I use "WHOA" a lot, maybe too much, but I don't find myself saying "WHOA, THAT WAS CLOSE!" very often. But if you ask this pilot 1/2 mile at a closing speed of better than 600 knots is WHOA, WAY TOO CLOSE:
According to published reports, an American Airlines 777 came within a half-mile of two USAF C-17 transport planes in a harrowing near-collision over the Atlantic two weeks ago.
American Flight 951, bound for Sao Paulo, Brazil, took off at 10:23 p.m. from Kennedy Airport on Jan. 20.
Minutes later, about 80 miles southeast of New York, the Boeing 777 came within 200 feet vertically and 2,000 feet horizontally of two Air Force C17 Globemaster cargo planes heading northwest toward McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
The Boeing jet was traveling at 400 mph at the time of the incident, according to radar data on the Web site FlightAware.com. At that speed, it could have closed the distance to the military jets in mere seconds.
The data from FlightAware shows that at 10:35 p.m., 12 minutes into its flight, the 777 briefly slows down and then suddenly turns to the south, as if it were avoiding a collision.
The three planes were close enough to trigger a Traffic Collision Avoidance System, or TCAS, alert on the American Airlines jet, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
The airliner, a Boeing 777, was under the control of one Federal Aviation Administration air-traffic controller, and the two military planes were under the jurisdiction of another, but the three planes were near a boundary that divided the two controllers’ airspace, according to the aviation agency, which is also investigating.
The incident also triggered automatic alerts to the FAA's New York Center, which oversees that area of the Atlantic Ocean. With the alert and the controllers' guidance, the planes avoided a collision, the NTSB said.
More flight safety information from airsafe.com here.
NTSB Aviation web site is here.
The FAA's recently improved web site is here.
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