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Near Mid-Air Collision 30,000' Over Iowa  
User currently offlineAirfinair From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 667 posts, RR: 1
Posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 14620 times:

A Northwest flight & a UAX flight came "dangerously close at 30,000 feet over Iowa on Tuesday..."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,1,6958553.story?coll=chi-news-hed


ORD,MDW,IND,ARB,AMS,AUS,ANQ,DTW,DEN,PHL,PIT,MIA,GPT,SAN,PHX,LAX,SFO,OAK,SEA,LAS,SLC,SMF,ATL,MEM,BOS,MHT,JFK,EWR,LGA,NASâ
39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMKEdude From South Korea, joined May 2005, 1011 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 14587 times:

From the article...

"The planes—heading toward each other at about 500 m.p.h.—were less than 2 miles apart with a vertical separation of 900 feet when on-board collision alarms sounded and a controller helped avert a crash, the FAA and air-traffic controllers said."

ATC, the TCAS, the pilots, sounds like everybody did their job.



"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
User currently offlineMPDPilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 991 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 14547 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 1):
ATC, the TCAS, the pilots, sounds like everybody did their job.

arguably ATC didn't do their job, but the system did work and the accident was avoided.

The article says that they got to within 900ft vertically and 1.79mi laterally, and then the article goes on to say that they were as close as 900ft. Which is it.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlineAirfinair From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 667 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 14474 times:

I love how the reporter refers to Chicago Center as "air-traffic control serving O'Hare International Airport." Yes, indirectly, just as Chicago Center also indirectly serves LAX, SEA, FLL, and every other airport in the nation.


ORD,MDW,IND,ARB,AMS,AUS,ANQ,DTW,DEN,PHL,PIT,MIA,GPT,SAN,PHX,LAX,SFO,OAK,SEA,LAS,SLC,SMF,ATL,MEM,BOS,MHT,JFK,EWR,LGA,NASâ
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2241 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 14067 times:

Quoting MPDPilot (Reply 2):
The article says that they got to within 900ft vertically and 1.79mi laterally, and then the article goes on to say that they were as close as 900ft. Which is it.

"Which is it?"
It is both. They were laterally 1.79 miles apart, and 900 feet vertically apart. In other words 1.79 miles to the side and 900 feet above/below each-other.
If they had seen each-other they're perspective would probably have been "over there" vs "up/down there".



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 13838 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 1):
ATC, the TCAS, the pilots, sounds like everybody did their job.

I disagree with this statement! The controller did NOT have the required 1,000' of vertical separation if the aircraft were within 5 NM of each other so that pretty much says ATC did not do their job.

Since I am not able to reconnect to the link I can' read if TCAS gave any RA or not, I wouldn't think it did since 900' last I knew of didn't provide for an RA, maybe give a TA so then TCAS did it's job.

Back to ATC. If the aircraft were in level at their assigned altitudes then the 900' could have been a Mode C that was 100' off which certainly isn't a near mid air, nor should that have been a controller error.

Now the NATCA folks saying near mid air, some of that just could be attributed to making a stance to the FAA that the new equipment had not been trained on properly as I don't often remember those type of statements being made public with 900' of vertical separation, but ya never know. Just food for thought and see what else might be stirred.
 stirthepot 

Quoting Airfinair (Reply 3):
I love how the reporter refers to Chicago Center as "air-traffic control serving O'Hare International Airport." Yes, indirectly, just as Chicago Center also indirectly serves LAX, SEA, FLL, and every other airport in the nation.

Oh lets tell the media that, and then toss in that a flight from EWR-FLL is served by Chicago Center, hell they control the entire world, and then toss in the question, why do we have other centers around the U.S., isn't that a waste of funds??? What a great way to spool up the brain surgeons in the govt.

Guess I am being a bit crazed today!
 biggrin 



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineVEEREF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 13744 times:

900ft?
Whoop de doo, that happens every day here in the US with RVSM. Quite often I've had aircraft 900 ft above pass directly overhead. We'll get a traffic alert from the TCAS but as long as it doesn't get any closer that's the end of it.
Also wondering how is it a controllers fault if an aircraft is 100 ft off it's altitude? It's not like he assigned it that way.

Must have been a slow news day.

[Edited 2007-01-19 15:18:35]

User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 13647 times:

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 6):
Whoop de doo, that happens every day here in the US with RVSM. Quite often I've had aircraft 900 ft above pass directly overhead. We'll get a traffic alert from the TCAS but as long as it doesn't get any closer that's the end of it.
Also wondering how is it a controllers fault if an aircraft is 100 ft off it's altitude? It's not like he assigned it that way.

Agreed, the fact that they were seperated by 1.79 miles laterally takes a little more wind out of the sails. In some parts of the country they call that excessive seperation.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineATCGOD From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 661 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 13526 times:

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 5):
I disagree with this statement! The controller did NOT have the required 1,000' of vertical separation if the aircraft were within 5 NM of each other so that pretty much says ATC did not do their job.

Well, it could be a transponder error, or autopilot error. I highly doubt this was a case where the controller assigned an altitude that wasn't in 1000' increments. This sounds like an equipment error...happens all the time.


User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 13511 times:

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 8):
Well, it could be a transponder error, or autopilot error. I highly doubt this was a case where the controller assigned an altitude that wasn't in 1000' increments. This sounds like an equipment error...happens all the time.

Correct and I mentioned that later in my post.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineVEEREF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 13501 times:

What's really fun is being the meat in an "RVSM sandwich" where two aircraft are coming directly at you, one 1000ft above and one 1000ft below. And as often as not, one will read 900 instead of 1000 on TCAS. Any number of reasons for that as stated above.

User currently offlineATCGOD From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 661 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13432 times:

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 9):
Correct and I mentioned that later in my post.

It's all good.  Wink


User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13413 times:

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 11):
It's all good.


Agreed  highfive 



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineFlyboy7974 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 1540 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13378 times:

wait a second, just woke up, but, am I reading this correctly, and then doing the math in my head that I am reading 1.79 miles, that equals, um, how many feet, alot!

and then 900 feet seperation, um again, wait what? the airspace system is set up on the basics of 500 feet intervals seperating by direction and flight plan aircraft from each other based upon vfr vs. ifr flightplans. now, yes, yes i know that we are talking about commercial aircraft flying at 30,000 feet which then all a/c are on ifr flight plans, but, come on now, get real. this clip sounds like a filler, and please people, research this and you'll find that this happens countless times everyday, a/c passing like this happens all the time everyday, it's just an uneducated newsperson got a hold of something and has now fulfilled the commitment of the media, to blow it ouf of proportion. how many times on trip reports here or other aviation sites have we seen pictures of a/c holding into LHR and a/c are stacked and circling at 1000 ft intervals, or pictures of a/c approaching airports and seperation is less than 1000 feet, come on, people, don't encourage media that can be as stupid as this person was in reporting this, god, and the chicagotribune printed this, digging deep, digging so very deep, i now place them as low if not lower than the national enquirer, chicagotribune now equates to bottomfeeders


User currently offlineAlexPorter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13300 times:

The one thing that's goofy here with 900' is that according to the article, both flights were eastbound, which means they should have been 2000' feet apart, not just 1000'. This happened near Dubuque, and NW was going to Detroit while UAx was going to Chicago. But otherwise, 900' and 1.79 miles is not a big deal at all. Strange that it happened when both were heading east.

User currently offlinePlanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3524 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13251 times:

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 8):
This sounds like an equipment error...happens all the time.

That was my first thought as well -- it would be fairly easy for an autopilot or a transponder to get it wrong -- calibration errors do happen, and in those cases it isn't necessarily the pilots fault. But, since they were both heading east, it means that one of those planes had to have been at the wrong altitude, seeing as east-bound aircraft fly at odd-thousands (29,000, 31,000, etc...), so if both planes were flying east in level flight 1,000 feet apart, that seems like an odd circumstance.

Quoting AlexPorter (Reply 14):
But otherwise, 900' and 1.79 miles is not a big deal at all. Strange that it happened when both were heading east.

Yeah! really strange, unless one of the aircraft was descending...



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13237 times:

Quoting Flyboy7974 (Reply 13):
wait a second, just woke up, but, am I reading this correctly, and then doing the math in my head that I am reading 1.79 miles, that equals, um, how many feet, alot!

Nah, you're still snoring!  Smile

Aircraft in a holding pattern and someone taking a picture out a window going into LHR doesn't mean they are 1,000' vertically separated, one could be descending to a lower alttidue so you could be 1,400' above that aircraft or more, and your 500' comparison is not for aircraft above 17,999' MSL, so what is your actual point as I think I am now sleeping?



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineLoggat From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 666 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13222 times:

Quoting AlexPorter (Reply 14):
both flights were eastbound

Not quite, the article says that Northwest was going DTW-DEN (west), and the UAX was going from Lincoln to ORD (east). 30,000 is a westbound altitude, but for operational necessity, can be used in any direction.



There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 13180 times:

.

Quoting Loggat (Reply 17):
but for operational necessity, can be used in any direction


So true....

Consider that they may have actually been on crossing routes with someone wanting higher or someone wanting lower with the interm altitude issued until clear of the traffic......not that someone was at the wrong altitude. As shown above "operational necessity" and certainly not set in stone.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineThrust From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 2688 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 10633 times:

It kind of surprises me that TCAS didn't warn them of the danger before that. Unless it malfunctioned it kind of surpises that experienced pilots like that allowed such a thing to come that close to happening.


Fly one thing; Fly it well
User currently offlineAllstarflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 10433 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 1):
ATC, the TCAS, the pilots, sounds like everybody did their job.

I'd say so.

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 6):
Whoop de doo, that happens every day here in the US with RVSM.

 checkmark 

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 8):
Well, it could be a transponder error, or autopilot error.

Agreed, and, in my limited time in the cockpit (being a dispatcher), I'd say it's autopilot. It's like, sometimes, the altimeter has a little variance on it - for example, when flying IND-BOS at 37000', the altimeter might read 36,900' or 36,800' - just something I've noticed from time to time.

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 8):
This sounds like an equipment error...happens all the time.

Agreed, like said.

Besides, ATC will usually give a traffic alert, and then, if it's close, TCAS goes off and that annoying (but definitely necessary) alert "TRAFFIC, TRAFFIC" sounds and then pilots are scouring the area where (usually) ATC has already said to watch. Just leaving O'Hare itself, I've seen more than 1 traffic alert on the same flight - the example in this thread may not have been too close to O'Hare, but this stuff just happens.

-R


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22726 posts, RR: 20
Reply 21, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 10397 times:

Quoting Airfinair (Reply 3):
I love how the reporter refers to Chicago Center as "air-traffic control serving O'Hare International Airport."

The Tribune has actually corrected this now.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 10357 times:

Read some of these quotes from the article and think about union-management politics. Heck, 900' vert. separations must happen fairly frequently for brief periods--that's only a 50' error in each altimeter/piloting. I'll bet the union isn't happy with the new system and chose to blow the whistle and go public with it. I wonder who contacted the Chicago Tribune with the story? I doubt the FAA reported this minor incident themselves with such sensational language. Also, since the investigation has just begun, it seems surprising that the responsible party has already been determined:

"The FAA attributed the incident... to an error by a veteran air-traffic controller"

"Union officials said the Traffic Management Advisor tool is riddled with bugs and has caused problems at other airports, including in Dallas and Houston."

"He said the system is especially prone to problems when heavy streams of airplanes are headed to multiple runways at O'Hare."

"The controllers union said the controller responsible for the planes and an assistant became distracted by a new technology that was being tested."



"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlinePlanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3524 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 9218 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 21):
The Tribune has actually corrected this now.

Yeah -- their transportation reporter, John Hilkevitch, is usually pretty good when writing about aviation. He's not perfect, but as we all know, it'd be pretty hard to satisfy all the media-naysayers on this board, as well as those on here who demand 110% perfection and airline-pilot technical knowledge when writing anything remotely related to aviation.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineDw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1257 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (7 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8387 times:

Quoting Redcordes (Reply 22):
Heck, 900' vert. separations must happen fairly frequently for brief periods--that's only a 50' error in each altimeter/piloting.

Keep in mind that all RVSM aircraft are flying on autopilot, and all altimeters should be set to 29.92. Thus, pilot error in terms of flying the aircraft or setting the altimeter, though still possible, are unlikely.

I'm thinking one aircraft must have been cleared to climb or descend in a manner that would conflict with the other. Normally 900 feet would not be significant; as many members have said numerous factors could cause such deviation. If a controller ordered one jet to climb or descend into another's airspace, that is much different.



CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
25 5mileBob : Hi folks - Didn't read the article, nor all of the responses, but for what it is worth: the ATC computer system will show an aircraft level at it's as
26 Brilondon : These reporters are not the brightest people in the world. They would know more if they just paid attention and did a little research on the topic at
27 Travellin'man : When you consider that jets fly 6-8 miles per minute, less than 2 miles is about 20 seconds or less. Had they been flying towards each other at simil
28 Post contains images IAHFLYR : Show me the report of that!!!! I know nothing of it and work in Houston so let the games and bs begin!
29 Zeke : My reading of the article is that the United Express aircraft was in a climbing turn, that is the only way the aircraft above will get an RA to climb
30 YYZatcboy : Sounds like they were flying past eachother and within the 5 mile boundary one of the Mode C transponders dropped down 100FT. It was likely just a com
31 KDTWflyer : So was this NWA1224 and SKW6834 on 1-16-2007?
32 Airfinair : I thought that the most interesting thing about the article is not so much the info in the article itself, but how John Hilkevitch may have received t
33 Ikramerica : Yes, but the point is, they weren't flying at each other. They only got near each other for a split second, nearly 2 miles apart, with NO CHANCE of h
34 Alfa75 : If this is a little off topic please let me know. But I was just driving home from work wondering why I never see any other planes when I am flying. I
35 Allstarflyer : Are you the one flying, or just riding along? Probably because if they're on a jet route along your path, they're either behind you, in front of you
36 Alfa75 : Riding along I'm afraid. Thanks for the explaniation.
37 Post contains images Irobertson : I will agree that 900 feet is certainly a bit close for comfort, but with almost two miles of separation? That wasn't a near hit... (George Carlin hom
38 Antskip : So how frequent is it that the "on-board collision alarms" go off on a scheduled service? Sounds to me that many regard the incident as trivial. So i
39 MrComet : Lets see 5480 feet in a mile x 1.79 miles = 9809 feet The square root of 9809 to the second power plus 900 to the second power = The planes were 9850
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