Radio On Wrong Frequency In Air Canada Incident


The pilot who landed an Air Canada A320 at San Francisco Airport in October after being ordered to go around told FAA investigators the radio was set to the wrong frequency. Documents obtained by the Toronto Globe and Mail under a freedom of information request said the unidentified pilot, who is based in Vancouver, said the radio was set properly to get the landing clearance but was not on the tower frequency when the controller made six transmissions ordering the abort. How the frequency was changed was not discussed. The controller called for the go-around because the flight that landed ahead of the Air Canada plane hadn’t cleared the runway.

The pilot told the FAA that in the absence of the tower information, he saw no reason to go around and he landed normally. “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.” While the crew was technically in violation of regulations by not monitoring the tower frequency it appears they won’t face any action from the FAA because the miscue “appears to not have been intentional.” The pilot took responsibility for the mishap and said he was neither fatigued nor feeling rushed during the approach and landing.