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Alaska Airlines pilot mistakes taxiway for runway at Sea-Tac

An Alaska Airlines passenger jet landed on Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s central taxiway – not the runway – on Dec. 19, the fourth time a pilot has made the error in the history of the airport. ( 更多...

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Leroy Chausse 12
I've been flying since 1960. No equipment as exotic as described in the posts, but many years of 135 and 91 flying. Lots of serious backcountry as well as cross country. All as a contract pilot. The main thing I've learned is not to judge the errors of other pilots. As all the comments will attest, the pilot, while having ultimate authority/responsibility, can become confused to varying degrees. And in the cockpit, the need to multitask and sort out the situation can become huge. Those of us who have flown for more than a few years, are still flying because we have survived our mistakes, and hopefully learned from them.
Jeremy Kudlick 10
linbb 13
Did it when I was a private pilot also took off on one at night. Called tower to change frequency and they added that next time we would appreciate it if you used the runway next time. Glad it was dark and the pax didn't have a headset as face was very red. Landed years ago at LAX and asked for taxi instructions, tower said who gave you permission to land, looked at the fellow with me his eyes wide, said you did,nothing more said.
joel wiley 0
That about covers it. There's a first time for everything, but this seems to be the fourth - probably not by the same aircrew.
If it was the same crew then we would really have a story.
Ryan Hodges 7
Just about got to rotate speed on a taxiway at KMEM. Only had 100 hours, first time in KMEM and only second week of flying a Seminole after getting my MEI. I was to cross one run way THEN a taxiway to the next runway for a taxi departure. I turned right too soon. ATC just walked me slowly to the other side of the airport (Fedex push was starting) and let me take off in the dark in shame. Filed a report with NASA and life went on. Certainly thankful for those guys that night.
Tom Bruce 11
as an old ATC tower guy...saw several errors like this... we always advised pilots and let it go... pilots bailed me out a couple of times, too! Had an air force base 5 miles to the east and occl an air transport would line up on it at night... " United XXX you can make a right turn to enter base leg for runway 18" would cover it and keep the error off the tape recordings
You guys helped me out in El paso with that nearby mil base thing. even though on Ifr plan was being vectored for traffic then a visual into setting sun. I luv your pic in front of the poster. Ahh, sunny southeast Asia. Home of the year long vacation.
Tom Bruce 4
wish I'd been on vacation,,, crew member on EC121Rs - 108 times over the trial in Laos... always liked to help out pilots because they were willing to help us out.. as ATC cleared PSA for take off one AM...hour later heard he had the midair over San Diego... PSA wasn't so much fun or helpful after that which I understand... before they'd always take a visual short approach to help un-muddle the traffic...after the midair not so much
I flew helos in I Corp. Many missions in Laos with the SOG bunch out of Quang Tri .
Tom Bruce 2
jeeez...thanks for your service...always felt bad flying at 18,000 feet and seeing all the action and danger down below
Thanks for yours too. Lam son 719 was hoot too.
Robert Hutto 1
I was in Lamson 719 also. What were you flying?
Robert Hutto 1
What branch of service Wallace24?
Army. Huey with the 101st out of camp eagle. You?
eichelro 5
Don't land or take off on yellow things.
Derek Thomas 1
Now THAT made me lose some coffee on the desk. Thnx!
There but for the Grace of God!...especially at night and/or under very poor vis. conditions. It would be interesting to know what was the Atis reporting at the time?
Jerry Rader 6
Maybe there should be X marks on the end of the taxiways to indicate that they are not to be used as runways. This is definitely an accident looking for a place to happen.
matt jensen 4
Aw, that would be too simple!
All I can say is this pilot is VERY lucky there wasn't another aircraft in the way. And WHY didn't ATC NOT wave this guy off????
They can't, the newer tower designs doesn't allow for windows that open.
Paul Smith 3
The crew would just wave back. The people in the northwest are very friendly!
Ken Lane 3
In a multiple runway environment, does ego increase to the point no one believes there's safety in setting up the ILS or GPS?

The only luck here is there was no aircraft on that taxiway. Or, we'd have a very different story.
Alan Dahl 3
Part of the problem is that the runways at SeaTac are unequally spaced apart with 16C being only 800’ west of 16L while 16R is about 1500’ west of 16C. As a result taxiway Tango is just about dead-center between 16L and 16R. This still isn’t an excuse as any Alaska Airlines pilot should be well familiar with the airport given it’s their home base. But you can see how the mistake can happen, especially when 16C has been closed for most of the year.
Paul Smith 3
If it's happened FOUR times, it may be a design fault with the airport. Four parallel strips of pavement 16L, 16C, Tango, 16R.
homburge 2
I'm not sure it's exactly illegal to land on a taxiway...

Maybe a bit of "careless and reckless" but is it specifically forbidden?
I see crop dusters do it all the time when another plane is in their way. Non towered. They're like NYC taxi drivers. Failure to comply with tower instructions is a bit different.
Tom Johnson 2
Years ago when visiting a pilot friend in the Camden, NJ area we flew out to Atlantic City and I talked him into trying his first ASR approach. The vectors just happened to line us up on the parallel taxiway. He had heard about PAR approaches and on final I had to explain the difference between PAR and ASR accuracy. He was skeptical at first as the controller seemed to be directing him to the taxiway. Eventually he did make our landing on the runway.
The design of the airport does look a little confusing. Must give a credit to the builders of the taxiway as they are not as strongly stressed and a runway is.
Dear FlightAware. Please enable the ability to edit text at least for 10 minutes as the Chinese designed my pc and cellphone with little buttons and a stupid text changer.
Cord Peterson 2
Alaska 123 Turn right and hold short 18C.... o_0
Cord Peterson 1
I forgot to add and I didn't check NOTAMS. Even though they were visual they probably didn't have an ILS as backup for the visual. I'm sure it was Notamed out of service due to the re pavement. Probably would have saved them from the incident.
Chris Bryant 1
Did someone change out the BLUE taxiway lights for WHITE runway lights?
Probably, for Xmas...
joel wiley 2
Bill Harris 1
A little additional detail in the Seattle Times article here:

[This poster has been suspended.]

joel wiley 1
Didn't see anything about yellow lights. Yellow markings on taxiway, white on runway mentioned in link by Bill Harris. Daytime arrival 08:30- edge lighting might not be so obvious. Still a major 'oops'.


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