NTSB considers investigation of Alaska Airlines pilot's mistaken landing on Sea-Tac taxiway.


New York (AirGuide - Inside Air Travel) The National Transportation Safety Board is reviewing an incident on the Dec. 19 when a pilot landed an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 jet on a Seattle-Tacoma International Airport taxiway instead of a runway. The regulatory agency has not yet opened an investigation. Meanwhile Alaska Airlines is conducting its own investigation into the incident, as is the Federal Aviation Administration. The Tango taxiway, where the pilot landed, is the strip of concrete between the third or right runway, bottom of photo, and the center runway. Both runways have dark strips from tire impacts while the taxiway is white. Nobody was hurt in the incident in which the Alaska pilot seemingly mistook the taxiway for a parallel runway while approaching the airport from the north. The mistake could have been a disaster had another aircraft been on the taxiway. The runway and taxiway are the same length - about 9,400 feet - and are only 600 feet apart. The newly paved center runway would not yet have accumulated the dark tire marks characteristic of a heavily used runway, and so the light-colored concrete may have looked similar on both. Spokesman Peter Knudson said a decision on whether the NTSB will open an investigation could be weeks away. The regulatory agency has not yet determined the Dec. 19 incident is something it will look into, but "anything is possible," Knudson said. Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said the airline will release more information once its own investigation is completed. She declined to further discuss the incident or the status of pilots involved. "We'll be looking at everything involved in this situation," she said. In 2011 the NTSB closed a previous investigation about a 2004 incident in which an Air Canada turboprop aircraft landed on the same Sea-Tac taxiway, named Tango, after mistaking it for a nearby runway. Early on in that investigation, Sea-Tac marked the taxiway with a giant "X" so pilots would know not to land there. Since then...

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