Yet Another Nearly Catastrophic Air Collision Narrowly Averted
A collision was narrowly averted at a U.S. airport in California after a plane was forced to abort its landing because air traffic control cleared another plane for take-off, officials state.
Mesa Airlines Flight 5826 was preparing to land at the Hollywood Burbank Airport on the evening of Feb. 22 when an air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines Embraer E175 to take off from the same runway, NBC News reported. Although the Mesa Airlines flight was only 1.3 miles away, the pilot was able to discontinue the landing procedure and climb out as the SkyWest flight took off from the runway, the outlet added.
A Mesa Airlines flight crew was forced to abruptly halt a landing at California’s Hollywood Burbank Airport after an air traffic controller cleared a plane to depart ahead of them, according to preliminary information obtained by @NBCNews. https://t.co/JTNorW25hM
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 24, 2023
This latest snafu is just another in a number of recent near-miss incidents that prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to launch a “call to action” earlier in February.
On Jan. 16, a Delta airlines flight en route to the Dominican Republic had reached a runway speed of 115 mph when a Boeing 777 American Airlines flight crossed its path on the runway. A collision was narrowly avoided after air traffic control frantically ordered the Delta flight to “cancel takeoff clearance.”
Weeks later, on Feb 4, two planes nearly collided at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport when a FedEx cargo plane nearly landed on top of a Southwest flight readying for take off.
“These incidents are concerning. They impact Americans confidence in our aviation system. The FAA must have redundancies, and not a single point where a failure can happen in a key system,” Senate Commerce chair Maria Cantwell told acting head of the FAA Billy Nolen at a Senate hearing on Feb. 15, according to Reuters.
Nolen told the Senate committee the FAA was taking steps to prevent near misses and working to modernize its computer systems, but maintained that some upgrades would take years to complete, the outlet stated.
Among those steps is the formation of a team of experts that will “examine the U.S. aerospace system’s structure, culture, processes, systems, and integration of safety efforts,” according to Reuters. The FAA is also planning on holding a safety summit in March to determine what “the aviation community needs to take to maintain [its] safety record,” the outlet stated.
“We are experiencing the safest period in aviation history but we cannot take this for granted,” Nolen stated, according to the outlet. “Recent events remind us that we must not become complacent. Now is the time to stare into the data and ask hard questions,” he continued.
The FAA is investigating the incident, NBC News reported.