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2 Air Canada planes have a near miss

Although this occurred on March 8,2020 it just goes to show you that reducing the number of aircraft flying doesn't reduce some dangers. Also makes you wonder what's going to happen at thousands of airports that now have almost no activity. It's nesting season, and birds will be very happy to have all this new airspace. The rule of unexpected consequences applies. ( More...

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jptq63 18
Kudos for pointing out how one must always be careful and paying attention no matter how “UN” busy the airspace may be at any moment in time. After reading the article and limiting my typing: note the incident was on “Take-off” not a “Landing” incident and that “Visual departure procedures were in place”. Relative info from article indicate the two aircraft were an E-190 and a 777-300, where the 777 was physically the plane behind / following the E190 on the taxi & take-off, and that the E190 aborted its take-off while “wheels were still on the runway”.

So the issue / item I wonder about was why were the folks in control of 777 not, apparently, upon moving to the runway, not looking in front of the plane down the runway and observing the prior plane was still on the ground, regardless of what any tower controller said?

The article does discuss other relative thoughts (hey, nice to see an article so well written with facts vs. BS for a change) and does note the 777 did stay clear of E190 (how much, I did not see it say), so maybe the E190 initially still appeared moving forward to the 777 as it powered up, and it took the necessary time for the 777 to react and come to a stop. I.e. I have been told to take a runway (and often cleared for take-off) while I could still see a prior aircraft on the runway.
djames225 6
"So the issue / item I wonder about was why were the folks in control of 777 not, apparently, upon moving to the runway, not looking in front of the plane down the runway and observing the prior plane was still on the ground, regardless of what any tower controller said?" My thots exactly..when immediately cleared to do a rollout onto the runway, then a "cleared for take-off", why would they not remain put and ask tower where the previous craft was since they could not, obviously, see it airborne yet, when it should have been.
This is sheer speculation, as I'm not familiar with Toronto Pearson in the least and I'm no pilot, but I can offer up at least a possibility of how pilots of the 777 could possibly lose an aircraft down a runway even on a bright, sunny day. One of the usual spotting locations at my local airport, Lambert in St. Louis, is a parking lot at the end of runway 11. When you're spotting there you get a very nice view down almost the entire length of the runway. I say almost because the runway isn't flat. When an aircraft begins its takeoff roll it's clearly visible, but a few thousand feet down the runway it drops out of sight completely for a good few seconds because there's a hill at the east end of the runway. You climb up for a minute and then drop down before you begin to actually climb out. And that hill is enough to fully obscure even a fairly sizable aircraft like a 737 or an A320 to an observer on the ground.

Now, if you're in a 777 a little closer to the top of the hill and quite a distance above the ground maybe you'd still be able to see an E190. And you really should notice that the aircraft you're following isn't visible climbing out. But I'd not want to bet my life on it. Could it be there's a similar hill at Pearson? I don't know that any runway outside maybe Kansas is truly completely flat. Could terrain be a part of our explanation?
Tom Bruce 2
should never have been cleared for takeoff
djames225 1
ATC cleared for takeoff within the 6000' rule. It is also up to the P.I.C. to pay attention to surroundings and when something isn't right, take notice and inform. While I agree that Embraer was not airborne yet, when cleared, 606's Captain should have noticed and taken action, telling ATC they did not see it airborne and to confirm NOT a "Roger AC-606 cleared for takeoff" and then start the takeoff roll.
Tom Bruce 4 an old tower controller I would NEVER have cleared the succeeding aircraft for takeoff until I was SURE the previous departing aircraft was 6000 ft+ and AIRBORNE... pilot wasn't watching...controller wasn't watching...
AWAAlum 2
I'm showing my ignorance here, but, how in all that's holy, could a controller issue the okay to take off while not watching?
Tom Bruce 1
I don't know...but there was a bog screwup on both parties
Jason Bell 5
Did the YYZ Tower controller really clear the B777 for takeoff or did the crew just go?

NavCanada doesn't clear multiple aircraft for takeoff unless VFR, like air shows, and only clears the lead plane with the rest following the leader.

This article sounds very odd. NavCanada Tower ATC launch IFR aircraft into the hands of departure radar, with their knowledge and consent, who establish radar contact to provide safe separation, then hand over to centre radar. This all sounds like a snafu by the 777. Could be the Tower messed up, but highly unlikely with supervisors and any 777 knowing that's it's at least 90 second wait time for standard staggered departure.
Tom Bruce 1
90 sec wait time? never heard of it... there may be a 90 sec wait after a "heavy jet" takeoff... but not after a 190

I would never issue a takeoff clearance until previous departure 6000 feet and airborne ... controller and pilot foulup
Jason Bell 2
Here's the CADORS report. Sure happened.

The Tower shouldn't issue those clearances and the 777 should be questioning the tower's decision.
Bill Olsen 9
So if the aircraft never actually hit each other, then in fact they missed each other. They didn't nearly miss or "near miss". It was in fact a "near hit" and should be noted as such.
I know the FAA calls it this but just because they don't use English correctly, why should we tolerate the miss use of this term. My near hit reports over the years have always used the correct term and sometimes those FSDO folks query the term "near hit". We are supposed to far miss all other aircraft. But when we are too close for comfort, we nearly hit the other aircraft. A near miss means you hit them but nearly missed them.
Atanu Dey 5
Bill Olsen, you beat me to it. My first impulse every time I read "near-miss" I say, "hey, that's a near hit, not a near miss."

What would a person rather be -- nearly downed or nearly saved? :) I would rather be near-drowned than near-saved!!
Chuck Hollis -6
Misses have degrees. A near miss means when you do not hit the object but are close. Didn’t hit the broadside of a barn is when Joe Biden shoots an “AR-14”.
Philip Lanum 0
A near miss is when you hit the target but just a little. Since there is no such thing as a AR-14 the barn is safe.

It should be reported as a near collision, the word hit is pretty wimpy sounding. (That is a AR-15)
Chuck Hollis 1
Partially correct in part one of your response. Which is why I put AR-14 in quotes. I wanted to quote the former VP accurately.
JedFR 7
6000ft AND airborne is the separation in that scenario. Tower was probably anticipating the airborne part like they had 1000s of times before until this time...
Keith Brown 3
"And airborne", exactly what I was going to say. It's been decades since I was a tower controller, and "anticipated separation" is a real thing, however, I don't remember it being an exception to the "and airborne" part. I had an almost 11,000 foot runway and one day the local aero club had an open house and I was (literally) landing and departing 3 airplanes at a time (think Oshkosh). It was tons of fun, perfectly safe and impressed a lot of folks, but very much within the rules. Light aircraft only need 3,000 feet of separation on the runway. At first, reading this article I thought it was a bit hyperbolic, but then realized this could have ended badly.
someguy 0
Exactly, 6000 and airborne (which as the article notes is an FAA standard, so I'm not sure why it's relevant unless the Canadians do it the same way—I don't know).

The way I was taught, if the second airplane is holding short of the runway you can anticipate separation (again, 6000 AND airborne) and issue takeoff clearance. But if the second guy is holding in position and you issue the clearance before 6000 and airborne, boom, loss of separation right there: the second plane has "begun takeoff roll" and you didn't have it.
Keith Brown 1
Yes I think you're right. Obviously I could go to the 7110.65 and figure it out, but it's much more fun to debate it on the Internet while we can't fiy or control. As for Canada vs. USA, not sure, but when I retired in 2013 it was pretty standard ICAO.
Tom Bruce 0
old tower controller too... I was taught never to anticipate or "bet on the come"..
lecompte2 11
The problems facing safety have crept up in aviation in the last 30 years or so and are getting worse, 1. pilots do not look out the window anymore, 2. pilots do not hand fly airplanes anymore, 3. pilots do what they are told by a multitude of people from management to air traffic control and everyone else. The system gives them responsibility only when there is a problem.
ron baird 1
Amen, Brother Ben!
Doug Parker 0
   ATC: "Cleared for takeoff,"


   ATC: "Cleared for takeoff following preceding wheels-up visual."
Doug Parker 3
Heterodyne. It contributed to the Tenerife airport disaster, March 27, 1977.
dicky11 1
Doug, that was exactly my first thought when I read the report. We need to get Marconi back and fix this issue???
Gene McAvoy 3
Cooled the brakes for 45 min....would loved to have seen those skid marks!
Gary Bain 3
Doubt there were any skid marks if the anti-skid was working.
lecompte2 2
Something sort of like this happened to me a long time ago on a short icy runway, and after my boss was asking me how much reverse I was using when I got very close to the end, the answer was don't know except there was a lot of noisy popping and banging. LOL
Tom Bruce 3
used to be an air controller...seemed most of our incidents occurred when there was little going on... controller and pilots let their guard down!
Tim Smith 2
The ground controller gets used to saying the same phrase over and over until it's not even a thought but a reflex.

You are in control of your aircraft Captian! Double-check that any instructions given by ground or ATC make sense.
djames225 1
Since many dislike the term near miss, which I concur it was not, let's just call it like it was...a "near catastrophe"
AWspicious13 1
I suspect it may have been a case of making assumptions during an assembly line of departures. Usually, 9 a.m / 10 a.m is a busy time for departures at Pearson. The controller, busy handling other aircraft, assumed the Embraer would be already climbing out by the time the Boeing was ready roll. The crew of the Boeing, making last minute checks, also assumed the Embraer would already be climbing out by the time they were given clearance to roll. Neither the controller nor the 777 crew kept their eyes on the Embraer.
While, it's true that bird strikes happen often and aborted take offs occur probably just as often, things may have been so routine... Enough so that everyone became a bit too complacent. I bet that won't happen again.
mmc7090 1
Even in the controlled environment the pilot in command has final authority in this case exercising poor judgment not observing liftoff? An excellent example of neophyte aviation skills.
Ted Reesor 1
Question from a non-aviation expert: Let's say the 777 Capt (through experience) wants to delay their T/O roll until they feel its sufficiently clear ahead. How long could they sit until the ATC starts barking at them? Are we talking 5 seconds? Consequences of doing so other than upsetting ATC?
djames225 3
If tower barked, or even before given that chance, all AC-606 had to do.."Tower, AC-606, are you positive that craft ahead of us has departed the runway? We have not seen any indication of being airborne" Tower would have/should have then noticed and AC-606 would have been told to hold.

By the time AC-606 got the callout to roll and lineup, then cleared for takeoff, AC-1037 should have been airborne already.
21voyageur 5
Captain calls the shot and is in the right to do so (especially in visual situation). ATC may question and ask for reason. Based on answer, indicate planned action (ex: move to exit ramp B and hold). Both groups are professionals, 99% of the time an agreement as to following actions made.
lecompte2 2
The Captain is in charge of his plane no matter what the controller will tell you. He of course must advise ATC of his decision as soon as he can and they will respond with an alternate action to take.
Bernie20910 1
A "near miss"? So then they hit?
Mike Petro -3
Near means "close to". Miss means didn't hit. Ergo, they got close but didn't hit.
Joel Pedlar 5
This reminds me of the George Carlin act about airports. He said "When two planes almost collide, they call it a near miss. It's a near hit! A collision is a near miss! 'Look, they nearly missed. Yep, but not quite!'"
dkenna 4
Carlin was hilarious! Near miss and pre-boarding. How do you pre-board an aircraft?
Bernie20910 1
Bernie20910 2
And "miss" means "not hitting". Put the two together and it's "close to not hitting", ergo, they hit. They came close to not hitting, but they hit.
Philip Lanum 1
Just use "near collision" that will get everyone's attention.
Steve Western 1
Air Canada seems to be playing Russian Roulette, it’s one potential disaster after another. I had nightmares for a month after hearing about the Air Canada aircraft that came way too close to landing on a loaded SFO taxiway. Maybe the crews aren’t getting enough rest.
lecompte2 1
Canada has the slackest crew rest regulations in the western world. And every minute of crew rest has had to be fought for by pilots over the years. And the fight goes on for airlines and even bush pilots.
djames225 1
Umm..ok..except I don't remember fighting any regulations. Granted AC's regiment for ensuring their pilots are within regulations is lackadaisical. Hopefully this opens Transport Canada's eyes and gives AC a boot in the arse.
lecompte2 0
Pilots fought for change in the MOT rules about crew rest and duty days and are still fighting through their associations and unions because they are below the standards of most other countries. Air Canada follows the rules as they are and would follow them if they were changed.
Steve Western 2
Help is on the way——

On Saturday, new Federal Aviation Administration rules about pilot rest took effect in America. The rules, which airlines were warned about two years ago, require that pilots have 10 hours of rest, including eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, in between their eight- or nine-hour shifts. That's up from eight hours of rest before—which didn't have to include uninterrupted sleep. The changes were prompted, in part, by the 2009 crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407.

Canadian Rest Rules (Dec 2018 article)
Transport Canada has cut maximum on-duty periods for pilots and tweaked pilot rest requirements in a move regulators describe as more-closely aligning Canadian rules with international standards.
When the new rule takes effect in two years for large airlines, duty days will capped at between 9h and 13h depending on factors like flight duration, the number of daily flights flown and duty start times.
A pilot scheduled to fly seven daily flights starting at midnight, for instance, will be limited to a 9h duty day, while a pilot flying four daily flights starting at 08:00 can be on duty for 13h, the rules say.
Transport Canada issued the new regulations on 12 December 2018 more than four years after formally proposing changes.
The new rule also trims annual flight time limits to 1,000h, down from 1,200h, and the limit is now 112h in 28 days, down from 120h in 30 days.
Transport Canada also tweaked rest period requirements, which were formerly set at 8h (plus time for meals, hygiene and travel) between duty periods. Now, pilots must have 10h rest in "suitable accommodation" when away from their home base, or, when at their home base, up to 12h.
The rule does, however, allow airlines with "unique operations" the flexibility to operate outside prescribed limits if they develop a "fatigue risk management system".

The new fatigue rules will limit pilots to 1,000 flight hours in any 365 consecutive days, compared with the 1,200-hour limit in current regulations. The new regulations will retain the existing 300-hour limit for 90 days and add a new requirement of no more than 112 flight hours in any 28 consecutive days. Currently, pilots may fly no more than 120 hours in any 30 consecutive days. The new regulations will eliminate the existing requirement of no more than 40 to 60 hours in any seven consecutive days.
The new regulations will set a maximum flight duty period of between nine and 13 hours, depending on starting time and sectors flown. The previous limit was about 14 hours.
The fatigue rules also will extend required rest periods from approximately eight hours under current rules to between 10 and 12 hours under the new rules.
djames225 0
Sorry but I disagree about Air Canada following the rules. I know 5 flight crew members who worked over the eloted time. Not much was done about it. So yes, they are lackadasical.
Steve Western 1
I agree the meat is in the details “ When the new rule takes effect in two years for large airlines” It’s going to be Dec-Jan before the new rules take effect. Even at that the airlines can play with the numbers based upon their fatigue information.
djames225 1
Air Canada very rarely has "unique situations" The 5 I mentioned are but just a few, and the situations are not unique. "Unique situations" are the times " airlines can play with the numbers based upon their fatigue information."
djames225 1
I was disagreeing with lecompte2 and his "Air Canada follows the rules as they are and would follow them if they were changed."
lecompte2 1
Just so you understand what you are talking about, Airlines do their planning and scheduling according to the rules, they never plan to exceed duty times or rest times it would create to many problems and cost too much to do this. Very rarely crews will break the rules for whatever reason of their own but NEVER at the request of the Airline, the safety implications are too important to play with. The beginning of this thread has to do with the evolution of crew rest, crew complement for long flights, number of legs and duty times and says that all changes for the better in Canada had to be fought for to get changed by the crews themselves, and Canada is still behind the majority to this day.
AWAAlum 1
Am I all alone in my dislike of the term "near miss" ?
paul gilpin 1
i don't understand aviation jargon, so i needed it explained to me.

i'll meet you on the tarmac.
Tom Bruce 1
would not clear an aircraft for takeoff until I insured prior aircraft 6000 feet down the runway AND airborne or taxied clear of the runway... from an old tower controller...can NEVER assume anything...
Geoff Arkley 1
"The Boeing had to hold on a taxiway to cool its brakes for around 45 minutes".
WHOA Big Girl Whoa!
Kudos to the 777 crew. Well avoided.
Robert Cowling -9
One huge difference is that in Canada, a private company runs their FAA control tower services, and here it's the actual FAA.

When they privatized the service, there was a HUGE increase in near misses, lost planes, etc. It was a real mess. Runway incursions skyrocketed, it was being used as a reason not to privatize the US FAA. They are still, obviously, not up to FAA standards, but it has gotten better.

Putting government functions in private hands does not come without costs.
Ian Reid 14
On the transfer date (1996) most, if not all, of the employees were Transport Canada controllers who just remained in their positions but were now working for Nav Canada. None of the procedures changed. The only thing that changed was the managing entity.
John Swallow 10
"When they privatized the service, there was a HUGE increase in near misses, lost planes, etc. It was a real mess."

As Col Potter was wont to intone: meadow muffins.

Source, please?

I flew in the system for many years after the switchover and it was seamless. Still professional service as before.

Methinks you put that in for not-so-altruistic reasons...
Robert Salton 6
Hi Robert, we don't use 'FAA' control towers, never have. No more than you guys used Transport Canada control towers. True, we now use NAV Canada control towers and they have done a fantastic & seamless transition. I have been flying in Canada since 1980, when the 'transition' took place there was nothing unusual or unsafe occurring, other than your day to day occurrences that even the FAA control towers suffer from. I would say they are on par.
djames225 3
Why don't you think before commenting NAVCanada and FAA work together on many aspects and this is 1 of them ''According to FAA rules on separation, takeoff clearance need not be withheld until separation is achieved if the controller anticipates the separation will exist when the following aircraft begins its takeoff roll. In fact, aircraft are allowed to begin their takeoff rolls when the forward plane is at least 6,000 feet down the runway ''
When the triple 7 OIC got the rollout call and clear for takeoff, he/she should have looked down the runway and seen if the Embraer was actually airborne. With a 6000' separation is needed, by the timne the triple 7 rolled onto the runway and began the roll, the Embraer should have been in the air (fully laden E190 is 6890 ft)
Archie Duiker 6
Reminds me of the time when Canada introduced daytime running lights on all new vehicles. Many Americans were blathering on about how it caused a huge increase in accidents due to opposing drivers being blinded in the daytime by the oncoming lights. Others reported Canadian’s headlights were burning out frequently due to constant use. All were unsubstantiated comments by ignorant people.
Steve Western -2
Horse Hockey! Americans don’t blather sir. Are you wearing your little Justin Trudeau “Trash the US” costume today?
SERIOUSLY NOW ???? I was 30 years in aviation and NEVER saw nor heard ANYTHING about the BS you are spouting. Where are your facts ? Surely you have some data to back this up ( you don't because it doesn't exist).
21voyageur -1
Hey Robert. Think then speak. That is the preferred order, not the reverse.
Doug Parker 0
All misses are misses.

A *near miss* is the missing of a miss, so a near miss is a hit. As others have said, they had a near hit.
Cory Baumann -1
This isn't good if that's the case.
AWAAlum 2
lol (pardon my mirth) but in what case would it be good?

[This poster has been suspended.]

pjshield 10
You think it's necessary to bring politics into an aviation forum? You've just won membership in DickHead of the Month Award.
21voyageur 2
Your medication is up for renewal. Please head to the pharmacy ASAP

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Get a grip of what?
belzybob 1
I can't get a grip of this US thing where aircraft are told "clear to land" when there can be other aircraft ahead in the landing sequence.
Tom Bruce 0
when I was a controller we were never allowed to issue a clearance until it was CLEAR... "#2 follow...on short final"... "continue approach"... never allowed to "bet on the come"... I don't like the current practice either...seems once you've cleared the second in line to land your attention may drift elsewhere


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