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On Tuesday around 2 PM, two US Airways commuter jets were traveling directly towards each other at a combined speed of 436 miles per hour. Within seconds the air traffic controller spotted the problem and directed the incoming plane to take evasive action to avoid a catastrophe.
The Washington Post has a great two page article on the entire story. Check out this excerpt on the moments before the narrow miss.
The inbound plane and the first of the outbound planes were closing the 1.4 miles between them at a combined speed of 436 mph, a rate that meant they were about 12 seconds apart when the tower controller recognized her mistake.
“Are you with me?” the tower controller asked the inbound pilot, checking to see whether he was tuned to her radio frequency. When the pilot acknowledged her, she ordered him to make an abrupt turn to the south to avoid the other two planes.
“We were cleared [for landing] at the river there,” the pilot said after breaking off the approach northwest of the airport. “What happened?”
For those of us who travel this is a worst case scenario. I’ve been in a few aborted landings, but nothing this close……..I think.
Is there a problem with that airport?
When I read this I was immediately reminded of the March 2011 incident when and air traffic controller fell asleep directing traffic into Reagan.
Luckily all 192 passengers and crew on board the three flights operated by US Airways arrived to their destinations safely.