Non-Standard Phrase Contributed to Incursion

By Staff Writer | August 1, 2015
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An air traffic controller’s use of a non-standard phrase contributed to a June 2014 runway incursion when an aeromedical AW139 crossed in front of a landing Airbus A300 in Ottawa.

The incident, in which no one was hurt, occurred June 5, 2014 at Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. The AgustaWestland helicopter, operated by Mississauga, Ontario-based Ornge and departing on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan, held short of Runway 25 on Taxiway Echo and contacted the airport controller.

The controller amended the clearance for the flight, LifeFlight 4, preceding that new information with “LF 4 Medevac roger, while we wait…” The pilot not flying asked for the information to be repeated. At that point, the flying pilot began to taxi toward Runway 25, on which a FedEx A300 was landing. The controller saw this and told the helicopter to stop and hold short, which the AW139 did.


Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigators believe the AW139 pilot may have heard the phrase “while we wait” as “line up and wait” and moved toward the runway.

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