A Delta Air Lines plane approaching Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport almost landed on a taxiway that was occupied by another airplane, prompting a federal aviation safety investigation.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that Delta Flight 2196 from Indianapolis had been cleared to land on runway 09R about 11:06 on the morning of Nov. 29. Initially, the Delta plane was lined up properly with the runway, but about one mile from the runway the plane started to drift to the left, lining up with taxiway N where another Delta plane was taxiing.
Delta Flight 2196, a Boeing B737, descended to about 100 feet before aborting the landing for a go-around. The NTSB said that Delta 2196 did not overfly the occupied plane on the runway, but its tail was just 60 feet from the ground as the plane pitched upward to start the second landing attempt.
According to the NTSB, the first officer was at the controls as the plane descended to the runway, with the captain monitoring. The first officer told investigators that he thinks he may have overcorrected after drifting too far to the right of the runway and attempting to correct left.
The NTSB was notified of the incident on the following day and began its investigation. The agency said that it’s looking at operational factors, human performance, flight data recorder data, air traffic control, and meteorology. Parties to the investigation include the Air Line Pilots Association, Delta Air Lines, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
The NTSB is still investigating a July 7 incident at San Francisco International Airport involving Air Canada flight 759, which nearly landed on a crowded taxiway before being ordered to go-around. That airplane was just moments from crashing into four other loaded and fully fueled airplanes awaiting takeoff.