Mon, Oct 23, 2006
When Is A Near Miss, Not?
Everyone's OK after a British Airways 777 and a privately-flown
Beech King Air got a bit too close in the skies around 50 miles
north of Tampa, FL earlier this month. The planes did not collide,
and the BA pilot did not report a near-miss to the FAA... but six
people were injured when the big Boeing suddenly descended 700 feet
to avoid the turboprop twin.
The Orlando Sentinel reports on October 10, the British Airways
airliner with 175 aboard had just taken off from Tampa to London.
As it was climbing to its assigned altitude of 26,000 feet, the
Traffic Collision Avoidance System suddenly alerted when the
aircraft was at 16,800 feet, said a British Airways spokesman.
The TCAS directed the plane to descend, which the pilots did
very quickly... so much so that two passengers and four crew
members were sent to the ceiling.
An FAA spokesman said the King Air was still at least 1,400 feet
higher than the 777, and its pilot claimed that he was aware of the
location of the British Airways jet.
Despite the injures, the British Airways 777 did not officially
report the apparent near-miss and its sudden descent, and continued
on to England.
Several critics told the Associated Press this incident
illustrates the problem with the antiquated air traffic control
system in this country, but as yet, it is unclear if the near-miss
was actually a close-call, or one pilot's overly enthusiastic
cooperation with a TCAS alert.
In any case... since injuries were minor, and no official report
was filed, the FAA will not be investigating.
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