A JetBlue Airways Corp. plane trying to land in Boston in February was within 30 feet of the ground when a charter jet that had taken off without permission flashed in front of it on a crossing runway, federal investigators said Thursday.
(Bloomberg) — A JetBlue Airways Corp. plane trying to land in Boston in February was within 30 feet of the ground when a charter jet that had taken off without permission flashed in front of it on a crossing runway, federal investigators said Thursday.
The US National Transportation Safety Board concluded the crew on a Hop-A-Jet Worldwide Jet Charter Inc. flight had caused the runway incident on Feb. 27, one of several that triggered safety warnings earlier this year. An air-traffic controller had told the charter jet’s pilots to wait on the runway, but the crew misunderstood and took off, the board said.
The investigators released an image taken from the cockpit of the JetBlue plane, showing the other jet clearly visible through the windscreen as the airliner neared the ground. The JetBlue pilots aborted their landing and climbed after seeing the other plane. The still image was taken from a video recording made by a person sitting behind the pilots in the JetBlue plane, an Embraer SA EJR 190-100.
The case was one of an unexplained surge in high-risk runway incidents that occurred early this year, prompting the creation of a special safety review team by the US Federal Aviation Administration to examine the issue.
There have been nine serious runway incidents so far this year involving airlines that were rated as severe by the FAA or that prompted NTSB investigations. That’s about twice the annual average since 2018.
The FAA convened a symposium in March to get feedback on what’s causing the upsurge and required additional training for its controllers.
One of the most serious runway incidents occurred Feb. 4 in Austin, when a Southwest Airlines Co. plane took off as a FedEx Corp. wide-body cargo jet was about to land. The planes came within about 100 feet of each other.
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