Thursday, July 24, 2008

Near mid-air collision at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport

NTSB logoThe U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced yesterday that an investigation has been initiated regarding a near mid-air collision at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) earlier this week. The incident occurred on Monday, July 21, 2008, at 12:47 CDT, when a regional jet operated by American Eagle, and a privately owned Learjet LR60 came in close proximity to one another while aloft. There were no reports of injuries, and no damage to either aircraft.

According to information in today's NTSB Advisory about the incident, an Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft, operating as American Eagle Flight EGF298, was departing ORD runway 32L, and the Learjet was landing on runway 9R. The local assistant/monitor for the local air traffic controller observed the converging paths of the two airplanes and advised the local controller to instruct the Learjet to go around. The American Eagle ERJ-145 was instructed to stay low on departure. The NTSB says that analysis of radar replays revealed that the Learjet passed 325 feet above and slightly behind the departing ERJ-145.

The NTSB states that as a result of this incident, new procedures have been implemented for arrivals to runway 9R requiring specific coordination between approach control and the tower regarding whether 9R is in use.

American Eagle Flight EGF298 was departing on a scheduled passenger flight to Greater Peoria Regional Airport (PIA). The Learjet (registration N252RP) was operating under 14 CFR Part 91 as a corporate flight. FAA records indicate that the Learjet is owned by Electrolux Home Products, Inc. of Augusta, GA.

According to the NTSB, a preliminary report on the incident is expected to be published later this week on the Board's website.

This near collision comes close on the heels of another midair incident earlier this month at New York's JFK Airport. In that incident, the path of a LAN Chile Boeing 767-300 that was departing JFK's runway 13R intersected with that of a Cayman Airways Boeing 737-300, which had performed a go-around while on approach to JFK runway 22L. Air traffic controllers at New York TRACON estimated their closest proximity at 100 feet.

UPDATE: Mar. 3, 2009: The NTSB recently issued a report about this incident, concluding that the 'probable cause' was: "The LC-10 [Local Control] controller's failure to ensure the appropriate separation between two airplanes operating on runways where flight paths intersect."

For more details, see: Chicago-O'Hare air traffic controller blamed for near mid-air collision