Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Near midair collision at JFK airport

NTSB logoThe U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has initiated an investigation regarding a near midair collision at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). According to an advisory issued this morning by the NTSB, the incident occurred on the evening of July 5, 2008, when two passenger aircraft nearly collided. The two aircraft involved in the incident were a Cayman Airways Boeing 737-300, operating as Flight CAY792, and a Linea Aerea Nacional de Chile (LAN Chile) Boeing 767-300, operating as Flight LAN533.

According to preliminary information released by the NTSB:
The Cayman Airways flight, on approach to runway 22L, was executing a missed approach and conflicted with the Linea Aeroea Navional de Chile flight that was departing runway 13R. Tower controllers intervened to attempt to resolve the conflict, assigning both aircraft diverging headings. The closest proximity of the two aircraft has not yet been determined. At the time of the incident, the weather was VFR with 6 miles visibility and haze.
The Cayman Airways flight was arriving at JFK from Grand Cayman. The LAN Chile flight was departing JFK for Santiago Chile. There were no reported injuries or damage to the aircraft.

UPDATE: The National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA) issued a news release about the JFK near collision, calling the incident "very scary." More from the NATCA news release:
When a JFK Tower air traffic controller saw that Cayman 792 was executing the missed approach, he gave instructions for the jet to make a left turn to avoid the departing LAN Chile 533, which was told to turn right, over the water. But it was too late. The paths of both jets crossed. Air traffic controllers at New York Terminal Radar Approach Control in Westbury, N.Y., which handles airborne flights into and out of JFK, say the radar targets of both jets merged on top of each other and estimated their closest proximity at 100 feet.

Controllers at both JFK Tower and New York TRACON all used the word “ugly” to describe the incident. One TRACON controllers said it was the ugliest go-around they have seen in 24 years on the job. Other TRACON controllers said the radar targets of both jets merged into one on their scopes.
Here is the link to the ATC audio of the near collision incident, posted on the NATCA website.