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Report: Serious snow sweeper runway incursion incident with Canadian Boeing 727
6 January 2015
Visual depiction of the event (TSB)

Visual depiction of the event (TSB)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released the investigation report on an incident in which a Boeing 727 cargo plane was forced to abort the takeoff because there were snow sweepers on the active runway.

On 19 March 2013, at 02:08 at night, a Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter Boeing 727-281F operating as KFA273, was departing on runway 30 at Hamilton’s Airport in Canada as two snow sweepers were working near the departure end of the runway. During the take-off roll, the air traffic controller instructed the aircraft to abort the take-off. The aircraft came to a stop at approximately the half-way point of the 10 006-foot long runway, separated from the snow sweepers by approximately 1200 feet (365 m). There were no injuries or damage.

The investigation found that during issuance of the take-off clearance, the snow sweepers were observed on the runway, and the controller instructed the aircraft to standby rather than using standard phraseology to cancel the take-off. Furthermore, the flight crew began to read back the take-off clearance before the controller released the push-to-talk and in doing so, did not hear the controller’s instruction to standby. The controller then instructed the snow sweepers to exit the runway. While waiting for the vehicles to exit, the controller’s attention was focused on other tasks. When the controller’s attention returned to runway 30 and the aircraft on the take-off roll, an immediate instruction was issued to abort the take-off.

After this occurrence, Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter Ltd. issued a memo to all flight crews discussing Air Traffic Control (ATC)-initiated Rejected Takeoffs, and standard terminology. Also, during the course of their next recurrent flight training cycle, all pilots were exposed to ATC-initiated Rejected Take-offs, and these scenarios will be the subject of periodic review in recurrent training exercises.

The risk of collisions on runways is a TSB Watchlist issue. The Board is calling for improved procedures and enhanced collision warning systems to be implemented at Canada’s airports.

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