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Close call for jets over Washington

Friday, Aug 03, 2012 - 02:07

Aug. 3 - U.S. aviation officials investigate an air-traffic control error that led two regional jets to take off in the wrong direction and fly too close to an incoming plane. Sarah Charlton reports.

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An air traffic controller takes corrective action, directing a pilot over Washington's Reagan National Airport. Three U.S. Airways flights came too close to one another after "miscommunication" between the control tower and a routing hub. Two commuter jets took off in the direction of an incoming plane, with their flight paths breaching separation distances. An alert controller caught the problem. Transport Secretary Ray LaHood insisted the planes were in no imminent danger. SOUNDBITE: U.S. SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION RAY LAHOOD SAYING (English): "At no point were these planes on a head-to-head collision course. There was going to be no head-to-head collision of these planes. There was a loss of separation. It shouldn't have happened, but because of a well trained controller at DCA Tower who immediately recognized the situation and worked to fix it -- and i want to congratulate the controller for her good work -- the planes landed safely at their intended destination." Officials said due to bad weather the direction for taking off and landing had been switched. But a failure to follow standard procedure meant the two departing planes were not immediately turned in the new direction. 192 passengers and crew members were onboard the planes. Sarah Charlton, Reuters.

Close call for jets over Washington

Friday, Aug 03, 2012 - 02:07

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