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Aviation Accident

NTSB Identification: NYC07IA015
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Scheduled 14 CFR operation of CONTINENTAL AIRLINES INC
Incident occurred Saturday, October 28, 2006 in Newark, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Boeing 757-224, registration: N17105
Injuries: 154 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 flight crew conducted an Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to runway 22L, during night, visual meteorological conditions. As the airplane descended to an altitude of approximately 8,000 to 9,000 feet, the flight crew was instructed to "circle to land on runway 29." At an altitude of 900 feet, the first officer turned the airplane onto the final approach for runway 29, a 6,800 foot-long, 150-foot-wide asphalt runway. As he rolled the airplane level, he noted four white lights on the PAPI, which the flight crew believed was located to the left of the runway. As the airplane touched down, the captain realized they landed on taxiway Zulu, a 75-foot-wide concrete taxiway, aligned parallel and to the right of runway 29. The incident flight was the first officer's first approach to runway 29. Runway 29 was equipped with high-intensity runway edge lights (HIRL), which were set on step 1 (out of a 5-step system) at the time of the incident. Runway 29 also had centerline lights (CL), and runway end identifier lights (REIL), which were visually confirmed to be on at the time of the incident. The runway 29 PAPI was located on the right side of the runway, as described on the airport information page associated with the instrument procedures for the airport. Taxiway Zulu had green centerline lights, which were set on step 3 (of a 5-step system). In addition, blue reflective markers, defined the edges of taxiway Zulu. According to airport personnel, six aircraft made the same approach, within 10 minutes of the incident aircraft, and landed successfully on runway 29.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:
  • The flight crew's misidentification of the parallel taxiway as the active runway, resulting in the flight crew executing a landing on the taxiway. Contributing was the night lighting conditions.