The two planes reportedly approached within 100 feet of each other during the near miss.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have launched an investigation into an aborted landing in Austin in which a FedEx freighter nearly collided with a Southwest Airlines plane while he was trying to land.
FedEx and Southwest planes nearly missed
The close call happened around 6:40 a.m. this morning at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and could have ended in disaster had it not been for the quick thinking of FedEx pilots. A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 operating flight WN708 from Austin to Cancun had been cleared off runway 18 left moments before a FedEx Boeing 767F was due to land.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace I simply fly
In an apparent air traffic control error, the two planes were cleared for the same runway and the FedEx 767 attempted to land while the Southwest 737 prepared for takeoff. As the freighter descended, it was forced to abort its landing and come to a screeching halt as the Southwest 737 was on its way – data from FlightRadar24.com reveals the 767 descended just 150ft before climbing quickly and perform a go-around.
The FAA said,
“Shortly before the FedEx aircraft was scheduled to land, the controller cleared Southwest Flight 708 to take off from the same runway. The pilot of the FedEx aircraft aborted the landing and began a climb. “
Along with an FAA investigation, the NTSB will launch a separate investigation into “a possible runway incursion and overflight involving Southwest Airlines and FedEx planes“Austin-Bergstrom International Airport added that it was”aware of Federal Aviation Administration investigation into aborted flight landing.”
FedEx flight allowed for miles
As Reuters reported, the FedEx freighter was cleared to land while still several miles from Austin, with controllers then clearing the Southwest flight to take off moments before the FedEx 767 landed. , the Southwest plane continued its takeoff with the FedEx plane overhead and managed to complete its trip to Cancun without further problems.
An air traffic control audio recording reveals that the Southwest flight was cleared for takeoff and advised that the incoming FedEx flight was three miles away. Moments later, the FedEx pilot reconfirmed his landing clearance before asking Southwest to abort – visibility would have been poor during this incident with an RVR (Runway Visual Range) of 1200 feet.
The FedEx 767, which was scheduled to land at 6:40 a.m., finally landed safely in Austin ten minutes later – FedEx clarified that its flight “landed safely after encountering an event just before landingbut did not comment further an active investigation.
The last near-miss
Readers of Simple Flying will recall the near miss at JFK airport in New York last month when an American Airlines plane entered the runway as a Delta Air Lines was taking off – on this occasion the Delta Boeing 737, carrying more than 150 passengers, managed to brake and stop 300 meters from the American Boeing 777 and avoid disaster.
Photo: Benson Truong | Shutterstock
Unlike this morning’s incident, which appears to be an air traffic control error, ATC came to the rescue that day by providing Delta pilots with enough warning to abort takeoff before entering collided with the American Airlines plane.
Have you ever seen or been involved in a close call like this? Let us know your stories in the comments.
Source: Reuters, FlightRadar24.com