The words “near miss” in the aviation community make even the most jaded pilot pucker. What it means is that there was nearly a seriously bad accident, and it goes without saying that any time two aircraft are in an “accident”, nothing will be good about the situation.
The aircraft you see taxiing on the ramp is an Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A340-300. As it taxis across an active runway, you see another plane on final approach to land. That aircraft, a UTAir Boeing 767-300, executed an emergency go-around and landed safely.
Here’s why people are freaking out about the video:
- That kind of situation is never supposed to happen. Air Traffic Controllers monitor all traffic around an airport as large as Barcelona. If the Boeing was cleared to land, the Airbus should’ve been stopped short of the runway until the Boeing had landed and left the runway.
- If you are a passenger in a commercial jet that does an emergency go-around, you freak the hell out. It’s full power and immediate climb, something you won’t be told about beforehand. I’m sure Chad can assure anyone who doubts that the pilots won’t brief you. As someone who has piloted before, safety is first, screaming passenger is a bit further down the list.
- The biggest aviation incident that is not the 9/11 terrorist attacks is Tenerife. In 1977, two Boeing 747s, one belonging to Pan Am, one to KLM, had an incident. The KLM did not get proper clearance to take off, Pan Am had not cleared off the runway, and when the KLM pilot realized that there was a 747 in the way of takeoff, tried climbing, but ultimately tore through the Pan Am aircraft. 583 people died, all 248 on the KLM aircraft and 335 out of 396 on the Pan Am aircraft. Tenerife is the lesson on aircraft position management for controllers. Had the pilot in the 767 not paid attention and had landed, casualties would’ve been high: The 767 can hold up to 269 passengers and the Airbus can hold up to 440, not counting crews.
What the UTAir pilot does is exactly perfect. The go-around was performed flawlessly, they circled and landed like normal.
Click play below to watch a very close call at Barcelona: