NTSB Identification: SEA05IA040.
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Scheduled 14 CFR Southwest Airlines Co.
Incident occurred Sunday, January 30, 2005 in Seattle, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Boeing 737-3H4, registration: N350SW
Injuries: 46 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
The First Officer, who was the flying flight crew member during the approach, inadvertently aligned the aircraft with the paved surface of the parallel taxiway as he rolled out on final for a visual approach. He then continued the approach until he noticed the large yellow "X" just off the north end of the taxiway. At that point he realized that the surface that he intended to land on was not an operational runway, so he decided to initiate a go-around. After completing a successful go-around, the flight crew received vectors to a second visual approach final, whereupon they completed an uneventful full-stop landing. Although the FAA Control Tower had the Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL's) for both parallel runways on, the flight crew did not see them during this approach. When they came around for the second approach, the tower had turned on the sequencing approach flashers (rabbit), and it was at that time that they first saw the REIL's for either runway. Both flight crew members said that although the paved surfaces where wet and a little shiny (from an earlier shower), they felt it was the shape, size, and color of the taxiway surface that most directly contributed to the misidentification of the taxiway as a runway. This incident was the eighth in a series of known events wherein flight crews inadvertently aligned their aircraft with the subject taxiway with the intent to land on its surface. During three of these events the aircrews completed their landings on the taxiway surface. Although the airport operations personnel and the local FAA Airports Inspector are aware of this series of events, no markings or visual cues have been placed directly on the taxiway surface to assist crews in more easily identifying Taxiway Tango as a taxiway and not a runway.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: The flight crew's failure to maintain an adequate visual lookout while on final for a visual approach. Factors include the failure of both airport operations personnel and the local FAA Airports Inspector to insure that some form of identification marking was placed directly on the taxiway surface after the first seven misalignment events. Full narrative available
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