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JAL plane aborts landing after car spotted on runway at Tokushima airport

20 Comments

A JAL flight was forced to make an emergency takeoff seconds after landing after a car got in front of it on the runway at Tokushima airport on Sunday.

Flight 455 from Haneda airport approached the runway at around 11 a.m. after having been cleared for landing by the control tower, Fuji TV reported. However, as the Boeing 767's back wheels touched down, the pilot noticed a white car driving on the runway about 800 meters ahead. The pilot immediately took the plane up in order to avoid a collision. About 25 minutes later, the plane was able to land safely. None of the 67 passengers and crew suffered any injuries, airport officials said.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the car was a maintenance vehicle which had gone out to fix a malfunctioning runway light. However, the control tower operator had forgotten about it when he gave the pilot the all-clear to land.

There are normally four people on duty in the control tower on weekdays, but only one on weekends. The airport is used jointly by civilian aircraft and the Air Self-Defense Forces which operates the control tower.

The transport ministry on Monday dispatched two accident investigators to look into the incident further.

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20 Comments
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Most airliner incidents are attributed to human error. This is no different. I'm sure there will be more diligence on the part of the tower personnel for the foreseeable future.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Glad this incident didn't turn out to be an accident. Lucky it didn't happen in the evening.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Someone done goofed.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Need more critical thinking and fewer silos.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kudos to the pilot.

And to the person or persons in the white car, we all hate going through airport security, but this is ridiculous.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Great pilot and I hope nobody loses their job for the mistake.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

There are normally four people on duty in the control tower, but at the time of the incident, there was only one.

If the airport is staffed by the same type of people who work at normal Japanese companies, the other three were all probably on the toilet playing smart phone games. If I visit a client at a Japanese office at any time of day, I will usually find that half the desks in the office are empty, and all of the toilet stalls are occupied.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

It can not be stated enough how good a job that JAL 767 pilot performed by making such a quick decision to go from reversing engine thrust, applying spoilers and brakes as the main wheels touched the runway to applying full power which takes longer for the engines to react to than our cars do to spool up to full and getting back into the air without striking that car on the runway AND ALL IN 800 metres traveling between 200-260Km/h. 800 metres at that speed goes by in seconds. That's a job well done!!!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

This is why most airports installed ground radar--it tracks the movement not only of airplanes, but service vehicles as they move around runways and taxiways. Ground radar at airports became widely used after what happened at Tenerife in 1977, when a KLM 747 collided with a Pan Am 747 on the runway because the control tower couldn't monitor ground movements of the airplanes in the dense fog during that crash.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

....and THIS is why you practice " Touch 'n Go's " while doing Flight Training....good job Mon' Cap'itano~.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The responsibility clearly falls on the tower for not keeping track of an authorized maintenance vehicle.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

not really a big airport, 41 flights a day and that's with the military sharing the field- newark has 402,000. the last time it was close to 41 was in 1957 - then it was only a measly 61 per day in 1939

the pilot was well trained, the maintenance staff had checked in, yes the tower made a mistake- but as someone else said- that's why you practice touch and go

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good pilot. Looks like they're going to need more controllers on the weekends after this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would of done the same thing though it was a tough time to abort the landing.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think all vehicles that have runway access should also be required to have large flashing lights.

What if this was at night time? Boom.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Needless black eye for the JMSDF. Looks like some of their ATC personnel there will be getting some extra military instruction...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Based on the video, the pilot had already identified the incursion and initiated the go-around before the mains touched down. He had the plane airborne again as soon as the mains had contacted the tarmac. Very professional execution.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@praack

"newark has 402,000"

While I'm sure it is more than 41 flights per day, I think that number is a little on the high side.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@praack

albaleo's right. 402,000 flights a day at Newark is ninety a minute. Not very probable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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