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NTSB Identification: SEA04IA035

Scheduled 14 CFR Non-U.S., Commercial operation of Air Canada Jazz (D.B.A. Canada Jazz)

Incident occurred Monday, January 19, 2004 in Seattle, WA

Aircraft: de Havilland DHC-8, registration: C-GTAQ

Injuries: 35 Uninjured.


This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.


On January 19, 2004, at 1138 Pacific standard time, the flight crew of a de Havilland DHC-8, C-GTAQ, inadvertently landed on Taxiway Tango at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington. There were no injuries to the Captain, First Officer, Flight Attendant, or any of the 32 passengers. There was no damage to the aircraft, which is owned and operated by Air Canada Jazz. The 14 CFR Part 129 scheduled air carrier flight, which departed Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, about 45 minutes prior to the incident, was landing in visual meteorological conditions. The aircraft had been on an IFR flight plan.


According to the flight crew, they were cleared by Seattle Center for a visual approach to Runway 16 Right. They contacted Seattle-Tacoma Tower when they were near Elliot Bay, and were cleared to land on Runway 16 Right, number two behind a 737 that was then touching down. Because of the distance between their position and the preceding 737, neither flight crew member saw the aircraft they were sequenced behind. The Captain, who was flying at the time, therefore aligned the aircraft with what he felt sure was Runway 16 Right. He then continued on the approach, and completed what to him seemed to be an uneventful landing. Soon after the aircraft touched down, the tower advised the flight crew that they had landed on Taxiway Tango.


The Captain said that when they lined up on final approach, there was an overcast over the approach end of the runway, bright sunshine to the south of the airport, and a glare on the runway surface. According to him, this caused the area around the approach end of the runway to appear as one dark color, making it hard to differentiate between Runway 16 Right and Taxiway Tango. He further stated that he had been into Seattle-Tacoma Airport many times before, and was aware of the large "X" just off the north end of Taxiway Tango. But, according to the Captain, because of the contrast between the runway glare and the dark area around the approach end, he did not notice that he had flown over the "X" just prior to touchdown.


In a later discussion with the Investigator-In-Charge (IIC), the Captain stated that it was his opinion that lights on the aforementioned "X" and spaced-interval visual clues painted on the taxiway would probably have alerted him to the misidentification of the landing surface in time to execute a safe go-around.

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