Passengers on an Air Canada flight from Tokyo to Toronto got the scare of a lifetime on Monday when their plane touched down in strong winds and narrowly avoided catastrophe at Pearson Airport.
A video posted on the aviation-related YouTube channel Wake Turbulence Aviation shows the terrifying incident unfolding on Pearson’s runway 06L/24R on November 13.
The almost 12-hour Air Canada flight (route AC2) concluded with quite a jolt when the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft’s wings rocked violently in strong crosswinds just seconds before safely touching down on the tarmac in a cloud of tire smoke.
The clip looks to have been shot from south of Convair Drive facing north, showing the aircraft landing westbound on runway 06L/24R amid strong crosswinds of 17 knots (31.5 km/h) with gusting at 26 knots (48 km/h).
It appears that it was the quick thinking of pilots that kept flight AC2 out of the history books, as they responded to the sudden change in wind conditions just in time to avert disaster.
A representative of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority that operates Pearson Airport declined to comment on the incident, directing blogTO to reach out to Air Canada.
An Air Canada representative, meanwhile, told blogTO that “Air Canada flight AC002 from Narita experienced a hard landing due to crosswinds on arrival at Toronto Pearson on Nov. 13.”
The airline went on to say that, “Although the Boeing 777 aircraft taxied to the gate normally after landing, as a precautionary measure, it was taken out of service for a full inspection.”
According to Air Canada, none of the 373 passengers on board were injured.
“As part of its standard operating procedures, Air Canada is reviewing the event, including regulatory reporting requirements,” reads a statement from the airline.
“Air Canada’s pilots are skilled professionals who are trained to handle any range of situations safely, including adverse wind conditions.”
The return leg of the trip back to Narita International Airport in Tokyo indeed used a different aircraft than the one shown in the landing video, swapping in another 777 with an equally interesting history at Pearson Airport.
Remarkably, the replacement aircraft appears to be the same one involved in the most recent aviation incident at Pearson Airport — albeit a minor one, that occurred on March 7, 2020. This exact Air Canada Boeing 777-300 (registration C-FJZS), then operating as AC Flight 606, was involved in a runway incursion incident.
It has been close to two decades since the last major crash at Pearson Airport, with the August 2005 crash of Air France Flight 358 that seriously injured 12, but miraculously resulted in no fatalities.
It has been over 40 years since a fatal crash occurred at the airport, the last incident being the June 1983 crash of a WW2-era Douglas C-47 cargo plane that killed both crew members.