We concur

by Volker Weber

Sometimes it's good that you don't know what is happening in the cockpit. Capt. Hajo brings you this case of a near miss on the runway in Boston Logan. If you don't understand all the details here is a summary:

An Air Lingus A330 jetliner was cleared to take off from a runway pointing towards SSE. Five seconds later a US Airways B737 was cleared to take off from a runway pointing towards E. At the intersection of these runways the Airbus was already airborne and the Boeing passed underneath because the co-pilot had seen the Airbus and told his captain to keep the aircraft on the runway and then took off shortly thereafter. 381 lifes saved.

Now read the second last paragraph again.


Is your point that the Aer Lingus crew knew that they had a near miss -- but how did they know since they were airborne already? Or just a more general observation that "we concur" is a vast understatement.

Ed Brill, 2005-08-03

What about the second last paragraph? Should he NOT report the near-miss? Should Air Lingus NOT agree? Ok, maybe they could hardly see the other because they were already airborne, as Ed reports, but before the intersection they might have seen it coming.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2005-08-03

Ed, yes, I mean this being a vast understatement.

Volker Weber, 2005-08-03

I had a similar situation with a helicopter once when I was taking off. There was a serious butt clenching few seconds. I was very relieved to see the helicopter come up on my left side from underneath me without hitting me. My passenger forutnately didn't know what was going on until the helicopter appeared, at which point he looked at my ashen face and said "holy shit".

It's important to remember that ATC are advisors and the pilot has ultimate responsibility for checking for other traffic etc. Although with big birds and long run ways that can be difficult. In my case, the helicopter pilot was responsible as he had not checked that a plane was in the process of taking off fom the active runway even though the ATC guy had told him to go ahead.

carl Tyler, 2005-08-03

The airspace around New York City, with three major airports and countless smaller facilities, is understandably crowded.

One of my most thrilling flight experiences was in a small, single prop aircraft. We were heading east, from one state to another. The flight path would have brought us close to Newark International Airport. Rather than have us skirt the airport, air traffic control had us fly directly over the airport, where it would be easier to track us.

ATC had us pass directly over the main runway, under 1000 meters. Having huge commercial jets passing 300 meters below you is rather unforgettable. I'm rather unimpressed by most things; at that moment I was silent, my mouth agape. I can't imagine what it is like to pass tens of meters under one.

Eric Hancock, 2005-08-04

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