Air Canada Boeing 787 Strays Off Of Taxiway Into Mud

It looks like Air Canada has had a pretty bad weekend. Not only has the carrier had to cancel its flights to the UK because of a travel ban, but video has surfaced of one of its Boeing 787s getting stuck in the mud at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). While the aircraft had been scheduled to fly to Montreal that day, it’s unconfirmed if the flight’s cancelation was connected to the incident.

787-9 Air Canada
The incident involved an Air Canada Boeing 787-9. Photo: Oliver Holzbauer via Wikimedia Commons

Towing caught on camera

While the moment the aircraft veered off the taxiway and into the mud wasn’t captured, news and imagery of the jet stuck and getting towed out was indeed caught on camera. It all comes from Vancouver aviation photographer Kent Matthiesen, who posted the footage to YouTube and Twitter of the Boeing 787-9 getting pulled out of the mud and off the grass.

A subsequent video, as well as high-quality photos, were posted showing the towing process. As Matthiesen notes, the aircraft was ‘rescued’ using a tug, which was attached using a “Y shaped sling” attached to both main landing gear.

At this time, the cause of the incident is unknown. One individual commenting on the photos raised the concept of asymmetrical thrust. This occurs when the aircraft is taxiing with a single engine, thus causing the aircraft to turn. This asymmetrical thrust would be countered with the crew steering the plane using the tiller, which is used to direct the jet while on the ground.

Not carrying passengers

The aircraft, a Boeing 787-9 registered as C-FVLU, was not carrying passengers at the time of the incident – which would have been during the early morning hours of December 20th. Indeed, Matthiesen notes that the taxiway journey was operated by a maintenance crew, adding that the aircraft was going from the hangar to the terminal.

While the aircraft wasn’t carrying passengers at the time, it was likely on its way to the terminal to take on some guests when the incident occurred. Data from FlightRadar24.com shows that the aircraft was due to take travelers from Vancouver International Airport to Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in the morning. That flight, AC304, was subsequently canceled.

C-FVLU
Flight AC304 to Montreal was canceled. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Excursions at YVR

Aircraft seem to be attracted to the mud and grass at YVR as this isn’t the first incident of its kind at the airport. Simple Flying actually reported on a similar taxiway excursion case back in June of this year.

On June 18th, a FedEx Express Boeing 767 deviated off a taxiway at YVR and was stuck on the mud and grass. The aircraft was leaving the runway and was moving on the airport’s taxiway L to reach FedEx’s terminal.

The imagery of the incident posted to Twitter can be seen below:

YVR’s Airport Operations team must be getting quite good at these retrieval missions!

Have you ever seen an aircraft get stuck in the mud? Please share your experience with us by leaving a comment.

Simple Flying reached out to Air Canada for an official statement regarding this incident. However, at the time of publication, no response was received.

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