Austin Airport: Radar shows planes came within 75 feet of collision
The series of errors that almost caused two planes to crash have been revealed in newly released audio files.
A FedEx cargo plane attempted to land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas on Saturday just as a passenger plane took off from the same runway.
Images from Flight Radar show the delivery plane flying towards the Southwest Airlines jet until it is directly overhead.
Air traffic control clips show that the departing flight, bound for Cancun, Mexico, had been cleared to take off from left-hand runway 18.
The pilot was informed that a FedEx plane was on its way and would land on the same strip. At this point, the cargo jet was about three miles away.
But the Southwest plane stayed on the runway as the Boeing 767 drew closer, prompting an air traffic controller to ask if it would be taking off soon.
The pilot replies: ‘Rolling now.’
Travel Weekly reports that as the Southwest flight prepared to depart, the FedEx flight initiated a go-around.
In the audio recording, a male voice – believed to be the FedEx pilot – can be heard telling the passenger plane to “abort take-off,” adding, “FedEx is on its way.”
However, the Southwest crew responds “negatively” and takes off with the cargo plane overhead — at the closest point, less than 75 vertical feet away.
The delivery plane veered and climbed to 3,000 feet before air traffic control directed it to a more successful landing.
Towards the end of the audio, the tower can be heard apologizing to the FedEx pilot and thanking him for his professionalism in a nerve-wracking situation.
The incident is currently under investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
It comes less than a month after another near miss at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where a Delta plane nearly collided with an American Airlines flight as both were taxiing on the runway.
The Delta aircraft, following an air traffic control error, turned onto the same runway the other had taken off from.
The tower at JFK was less level-headed than Austin, with one controller yelling, “S**t! Oh shit!’
Fortunately, even though the planes were within 1,000 feet of each other, the Delta pilot applied the brakes in time to avoid disaster.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/06/austin-airport-radar-shows-how-planes-came-within-75ft-of-collision-18229178/ Austin Airport: Radar shows planes came within 75 feet of collision