Second Navigational Blunder For Air Canada

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Could Air Canada flight crews be in for some refreshers on VFR procedures? For the second time in less than six months an Air Canada crew has committed an embarrassing navigational blunder while looking out the windows instead of scanning the panel. According to the NTSB incident report, on Jan. 19, a rare clear winter day in Seattle, the crew of an Air Canada Jazz Dash-8 lined up visually for an approach and landing on Taxiway Tango at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. They were supposed to be aiming for Runway 16R. As AVweb reported in September, an Air Canada A319, with gear down and flaps partially extended, was apparently intent on setting down at tiny Vernon Regional Airport (runway 75' x 3360') in British Columbia before the crew thought better of it and went looking for their real destination of Kelowna International, about 30 miles away. That incident also happened while the crew was flying VFR. Last month in Pennsylvania, a Shuttle America flight actually landed at the wrong airport. In the Seattle incident, the NTSB says the pilot mistook the taxiway for the runway because contrasting light conditions made him unable to see the big yellow X that usually discourages pilots from landing there (two other airliners have landed on the taxiway in the last five years). He suggested some lights and better markings on the taxiway would have alerted him to his error and allowed time for a go-around. He and his co-pilot have plenty of time to replay the incident in their minds, since the airline has suspended them pending an investigation. "Any situation like that we take quite seriously," Air Canada spokeswoman Debra Williams told The Vancouver Sun. Meanwhile, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board is conducting a full review of the A319 incident and its recommendations are expected later this year.