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Close Call: Two Planes Come Within 100 Feet of Each Other

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jun 21, 2013 11:14 AM EDT

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 Delta Airlines aircraft
A Delta Air Lines flight was diverted on Friday due to a drunk unruly passenger. (Photo : Reuters)

Two planes had a very close call recently. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how two planes came just 100 feet within each other over John F. Kennedy International Airport.

A Delta Airlines Boeing 747 arriving at JFK came very  close to a Shuttle America Embraer E170 departing from LaGuardia Airport around 3.45pm on June 13 according to the Daily Mail.

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The Delta flight had missed its approach and wound up going int he same direction as the Shuttle America plane. The two planes were turning away from each other when they came too close for comfort. It is not clear why the Delta pilot failed to complete the landing.

According to NBC New York, air traffic controllers tried to turn the Delta flight away from the other planes, but it broke the required distance away from the Embraer. One source said that the planes were just 100 feet away from each other but the FAA wouldn't confirm this.

A recording of the communication between the control tower and the Delta plane shows that the controller tried to give the Delta flight a warning.

"172 heavy are you turning?' the controller says with urgency in his voice. 'Delta 172, Heavy traffic, 12 o'clock, 1400 ft Embraer, 1600 ft," he says, telling the pilots the other plane's position.
"Ok, we've got them on the fish finder here," the pilot says before saying they were turning.

Both of the planes landed without issue. It is not clear if the planes were full, but the Embraer can carry up to 70 passengers while the Delta flight could carry 370.

This is just one of many mistakes that the FAA has recorded in recent years. There were 1,234 operational errors in 2009 and it jumped to 1,887 in 2010. It was even higher in 2011 at 1,895. Of the 2011 reports, 50 of them were close calls like this one.

 

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