But they almost always think that it is:
The incident was the second aircraft collision this week at a UK airport. On Tuesday, passengers screamed in panic when a British Airways jumbo jet and a Sri Lankan airliner hit each other on a Heathrow runway.The BBC story is similar:
An eye-witness, aboard the Sri Lankan airliner, claimed it hit the BA aircraft from behind while manoeuvring on the runway.But the BBC's drawing shows the collision as taking place on the taxiway near to Runway 27 Right, but not on it. There would have to have been a complete breakdown in air traffic control procedures for both aircraft to be on the runway at the same time.
The next day's Times is slightly different:
Air accident investigators are studying the incident, in which the wingtips of a Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A340 and a BA Boeing 747 clashed on a taxiway just short of the northern runway.So now, as I expected, the collision didn't take place on a runway at all.
Now all this may seem to be a bit academic although the incident could have been far more serious had it actually taken place on a runway. The point is this: just how frequently are stories in the mainstream press quite different from how they are reported?
All too often I suspect.