What caused the United 787-10 to be cleared for the occupied Paris runway?

In July 2020, United Airlines 787-10 caused a hiatus in Paris when the ATC cleared the aircraft to land on the runway. At that time, Runway 09R, which was assigned for landing, was already occupied by easyJet A320 on the way to Spain. A year after the incident, a French investigator released a final 14-page report outlining the possible causes of the potentially disastrous conclusions of the incident.

The aircraft involved was the United Airlines Boeing 787-10, which was registered as N16009. Photo: Dylan T via Wikimedia Commons

Survey results from French researchers

French Civil Aviation Safety Research and Analysis Bureau (BEA, French: Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pourlasé curité del’aviation civile) published the findings one year after the incident.

Report speaks again A series of events on July 19th, He said the ATC had given United 787 permission to land on Runway 09R, despite the aircraft taking an ILS approach on Runway 09L. On that day, landing was assigned to Runway 09L and takeoff was assigned to Runway 09R.

Untied airlines turn around
In the wake of a warning from easyJet A320, United Airlines made a go-around and landed safely on the correct runway. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

With this assigned clearance and seemingly wrong instructions, the crew wants to dispel suspicion of approval, so add a specific phrase and read back the landing clearance. “to understand” And “9 Right side step” We are also waiting for the possibility of clearance correction by the controller. However, the controller did not confirm the crew’s measurements, and the aircraft proceeded toward 09R instead of 09L.

According to The Aviation Herald The BEA Report (translated from French) provided the following points as possible causes of serious incidents:

  1. “Mental slip” by Air traffic controller When clearing the 787 to land on an occupied runway. This was exacerbated by the unverified readback by the 787’s crew.
  2. At that time, traffic management was mainly on Runway 09R (1 landing, 2 departures, 2 runway crossings).
  3. Controller Concerns Regarding His Position Change From Local Northwest To Local North East
  4. Lack of controller practice COVID-19 Reduced traffic during the crisis.
  5. Use of non-standard expressions “to understandBy the flight crew, notVerificationWould have received more attention from the controller.

Change in controller position due to screen off

Regarding the third point and repositioning, BEA simply pointed out that the location screen for the local northwest control tower of the north control tower could not be turned on. This is how the situation was explained in the report.

“The controller indicated that she had taken up her position at the airport’s North Tower at 4:30 am on the day of the outbreak, and that she was in the LOCNE position. Normally, in an east-facing configuration, The LOCNW position is used. The control screen for the LOC NW position is off and, according to the controller, appeared to be out of order. “

BEA Report LOCNE and NW
Location of LOCNW and LOCNE on the North Tower of Paris CDG. Photo: BEA

The report further states that it was the first day the North Tower opened after a two-week closure, after exclusive use of the South Runway pair controlled from the South Tower and Central Tower.

During this time, the screen was turned off with the main switch, which is different from what the controller does on a daily basis.In fact, the main switch “It’s in a place they don’t have easy access to.” There are reports that the controller did not recognize this master switch.

Since the controller is in the NE position and faces the holding point of Runway 27L, there was no direct visual contact with the sill of Runway 09 from the position inside the Tower.

Paris CDG
The Paris CDG had undergone some operational tweaks for the pandemic. Photo: Dmitry Avdeev via Wikimedia Commons


Human error seems arguably the most important factor in this potentially tragic event.After all, the situation can be summarized in the mistakes that say “09R” Instead of “09L”

Most of the “blame” is placed on the controller, but it turns out that many factors contribute to the situation and are in a worse position than increasing the likelihood of error.

Now that the results of these findings have been announced, what do you think of the incident? Please leave a comment and let us know.

https://simpleflying.com/united-boeing-787-occupied-paris-runway/ What caused the United 787-10 to be cleared for the occupied Paris runway?

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