Saturday, October 07, 2006

LAX runway incursion: Close call!

Imagine this: You're in a regional jet cleared for takeoff from LAX, but about the time your aircraft reaches a speed of 100 knots you see a Gulfstream taxiing across the runway in front of you.

That's what happened last week to a crew operating a SkyWest jet bound for San Antonio. Fortunately, the pilots were able to abort takeoff, coming to a stop less than 100 ft from the business jet!

Here is an account of this near-collision from the Aero-News Network:
The near-accident occurred around 6:00 pm, when the UK-registered Gulfstream taxied from a hangar on the south side of the field and was given instructions to cross the outer runway but hold short of the inner runway, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The pilot read back the instructions, but missed his assigned taxiway... and had to make a U-turn to get back to it. After repeating his initial instructions, the Gulfstream pilot took the correct taxiway, but did not stop short of the inner runway as instructed. As the Gulfstream crossed the active runway, the departing Skywest aircraft, carrying 39 passengers and crew, had to slam on its brakes to avoid the collision.

The Gulfstream pilot told officials he was certain the controller had cleared him to cross both runways, even though he twice read back the "hold short" instructions correctly, Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman, told the Times.

FAA officials said the SkyWest pilot, the tower controller and the ground radar that alerts controllers to impending collisions all noticed -- at the same time -- the Gulfstream crossing the runway.

"We had three layers of redundancy," continued Gregor, "This is just a clear and clean pilot mistake."

According to tapes released to the LA Times, the shaken controller called out, "SkyWest 6430, I apologize. We never talked to the Gulfstream. He crossed without a clearance. I apologize. If you could make a right turn, please, and exit the runway."
The SkyWest pilot is heard responding, "Exiting right," exhaling heavily. The controller was so traumatized by the near-collision that she left her post seconds later.
The FAA says that controller workload and controller staffing had nothing to do with this incident.

Source: Gulfstream, RJ Involved In LAX Runway Incursion Incident -

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