appointment of a czar would be u surprising

And not to mention her abject failure re the border
Nooge
Nooge -1
Abject failures are eating Sheet Sandwiches today
4gloriajohns
Gloria Johns 1
What are sheet sandwiches? And did I just say something dirty without knowing it?
Nooge
Nooge -5
You have MAGA-tosis

It is offensive
dnorthern
dnorthern -7
Kinda my point. With the present administration’s exaggerations regarding airlines (and other matters), the appointment of a czar would be u surprising
Nooge
Nooge -6
I guess you never picked up the former Commander in Cheats administration’s exaggerations !!!

Newt understands

"One of Trump's great advantages is he talks at a level where third, fourth and fifth grade educations can say, oh, yeah, I get that," Gingrich said. "I understand it."

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Login

Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from FlightAware.com. We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.
Dismiss