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Within the last month, we have seen two extremely close calls involving passenger jets at American airports. Human error is directly to blame for both, and we can’t help but notice a pattern in the humans in question. A female pilot made a wrong turn into the path of a jet taking off at JFK, and in Austin a black controller ordered a flight to take off while another was about to land.
Obviously, there’s nothing inherently wrong with black controllers or female pilots, as long as they are hired solely on merit, and we certainly cannot be confident of that under the woke judicial civil rights regime currently ruling over America.
Pilot with the right stuff averts disaster at Austin
Here’s how the Austin near-miss went down on February 4th:
—A Boeing 767 flown by FedEx was cleared to land, on a “Cat III” approach that allows an airliner to touch down safely even if the pilots cannot see the runway. Meanwhile a Boeing 737 flown by Southwest was cleared to take off from that same runway, directly in the descending airplane’s path.
—It appears that quick action and situational awareness by the FedEx crew prevented a mass-casualty disaster…
Here is a viewer’s guide to what you’re seeing and hearing. The three voices you’ll hear are:
Austin Tower, the controller clearing the planes to land and take off.
FedEx 1432 Heavy, the Boeing 767 getting ready to land.
Southwest 708, the Boeing 737 getting ready to take off.
This video plays the exchange in real-time:
Below we have a simulation of the incident. The audio has pauses trimmed, and the video is computer-generated. The actual time was around sunrise at 6:47 a.m., and visibility was under half a mile in fog.
This is video from the FedEx – Southwest runway incident from last week.
If this doesn't make you tense up and cringe nothing will. The people on that SouthWest flight have no clue how close to death they came.
— DASH (@DocumentingATX) February 9, 2023
A screeching halt at JFK
In January, a female pilot made a wrong turn directly into the path of a jet on takeoff. The airport’s runway collision warning system sounded the alarm and the outbound jet slammed on the brakes, averting disaster. From Plane and Pilot Magazine:
The near-collision happened when an American Airlines 777 preparing to depart for London taxied onto an active runway as a Delta Airlines 737 bound for the Dominican Republic was already on its takeoff roll, reportedly already at better than 100 mph. The AAL flight had a combined 152 passengers and crew onboard; the Delta Flight had 151 in all. Luckily, a sharp controller saw the 777 taxi onto the runway and immediately cancelled the 737’s takeoff clearance, which in layman’s terms means, “Stop!” And the 737 pilot did indeed stop, reportedly about 1,000 feet short of the 777.
Here’s how it played out. The American pilot was cleared to taxi on 4 Left and cross 31 Left, but did the opposite:
Immediately after the harrowing moment, the controller tells the American crew, “I have a number for you to call.” A few weeks have gone by now, and the pilots have refused three requests to be interviewed by the National Transportation Safety Board. As of yesterday, they were finally given subpoenas.
“NTSB has determined that this investigation requires that the flight crew interviews be audio recorded and transcribed by a court reporter to ensure the highest degree of accuracy, completeness, and efficiency,” the agency said in a preliminary report. “As a result of the flight crew’s repeated unwillingness to proceed with a recorded interview, subpoenas for their testimony have been issued.”
The three pilots have seven days to respond to the subpoenas, which direct them to appear for interviews at NTSB headquarters in Washington. American said they are not currently flying for the airline.
We all know the NTSB is not going to get to the heart of the matter. That is a job for the Supreme Court.
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