Related Accidents / Incidents

Korean Airlines Flight 084 and Southcentral Air Flight 59

At 1406 Yukon standard time, on December 23, 1983, Korean Air Lines Flight 084, a scheduled cargo flight from Anchorage, Alaska, to Los Angeles, California, collided head-or with Southcentral Air Flight 59, a scheduled commuter flight from Anchorage to Kenai, Alaska, on runway 6L-24R at Anchorage International Airport. Both flights had filed instrument flight rules flight plans, and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The Southcentral Air Piper PA-31-350 was destroyed by the collision impact, and the Korean Air Lines McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 was destroyed by impact and post-impact fire. Of the eight passengers aboard Flight 59, three were slightly injured. The pilot was not injured. The three crewmembers on Flight 084 sustained serious injuries.

Singapore Airlines Flight 006 Accident

On October 31, 2000, Singapore Airlines flight 006, a Boeing 747, crashed during an attempted takeoff from a partially closed runway at Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, Taoyuan, Taiwan. 136 of the 179 occupants aboard the airplane, 83 were killed. The report by Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council found that the pilots did not adequately review the taxi route to ensure that they understood that the route to runway 5L (the correct departure runway) required passing runway 5R (a parallel runway that was under construction and open only for taxi operations).

The report also stated that the pilots did not verify the airplane's position with the taxi route as they were turning onto the runway and that the company's operations manual did not include a procedure to confirm an airplane's position on the active runway before initiating takeoff. The report concluded that the flight crew lost situational awareness and took off from the wrong runway despite numerous available cues that provided information about the airplane's position on the airport.137 The Aviation Safety Council recommended that Singapore Airlines "include in all company pre-takeoff checklists an item formally requiring positive visual identification and confirmation of the correct takeoff runway."

China Airlines Flight 011 Incident

On January 25, 2002, China Airlines flight 011, an Airbus A340, departed from a taxiway at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, instead of the assigned runway. The available distance on the taxiway was 6,800 feet, but the airplane's calculated takeoff distance was 7,746 feet. The airplane took off, but its main landing gear left impressions in a snow berm at the end of the taxiway. The airplane proceeded to its destination and landed without further incident.

The Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this incident was the captain's selection of a taxiway instead of a runway for takeoff and the flight crew's inadequate coordination of the departure, which resulted in a departure from a taxiway. The Board determined that a contributing factor to the incident was the lack of an operator requirement for the flight crew to verbalize and verify the runway in use before takeoff.138 As a result of this incident, China Airlines modified its Airbus A340 operating manual to include verbalization and verification of the runway in use.

Alaska Airlines Flight 61 Incident

On October 30, 2006, Alaska Airlines flight 61, a Boeing 737, took off from runway 34R instead of runway 34C (center), which was the assigned runway, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Seattle, Washington. The airplane continued uneventfully to its destination of Juneau International Airport, Juneau, Alaska. According to the captain of the flight, the ATIS that was current at the time indicated that departing aircraft were taking off either with the full length of runway 34R or at the point where the runway intersected taxiway Q. The first officer of the flight stated that the takeoff briefing included a departure from runway 34R.

The captain stated that the controller instructed the flight crew to follow a Boeing 757 to runway 34R and that the 757 departed from runway 34R where the runway intersected taxiway Q. The captain also stated that the controller instructed the crew to taxi the airplane into position and hold on runway 34C. Further, even though he repeated this information to the controller, the captain was still thinking that the airplane would be taking off from runway 34R. During this time, the first officer was completing flight paperwork and conducting other preflight activities. After receiving takeoff clearance from runway 34C from the controller, the captain stated that he lined up the airplane on runway 34R and transferred control of the airplane to the first officer.

The airplane departed uneventfully from runway 34R. According to the controller, he was scanning the runways and noticed that the airplane was rolling on runway 34R abeam the tower instead of runway 34C. Because there were no potential air traffic conflicts at the time, the controller thought that it would be safer to let the airplane depart from runway 34R than to have the pilots abort the takeoff. After the airplane had taken off, the controller informed the flight crew that the airplane had departed from the wrong runway.

United Airlines Flight 1404 Incident

On April 18, 2007, about 0625, United Airlines flight 1404, an Airbus A320, taxied onto a closed runway at Miami International Airport (MIA), Miami, Florida, and began its takeoff roll. Night VMC prevailed at the time. A NOTAM indicated that runway 9/27 was closed from 2300 on April 17 to 1000 on April 18; the NOTAM was included in the flight release paperwork. The runway closure was also included in the ATIS information broadcast. The flight crewmembers reported that they had the airport charts out and available. The controller told the flight crew to taxi the airplane to runway 30. The captain stated that he observed taxiway S almost directly opposite from the airplane's position and chose to make a left turn from taxiway S onto taxiway Q.

This parallel taxi route placed the airplane adjacent to runway 30, the assigned runway for takeoff. The captain stated that, as the airplane passed the intersection with taxiway T, he verified that the runway sign was for runway 30. The first officer stated that, during this time, he was busy with flight paperwork and was accomplishing flight control checks. Taxiway Q made a slight bend to the left after the intersection with taxiway T so that the taxiway was parallel with runway 27. The captain stated that he saw a runway, which he believed to be runway 30, when he looked to the right. The first officer called the tower and advised that the airplane was ready to depart on runway 30. The controller cleared the airplane for takeoff from runway 30 while the airplane was still on taxiway Q. The first officer acknowledged the clearance for takeoff but did not state the runway number for the departure. The captain stated that, as the airplane neared the end of taxiway Q, he observed the hold short line and that, because the airplane was cleared for takeoff, he chose to turn directly onto the runway without stopping and transfer control of the airplane to the first officer.

The first officer stated that his heading display was rotating to the right and in the correct direction to line up with the runway, which was still located to the right. The first officer stated that he advanced the throttles, and, just before they reached the cruise thrust position, the airplane's nose wheel light illuminated a truck flashing its lights on the right side of the runway. The captain and the first officer stated that they observed the truck at the same time. Simultaneously, the controller was querying the flight crew to determine whether the airplane was on runway 30. The first officer rejected the takeoff, and the captain assumed control of the airplane. Ramp personnel called the tower to advise that an airplane was on a closed runway, and the controller acknowledged this information. The controller subsequently advised the crew to use caution for workers and equipment on runway 27 and instructed the flight crew to taxi the airplane to runway 30.

The airplane then took off to its destination airport-Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Virginia-without further incident The pilots reported that the runway 27 edge lights were on. However, an airport engineer who witnessed the incident stated that he immediately scanned runway 27 after the event and noted that the runway edge lights were off.

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