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Runway Safety & Communications 101

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“WestJet plane in near-miss at L.A. airport

WestJet Boeing 737 came within 15 metres of colliding with a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 that was taking off

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A WestJet airliner on a flight from Calgary was involved in a near-miss Thursday with another jet on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport, aviation officials said.

The close call happened at about 1 p.m. and appeared to have been the result of mistakes made by both the arriving pilot and a ground traffic controller, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Officials said the WestJet Boeing 737, which seats up to 132 passengers, came within 15 metres of colliding with a 150-seat Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 that was taking off.

The Northwest jet was travelling about 240 kilometres an hour when the WestJet plane approached its path. The WestJet plane managed to stop just in time to avoid a crash.

No one was hurt, authorities said. An investigation was under way.

Gregor said the arriving pilot switched radio frequencies too early after landing and was unable to receive final directions from the air traffic controller, the Los Angeles Times reported on its web site.

When the WestJet pilot notified the ground traffic controller that the plane was proceeding to its gate, the ground controller cleared him without checking first with the air traffic controller.

Aircraft arriving at the Los Angeles airport must cross the inside runway to reach their gate.

The “runway incursion” was the eighth such incident at LAX this year, matching the total for all of 2006.”

Communications are key for safe operations on the ground. Keep aware of active runways during taxi and assess incursion potential.

Fly Smart


Written by Clark

August 31, 2007 at 6:02 pm

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