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An investigation into a plane that landed on the wrong runway has determined that the two pilots were both at fault. 

The incident occurred when an Iran Air flight from Isfahan touched down at Tabriz airport in Iran on 3 October, reports the Aviation Herald.

Flight IR-449 had been cleared to land on runway 12L but landed instead on 12R, a mistake which the report put down to “captain’s error” and “poor judgment with respect to organizational factors” on the part of the first officer, who was flying the aircraft at the time.

“The crew received clearance to land on runway 12L,” said the report from Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation. 

“The crew focused on another incoming Mahan flight while conducting the approach. As a result, both crews forgot their landing clearance had been issued for 12L.”

The pilots only realized their mistake after they had already landed and received a warning from the control tower.

Occurring on the crew’s third flight of the day, the error is better understood after looking at the captain and first officer’s previous itineraries: on their first flight, Tehran to Tabriz, they requested and were granted permission to land on runway 12R.

The default runway for landings at Tabriz is usually 12L, with permission to use 12R instead of needing to be specifically requested.

On the third flight, no special request was made, but “based on the mindset of the previous flights the crew approached runway 12R but forgot to request the runway and forgot their landing clearance had been for runway 12L.”

According to the investigation, both pilots “demonstrated weaknesses in Cockpit Resource Management, Cockpit Management, and Task Sharing and as result lost Situational Awareness.”

The investigation also discovered that the captain, who was monitoring the first officer’s flying when the incident occurred, had been called on shift unexpectedly only 10 hours since he had previously clocked off.

The incident follows a similar mishap by the same airline earlier this year.

In February, Iran Air flight IR779 from Baku to Tabriz requested and was granted permission to land at runway 30, but went on to land on 30R instead.

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