In July of 2017, what could have been the worst aviation accident in history was narrowly averted. An Air Canada pilot mistakenly lined up to land on a taxiway, instead of a parallel runway, at San Francisco International Airport. Four planes, fully fueled and loaded with passengers, were parked on the taxiway queued for take-off, facing the incoming aircraft.
In the heart-stopping audio recording of air traffic control conversations from that evening, an unidentified voice can be heard alerting the controllers to the plane’s location. “Where’s that guy going?” he asks. Then: “He’s on the taxiway.”