Another close call between commercial airliners at a major U.S. airport is under federal investigation.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced Friday that it is investigating a Wednesday evening runway incursion at Bob Hope Burbank Airport in California.
The NTSB says the crew of a landing Mesa Airlines CRJ900 “executed a pilot-initiated go-around” as a SkyWest Embraer E175 was taking off from the same runway. A go-around is a landing aborted on the approach. The NTSB says neither airplane was damaged and nobody on board was hurt.
LiveATC.net recordings from the time of the incident chronicle confusion over whether the SkyWest flight was off the runway.
“Is he off the runway yet?” asked one unidentified voice. “We’re going around,” responded the crew of the Mesa flight.
The incident is the fourth runway incursion involving commercial airliners under investigation by the NTSB since the start of this year, including incidents at Honolulu, Austin, and New York’s JFK airport.
“The Mesa pilot discontinued the landing and initiated a climb out,” said a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is also investigating the incident.
“Meanwhile, the SkyWest aircraft continued with its departure, which prompted an automated alert to sound on the flight deck of the Mesa aircraft,” the FAA said. The controller instructed the Mesa crew to turn to a course that took it away from the other aircraft.”
Neither agency has said how close the two planes came to a collision. The FAA was already conducting a sweeping safety review before this most recent incident.
“We are experiencing the safest period in aviation history, but we cannot take this for granted,” Billy Nolen, the acting FAA administrator, wrote in a memo about the safety review. “Recent events remind us that we must not become complacent.”
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