An A319 And A 3,300-Foot Strip...

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A Chain Of Errors

It's a time-honored homily that aircraft accidents are usually the result of a series of small errors compounding toward catastrophe. Fortunately, in this case, an experienced Air Canada crew was able to figure out that it was landing at the wrong airport before the A319 was set down on a runway not much wider than its landing gear and about 300 feet shorter than its minimum stopping distance. As AVweb reported in 2003, the Airbus in question was on its way to Kelowna International Airport in British Columbia in August of 2003 when the pilot lined up on the 3,300-by-75-foot runway at Vernon Regional Airport instead. According to the just-released Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) report on the incident, the plane, with 100 people aboard, was configured for landing and about 30 to 40 seconds from touchdown when the pilot called a go-around. According to flight data recorder information released by the TSB, the Airbus was 730 feet above ground level and 1.3 miles from the airport when the captain realized the error. He climbed to 6,000 feet and was given directions by Kelowna tower to the right runway.