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Close Call: Air Canada Boeing 777 Began Take-Off Roll Behind E190 Rejected Take-Off

Air Canada’s Boeing 777 began its take off roll after the E-190 declined to take off.

On March 7, 2020, two planes were saved from a runway collision by the other plane’s captain, who took action and aborted the take off, saving many people’s lives. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has updated the investigation.

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On 07 March 2020, at 0948 Eastern Standard Time, the Air Canada Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW (Embraer 190) aircraft (registration C-FMZW, serial number 19000124), operating as flight ACA1037 and carrying 83 passengers and 4 crew members, was conducting a takeoff from Runway 06L at Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario. Shortly after the Embraer 190 had begun its take-off roll, the Air Canada Boeing 777-333ER (Boeing 777) aircraft (registration C-FJZS, serial number 62400), operating as flight ACA606, was instructed to line up on Runway 06L. On board were 345 passengers and 14 crew members.

According to Investigation report As the Embraer 190 was accelerating on its take-off roll, it struck a bird. The flight crew initiated a rejected takeoff and made a radio call to report that they were rejecting the takeoff. Neither air traffic control nor the Boeing 777 flight crew heard this radio call because the Boeing 777 flight crew was reading back their take-off clearance on the same frequency.

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As the Boeing 777 was accelerating on its take-off roll, the flight crew observed that the Embraer 190 was still on the runway and initiated a rejected takeoff. Both aircraft eventually exited the runway and returned to the terminal. There were no injuries. There was no damage to either aircraft.

Decision to issue the take-off clearance

At the time of the occurrence, the controller planned to coordinate the Boeing 777’s departure using pilot-applied visual departure separation behind the Embraer 190. He was using a rapid flow, or cadence, to be as expeditious as possible, in accordance with NAV CANADA’s MATS. He was highly experienced, was comfortable with the traffic level, and was managing the workload efficiently. The controller assessed this situation very quickly (in the span of only a few seconds), which was a normal practice. The controller made assessments based on his past experience, knowledge, and perceptions of the performance capabilities of both the Embraer 190 and the Boeing 777, including:

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  • perceiving the Embraer 190 at a speed at or near its rotation speed;
  • perceiving the Embraer 190 in a position at or beyond a typical rotation point;
  • timing the Boeing 777’s take-off clearance; and
  • anticipating that the Embraer 190 would be airborne by the time the Boeing 777 flight crew read back their take-off clearance and started the take-off roll.

The controller’s expectation was very high that the Embraer 190 would depart at the controller’s assessed position and time. This expectation was reinforced by his knowledge that:

  • high-speed rejected takeoffs are rare;
  • aircraft do not conduct rejected takeoffs after rotation; and
  • he had never in his career seen a rejected takeoff at such a high speed or from that point on the runway.

With this understanding, the monitoring stage and confirmation of action of the Embraer 190’s departure was effectively complete. Therefore, the controller transitioned to other duties, even though he did not actually see the Embraer 190 rotate. He concluded that the Embraer 190 was “rotating” based on all of the cues indicating that his assessment was correct.

The point at which the controller decided to issue the take-off clearance to the Boeing 777 was several seconds before the Embraer 190 was anticipated to be airborne. The controller’s situation assessment matched his mental model up to the point of the bird strike and the USiT. This decision was also influenced by guidance and procedures in the MATS, as well as the controller’s extensive experience.

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Bird strike and Embraer 190’s rejected takeoff

When the Embraer 190 struck a bird on its take-off roll, the controller was issuing a take-off clearance to the Boeing 777. The Embraer 190 was travelling at 139 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS)—just below the calculated V1 speed of 146 KIAS—at the time. The captain of the Embraer 190 initiated a rejected takeoff and the first officer transmitted a radio call, per company procedures. This whole sequence of events took 5 seconds.

Undetected simultaneous transmissions

Simultaneous transmissions are a common hazard in aviation. They pose a threat and the risk of important communications going unheard increases when these transmission signals go undetected.

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The radio transmissions from the Embraer 190 and the Boeing 777 were initiated within 0.1 seconds of each other and 0.6 and 0.7 seconds, respectively, after the controller had ended his radio transmission for the Boeing 777’s take-off clearance:

  • At 0948:53.4, the first officer of the Embraer 190 initiated the radio call for the rejected takeoff. This transmission lasted 3.13 seconds.
  • At 0948:53.5, the first officer of the Boeing 777 initiated the readback of the take-off clearance. This transmission lasted 3.225 seconds.

The timing of these radio calls indicates a full overlap of radio signals. As a result of this USiT, neither the controller nor the flight crew of the Boeing 777 were aware of the conflict because they did not know that the Embraer 190 was conducting a rejected takeoff.

Detecting the Embraer 190’s rejected takeoff

In this occurrence, the USiT meant that no aural cue was available to alert the controller or the Boeing 777 flight crew to the rejected takeoff. Unaware of the Embraer 190’s radio call to reject the takeoff, the controller carried on with his duties.

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Once the Embraer 190 flight crew initiated the rejected takeoff, some visual cues were available to the controller:

  • the Embraer 190 could be seen decelerating on the runway; and
  • the speed values on the track label for the Embraer 190 on the controller working position (CWP) could be seen decreasing.

Because the controller was working from the north tower control position, he had to perform visual scans to monitor the thresholds of Runway 05 and Runway 06L, the departure end of Runway 06L, and the monitors at his CWP. To face either Runway 05 and the CWP or Runway 06L, he needed to turn 180°, and did so several times. This made it more difficult to visually monitor aircraft departing from Runway 06L because of the visual obstructions present when he was looking across the tower cab and out the window at Runway 06L.

 

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber
Image:USAF

The United States Air Force (USAF) has unveiled the first photographs of the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber in flight.

These images were captured during test flights conducted by the B-21 Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, marking a significant milestone in the development of this sixth-generation aircraft.

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Currently undergoing flight tests in California, the B-21 Raider represents the next generation of stealth bombers. With an estimated cost of around $700 million per aircraft, the B-21 Raider is poised to become a crucial component of the USAF’s arsenal for conventional Long Range Strike missions.

According to Air Force briefings, the B-21 Raider will form part of a comprehensive family of systems, encompassing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities, electronic warfare, communication systems, and more. Notably, the bomber will be nuclear-capable and adaptable for both manned and unmanned operations.

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It boasts the flexibility to deploy a wide array of stand-off and direct-attack munitions, ensuring versatility in various combat scenarios. One of the B-21’s distinguishing features is its extensive integration of digital technology, as highlighted in discussions held during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Designed with an open systems architecture, the B-21 Raider is built to swiftly incorporate emerging technologies, ensuring its effectiveness against evolving threats over time. The B-21 Raider is slated to replace the aging B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers, bolstering US national security objectives and providing reassurance to allies and partners worldwide.

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Aerospace

Aurora Flight Sciences Unveils Innovative X-Plane Design

Aurora Flight Sciences Unveils Innovative X-Plane Design

Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing company, has recently completed the conceptual design review for a groundbreaking high-speed, vertical lift X-plane.

This aircraft, part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program called Speed and Runway Independent Technologies (SPRINT), aims to demonstrate key technologies and integrated concepts that combine high speed with runway independence.

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Aurora’s design features a low-drag, fan-in-wing demonstrator integrated into a blended wing body platform. This innovative approach merges the agility of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) with exceptional speed capabilities.

The team is focused on ensuring the program’s success by setting the stage for successful flight demonstrations, showcasing a transformative capability for air mobility and Special Operations Forces (SOF) missions.

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New renderings of the fan-in-wing (FIW) demonstrator show three lift fans, a more refined composite exterior, and an uncrewed cockpit. The decision to use three lift fans simplifies the demonstrator, streamlining its path to flight testing. This FIW technology can be scaled to incorporate four or more lift fans to meet future aircraft requirements, potentially leading to a new family of systems.

Additionally, while the current demonstrator is uncrewed to facilitate testing and reduce risk, the FIW technology is fully adaptable to crewed aircraft. Aurora’s concept is designed to meet or exceed DARPA’s challenging program objectives. The blended wing body platform is capable of a 450-knot cruise speed, and the embedded lift fans with integrated covers enable a smooth transition from vertical to horizontal flight.

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The design also utilizes existing engine solutions, reducing development risks and timelines. Besides VTOL, the aircraft can perform short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL), super short take-off and landing (SSTOL), and conventional take-off and landing.

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Aerospace

China Developing Comac C939 Wide Body Aircraft to Compete with A350 and B777

Comac Eyes Saudi Arabian Market to Challenge Western Aircraft Giants


China’s Comac aircraft company is currently underway with the development of its own wide-body aircraft, the C939, positioned to compete with industry stalwarts like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 in the future. This strategic move by Comac involves crafting the next iteration with enhanced capacity and extended range capabilities, marking a significant leap forward in technological advancement compared to the current C919 aircraft.

Air China has inked a substantial deal worth a staggering $10.8 billion, based on list prices, to acquire 100 Comac C919 jets, signaling a strong vote of confidence in the domestic challenger to aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing.

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China Comac C919 Total Order

With both China Southern and Air China combining orders for nearly 200 aircraft, the prospects for the new C919 aircraft appear increasingly promising for future fleet growth. To date, Comac has garnered orders for nearly 1,100 aircraft.

China is contemplating the development of another wide-body aircraft, the C939, poised to significantly bolster the aerospace industry in China.

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COMAC has initiated work on the C939, a new wide-body airliner. While design concepts have been formulated, it will still take several years before a prototype materializes, according to reports from the South China Morning Post, citing anonymous sources.

Initially intended to be a joint venture with Russia, plans were halted due to Russia’s decision to safeguard its copyrights and technological advancements within its borders. Consequently, collaboration between China and Russia on aircraft development was discontinued. Sources suggest that China is vigorously pursuing new avenues for the independent development of its own wide-body aircraft, crucial for accommodating larger passenger capacities and extended flight ranges.

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Comac C939 competes with Boeing 777 and A350

Information regarding the program remains limited. COMAC has refrained from commenting on the development of the new aircraft type, stating that official announcements will be made in due course. Nevertheless, the C939 could potentially accommodate up to 390 passengers, positioning it to compete with the largest Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

In addition to the prospective C939, COMAC is already advancing with the development of another widebody aircraft, known as the C929. This aircraft is poised to rival the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330, boasting 280 seats and a range approaching 6,500 nautical miles.

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Since obtaining certification in late 2022, the COMAC C919 has been operational, accumulating nearly 1,000 firm orders, predominantly from Chinese-owned airlines and leasing companies.

With multiple widebody aircraft in the pipeline, COMAC stands to achieve parity with the two leading international aircraft manufacturers. Boeing, with its 777 and 787 models, and Airbus, with the A330neo and A350, both have a comparable range of offerings. However, Boeing’s aircraft are encountering delays and production challenges despite substantial orders, while the A350 is performing commendably, though the A330neo’s order intake has not met initial projections.

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How much does C919 cost?

China is under pressure to fulfill the current orders for the C919 aircraft, prompting plans to expand production facilities across various regions within the country. The aim is to ramp up production capacity for C919 planes to 150 aircraft annually over the next five years. The latest reports indicate that the C919 is priced around $99 million, comparable to the price of Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320 aircraft, with expectations for further price reductions in the future.

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While the C919 has yet to be certified in major aviation markets outside of China, only four have been delivered thus far. In the long term, COMAC’s widebody aircraft will vie for global competitiveness. One potential benefit of COMAC aircraft could be in reducing China’s reliance on Western aircraft manufacturers. However, this shift won’t happen immediately; the current delivery rate of four aircraft in nearly 18 months is not sustainable, and both Airbus and Boeing have established manufacturing facilities in China to cater to its sizable market.

Nevertheless, assuming COMAC addresses the issues impeding deliveries, there’s a plausible scenario where the manufacturer assumes a significant role, particularly as China’s aviation market continues to expand.

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As the C939 progresses through its development stages, more details are expected to emerge. Comparisons between official specifications of the C929 and C939 will be noteworthy, as will the initial orders for each aircraft type. However, it’s anticipated that neither will undergo test flights or enter into service for several years.

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