Thu, Feb 23, 2006
Tense Moments As Three Planes Are Cleared Onto Same
It appears to have been
a controller's mistake: three aircraft on the same runway at the
same time -- two of them taxiing, one of them landing. A recipe for
disaster? The FAA thinks so.
Investigators are still trying to figure out the details of the
Friday night near-miss. A Southwest Airlines 737 was on approach to
the active runway when the controller cleared a Skywest turboprop
to cross the same runway. That controller then also cleared an
Air Canada flight from Toronto to cross the other end of the
As the Skywest pilot was headed for the runway intersection, he
spotted the Southwest flight on short final and decided on his own
to hold short. The Southwest plane then passed overhead 50-feet
above the taxiing Skywest regional flight, before landing about 275
feet away -- as the Air Canada flight crossed the active further
down the runway.
"For reasons which we don't yet fully understand, there were two
incidents within seconds of each other that were fairly close
things," said FAA spokesman Les Dorr. "It was pretty close. We'll
be looking to find out what all happened, and how we can prevent it
in the future."
LAX is one of the worst airports in the nation when it comes to
runway incursions. To improve the situation -- and hopefully avoid
incidents like last week's -- the Los Angeles airport authority
recently approved $328 million to give planes more room to maneuver
around the airport's south end.
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