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Planes within feet of 'gnarly' disaster over Houston - May 9, 2014

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posted on May, 23 2014 @ 12:32 PM
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The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after two passenger jets came close to a collision in the skies above Houston earlier this month.

News has just come out about the serious near-miss on May 9, when it appears an air traffic controller's mistake put one aircraft directly in the path of another.

Live air traffic control reports reveal the controller telling United Flight 601, which had just taken off, to turn right, which put it almost directly in the path of Flight 437.

At the closest, the two airliners were about 0.87 miles apart with about 400 vertical feet separating them, officials said.

Urgent calls from an air traffic controller can be heard on LiveATC.net recordings obtained by CNN.

"United 601 stop your turn, stop your climb and stop your turn United 601," the controller says.

Later pilots are heard conferring about what exactly went wrong, with one commenting on how "gnarly" the situation got.

The pilot of United 601 is heard to ask another pilot, "Hey, you know what happened there?"

The other pilot answers, "You all basically crossed directly over the top of each other."

"That's what it looked like from my perspective. I have no idea what was going on over there in the tower. But, you know, it was pretty gnarly looking," said the other pilot.

The pilot of Flight 601 is heard suggesting the problem simply came down to not knowing left from right.

"I'm guessing he was supposed to give us a left turn," says the 601 pilot.

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Oops, new guy almost crashes planes. When I hear this, having listen to Houston often, I figured it was 15L and 9. Glad no one ended up hurt.
edit on 5/23/2014 by roadgravel because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/23/2014 by roadgravel because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/23/2014 by roadgravel because: fix link




posted on May, 23 2014 @ 12:43 PM
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a reply to: roadgravel

Personally, I can't $ee any rea$on why clo$e proximity to airport $en$ing device$ can't be in$talled in plane$ that warn of colli$ions de$pite what controller$ $ay. They warn of wind shear, the ground (pull up… pull up) Bingo fuel and a hundred other things.

People make mistakes.



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 12:53 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel

Oops, new guy almost crashes planes. When I hear this, having listen to Houston often, I figured it was 15L and 9. Glad no one ended up hurt.


The understatement of the year!



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 12:55 PM
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There is a collision system (transponder) but it might be too soon given the planes were taking off. Zaphod would probably informed on this subject.

One would think the controller was aware of the runway to the right is being used for take offs. Sounds like he was to tell the plane to turn left, back to 340.
edit on 5/23/2014 by roadgravel because: typo

edit on 5/23/2014 by roadgravel because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 03:23 PM
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I am going to revise the above to note it is more proper to say anti-collision. Obvious it is not a system to purposely fly planes into each other.



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 06:38 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel
There is a collision system (transponder) but it might be too soon given the planes were taking off. Zaphod would probably informed on this subject.

One would think the controller was aware of the runway to the right is being used for take offs. Sounds like he was to tell the plane to turn left, back to 340.


The system is the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) which requires both aircraft to have altitude reporting transpders. TCAS gives an alert and in newer systems a conflict resolution advisrory.There has not been an airliner mid-air collision the US in 28 years.



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 06:54 PM
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Yes, I have researched TCAS.

I notice in Houston, the transponder code seems to be assigned by the departure controllers. Would the system be functionally active at take off or would that create congestion around the airport.



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 07:12 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel
Yes, I have researched TCAS.

I notice in Houston, the transponder code seems to be assigned by the departure controllers. Would the system be functionally active at take off or would that create congestion around the airport.


The squawk code is given with the initial clearance.... 99% of the time while still at the gate before initial taxi clearance.... Example: United 671 is cleared to Dallas as filed, climb to maintain 4000 squawk 2345. Pilots reads back: United 671 cleared as filed maintain 4000 squawking 2345. The pilot then changes to ground control frequency to get taxi instructions and clearance to the active runway they will be using.. The transponder is turned on as the aircraft takes the runway. TCAS works just fine and can warn a pilot to look and find an approaching aircraft.. It gives voice commands such as "Stop Climb" etc when a conflict is detected.

One of the guys who has an aircraft in a shared hanger is a senior controller at Houston RAPCON. He says they are having problems qualifying people even with extra time given for training. When they wash out of RAPCON they are usually sent to become a tower operator at some other facility..

Some of you might remember the tower controller that cleared an aircraft to land on top of another aircraft sitting on the runway at LAX several years ago.... Kinda comes to mind IMO.

The computers have a snitch component operating with departure and approach control. If an aircraft gets within such and such distance (subject to change due to evaluation at a particular airport) form another aircraft an incident report is automatically generated.... Investigation on who where and why is initiated.
edit on 23-5-2014 by 727Sky because: ...



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 07:26 PM
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a reply to: 727Sky

Thanks for that info.



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 09:09 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

Because Congress can't or won't pass anything but continuing resolutions for the FAA. That means that new systems are extremely hard to come by and implement. That's why the ATC system is 40 years old and has only been patched in recent years, instead of the major replacement that they want to do, going to an entirely new system.



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 09:16 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Sometimes I think they would do well by just deploying US Anti-Aircraft missile batteries at the airports and leave the actual missile part at home. Some of the modern mobile radar is designed to track and monitor triple digit numbers of planes in a reliable way, a lot better than this mickey mouse mesh of new, old and 'REALLY don't ask how old' which they use now. A back up at least...

At least we'd get some useful operational service out of the numbers produced.



posted on May, 23 2014 @ 09:22 PM
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a reply to: Wrabbit2000

Oh, absolutely. There are a couple of radars I'd love to see them move into an airport vicinity and plug in. A PAC-3 system would be perfect for TCA. A land based SPY-1D would be freaking amazing.



posted on May, 24 2014 @ 08:59 AM
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a reply to: roadgravel

How does 0.87 miles horizontal and 400ft vertical equate to "within feet"? Well I suppose you can measure anything in feet. I'm within feet of colliding with a plane over Houston, too. About 25 million feet



posted on May, 24 2014 @ 03:00 PM
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originally posted by: Rob48
a reply to: roadgravel
raft is a
How does 0.87 miles horizontal and 400ft vertical equate to "within feet"? Well I suppose you can measure anything in feet. I'm within feet of colliding with a plane over Houston, too. About 25 million feet


25,000,000 feet is about 50,000 miles, or a fifth of the way to the moon.No airplanes up there. The absolute altitude record for a self-launched manned air-breathing
aircraft is about 21 miles by a Soviet MiG 25M in 1977.



posted on May, 24 2014 @ 04:50 PM
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a reply to: F4guy
No, it's about 4,700 miles, which is about the distance between me and a plane in flight over Houston



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