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Ear to the Ground

Apple Maps: The Easiest Way to Crash Into an Airplane

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Posted on Sep 28, 2013
jose.armenteros (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The iPhone and iPad app has been known to give erroneous directions, but this month it led drivers to near-death situations. On Sept. 6 and 20, Apple maps pointed two cars to cross a runway at Alaska’s Fairbanks International Airport. The directions were meant to culminate at a terminal, but rather than end up at a check-in counter, these passengers found themselves on the tarmac.

No one was injured in either incident and the airport notified Apple on Sept. 6 as soon as the first person ended up on the runway. Apple subsequently disabled the inaccurate instructions, but according to The Associated Press via The San Diego Union-Tribune:

To the chagrin and worry of Alaska transportation officials, Apple reactivated maps app directions Friday that guide drivers to the edge of a runway instead of a terminal at the Fairbanks airport….

Officials, though, noticed the app was back to giving the misguided directions on Friday and was also providing another route that leads to the taxiway.

They don’t know why the app was reactivated with more faulty directions.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple didn’t immediately return a message to The Associated Press on Friday evening.

One person intentionally followed the directions on Friday, which presents a dangerous situation for pilots and drivers, said Angela Spears, division operations manager for the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Alaska transportation officials sent out a warning to pilots that the faulty directions were back on….

The airport has…barricaded [the] entrance to the taxiway [indicated on Apple maps]. A sign posted there gives a phone number for people to call to get the correct directions to the airport.

A word to wise Apple users: Unless you fancy getting flattened by a large winged object, it’s probably best to download another map app.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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