ca2ohHP
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America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:40 pm

In an article from the New York Times this morning....

September 29, 2005

Near Miss for 2 Jets on a Las Vegas Runway

By MATTHEW L. WALD

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - An America West passenger jet taking off from Las Vegas missed hitting an Air Canada jet by about 100 feet last Thursday night, according to a preliminary report, because a controller in the tower confused two planes and issued conflicting instructions.

The controller has been taken off duty and sent for more training, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, and the episode is under investigation.

America West Flight 539, departing for Cleveland, was cleared for takeoff about 11 p.m. local time on Runway 25 Right. At the same time, Air Canada Flight 593 had landed on Runway 25 Left, a parallel runway, on a flight from Toronto, and had been cleared to taxi to the terminal, across 25 Right. A collision was averted because the America West plane was airborne by the time it reached the point where the Air Canada plane was crossing.

The America West and Air Canada planes were both midsized Airbus jets that carry more than 100 passengers.

An F.A.A. spokeswoman said Wednesday that the agency did not believe that the America West plane had flown directly over the Air Canada plane, but that investigators were still trying to determine how close the two jets came.

Donn Walker, an F.A.A. spokesman, said the tower controller had cleared the America West plane for takeoff. Then a different America West plane, a Boeing 757, taxiing behind Flight 539, asked for a brief delay. The controller responded by revoking the takeoff clearance for the 757 - although he had never issued one for that plane - and cleared the Air Canada plane to cross the runway. Meanwhile Flight 539, duly cleared, rolled down the runway for takeoff.

"Our system is set up as much as possible to absorb human error and still not have a collision," Mr. Walker said.

He said, as did others, that the aviation agency had computer systems in place that would alert controllers to some kinds of human error, like pilots not following directions because they misheard an instruction or got lost in the field, but that it did not have an automatic system for warning controllers about confusing two airplanes.

In July at Kennedy International Airport in New York, a DC-8 cargo plane nearly hit a fully loaded Boeing 767 that blundered onto the active runway. The tower controller could not spot the problem because of heavy rain and clouds that cut visibility to near zero and made radar ineffective. The aviation agency has a system for seeing through clouds and rain, using signals given off by the planes themselves, as opposed to radar, which bounces electromagnetic energy off the planes' skins. But the agency has not installed it at Kennedy.
 
jmc1975
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Thu Sep 29, 2005 10:45 pm

It actually happened last week. Everything turned out OK.
.......
 
access-air
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:17 am

Why do they call it a "Near Miss?" Shouldnt it be a "Near Hit???"
If you nearly miss hitting something, that means you actually ended up hitting it...Misinformed terminology.
This is of course what happens with too many planes trying to get everywhere at the same time....

Access-Air
Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
 
ScarletHarlot
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:51 am

Thank goodness it did turn out okay. This could have ended very badly. Kudos to the America West pilots!
But that was when I ruled the world
 
ScarletHarlot
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:55 am

But that was when I ruled the world
 
OPNLguy
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:08 am

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 4):
Further info: the ATC lost his job.

Not exactly. Despite what the news article implied, he/she was not fired from the FAA. The controller was de-certified to work the position, and will get remedial training before checking out on the position again
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
ScarletHarlot
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:27 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 5):
Not exactly.

Thanks for the clarification. Guess "air controller loses job" is a misleading headline, eh?
But that was when I ruled the world
 
OPNLguy
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:55 am

Quoting ScarletHarlot (Reply 6):
Thanks for the clarification. Guess "air controller loses job" is a misleading headline, eh?

Just goes to demonstrate how the media "translates" things into concepts that they think we're readily familar with. It would have been more accurate if they would have said "suspended" but obvioulsy they didn't...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Bridogger6
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:02 am

I mean, of course this is ultimately ATC's fault, but shouldn't the AC pilot still have "looked both ways before crossing the street?" It doesn't seem to me that there was much the HP pilots could do, except for what the 757 pilot DID do, but the AC pilots surely share a minute portion of the blame?
 
Arrow
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:23 am

Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 8):
but the AC pilots surely share a minute portion of the blame?

Pretty minute. They had clearance to do what they were doing. I'm not sure they'd pick up the HP jet, at night, well down the other end of the runway, even if they did look. And even if they saw it, would they think it was holding for take-off clearance rather than moving? Hindsight is always 20-20.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
DLKAPA
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:31 am

Quoting Ca2ohHP (Thread starter):
The aviation agency has a system for seeing through clouds and rain, using signals given off by the planes themselves, as opposed to radar, which bounces electromagnetic energy off the planes' skins. But the agency has not installed it at Kennedy.

So then Kennedy can't read a transponder?
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:13 am

It looks like ATC made a mistake, he should not be fired. The Canadian pilots should have also been a little more careful looking for other traffic, you can still see a plane is rolling down the runway on a clear night. Not to mention paying attention to ATC transmistion during these critical phases of flight. Altough, from the report it doesn't seem like the incident was such a big deal since the AC bus wasn't directly on the HP bus takeoff path.
 
B744F
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:17 am

When you're taxiing, you aren't on the ground freq. not sure how the atc frequencies are setup at Vegas though but wouldn't they be on different ones, Willie? So how could they monitor? If anything they should have been looking down the runway for an airplane coming at them.
 
PHLapproach
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:24 am

Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 8):
I mean, of course this is ultimately ATC's fault, but shouldn't the AC pilot still have "looked both ways before crossing the street?" It doesn't seem to me that there was much the HP pilots could do, except for what the 757 pilot DID do, but the AC pilots surely share a minute portion of the blame?

Traffic that is crossing a runway ultimately are using the judgement of the controller. And for sure the AC pilots probably thought that the HP pilots were gonna hold in postion, not knowing that the controller confused the two HP flights as being the same one. Though, the HP pilots should have asked for clarification. Since the controller cancelled a departure clearance for someone that never received one.....

Quoting DLKAPA (Reply 10):
Quoting Ca2ohHP (Thread starter):
The aviation agency has a system for seeing through clouds and rain, using signals given off by the planes themselves, as opposed to radar, which bounces electromagnetic energy off the planes' skins. But the agency has not installed it at Kennedy.

So then Kennedy can't read a transponder?

It's called AMASS. Some airports have it and some don't. And besides, your not supposed to have the transponder on while on the ground unless the airport is running ASDE-X.

I forgot to add, that most likely the controller would go through a short refresher course provided by the FAA and then re-assigned to a smaller facility.

B744F, The way it sounds is that all aircraft were on the same local control frequency. Local control owns the taxiways between parallel runways, so as the AC aircraft was crossing he would have been monitoring that same local controls frequency.

[Edited 2005-09-29 21:28:00]
 
siromega
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:38 am

I was involved in the opposite this 10 or so years ago, we were about to touch down in ORD (an AA Super 80), and I heard the engines come back to full throtle and we started to increase in altitude - he came on the PA a minute or two later to let us know that there was another a/c taxing across the runway when we were trying to land.
 
srbmod
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:03 am

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 2):
Why do they call it a "Near Miss?" Shouldnt it be a "Near Hit???"

As said by George Carlin:

Here’s one they just made up: ‘near miss.’ When two planes almost collide, they call it a ‘near miss.’ It’s a near hit! A collision is a near miss! (Crunch) “Look, they nearly missed.” Yes, but not quite!

His entire routine on Airline Announcements is classic!

I wonder how many of these incidents never even make the news? I'm sure most of them that happen at General Aviation airports never even make the news.
 
av8rphx
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:27 am

When you're taxiing, you aren't on the ground freq.

Since when do you not listen to ground when you are taxiing? Most airports have you contact tower shortly before you get to the hold short line on departures, and arrivals usually contact ground after exiting the active, unless it is a slow time or late at night, in which you may just stay with tower til you get to the gate.
 
Goldenshield
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 10:34 am

Av8r—

I think he meant that while crossing the other active runway, you aren't on ground frequency. Also, many airports will have a point where you automatically switch over and monitor the tower frequency. This eases frequency congestion, which allows those who are airborne, and those on, or #1 to the active runway(s) to speak on the frequency.
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
 
AM
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:36 pm

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 11):
The Canadian pilots should have also been a little more careful looking for other traffic, you can still see a plane is rolling down the runway on a clear night. Not to mention paying attention to ATC transmission during these critical phases of flight.

I think both airplanes could have done something. The Air Canada crew is not the only one monitoring the frequency. According to the report that ScarletHarlot posted (reply 4), the Air Canada A319 was completing the runway crossing when the America West A320 flew overhead at 100' AGL or more.

So, the runway crossing clearance had to be given when the HP traffic was in the beginning of its take-off roll. They were surely well below V1. And if you think about it, 100' AGL is nothing in terms of the time a taking-off plane takes to get there. It should be about 1-2 seconds from the moment the main landing gear stops making contact with the ground to the point where the airplane is climbing through 100'. So it had just taken-off when it flew over the intersection.

Needless to say, I'm glad this didn't turn into an accident.

AM
"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."
 
iowaman
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:37 pm

Quoting Av8rPHX (Reply 16):
When you're taxiing, you aren't on the ground freq.

Since when do you not listen to ground when you are taxiing? Most airports have you contact tower shortly before you get to the hold short line on departures, and arrivals usually contact ground after exiting the active, unless it is a slow time or late at night, in which you may just stay with tower til you get to the gate.



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 17):
Av8r—

I think he meant that while crossing the other active runway, you aren't on ground frequency. Also, many airports will have a point where you automatically switch over and monitor the tower frequency. This eases frequency congestion, which allows those who are airborne, and those on, or #1 to the active runway(s) to speak on the frequency.

Just to clarify, with being familar with flying into LAS and spotting there and listening in on a scanner, usually they don't switch to ground until they cross 25R. The tower clears them to cross 25R and then contact ground on the other side.
 
jyatlantic
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:01 pm

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 2):
Why do they call it a "Near Miss?" Shouldnt it be a "Near Hit???"
If you nearly miss hitting something, that means you actually ended up hitting it...Misinformed terminology.
This is of course what happens with too many planes trying to get everywhere at the same time....

Courtesy George Carlin...
 
siromega
Posts: 564
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 11:57 am

RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:42 pm

This incident was rated a "C" by the FAA, on an A (most serious) to D (least serious) scale, per my local (LAS) news.
 
SonOfACaptain
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:47 pm

Who is this America West Airlines?  wink 

-SOAC
Non Illegitimi Carborundum
 
PHLapproach
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:19 am

Quoting Iowaman (Reply 19):
Just to clarify, with being familar with flying into LAS and spotting there and listening in on a scanner, usually they don't switch to ground until they cross 25R. The tower clears them to cross 25R and then contact ground on the other side.

Exactly what I said above, Local owns the taxiways between runways.

Here is a post on another forum from a LAS resident that knows the ATC ops pretty well.


"This was basically called right. No, the controller wasn't fired.. Just is going back for training.

at Vegas, They'll allot for more anticipated separation than people realise. If an arrival comes in and is about to touch down, they'll give the takeoff clearance to a departure. That way when the arrival rolls out and holds short of the parallel, the departure should be wheels up and at least 100ft above them. Literally when they are wheels up, they'd give the crossing clearance to the arrival. That way they aren't holding there for any length of time, unless they're getting the stream of departures out. This one just happened to have been cut too close"
 
ca2ohHP
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:25 am

Quoting SonOfACaptain (Reply 22):
Who is this America West Airlines?

hah sorry should have had my dates right  banghead 
 
SonOfACaptain
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RE: America West Near Miss At LAS Last Night

Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:50 pm

Quoting Ca2ohHP (Reply 24):
hah sorry should have had my dates right

Haha, no problem. I am having a hard time adjusting too. I saw somewhere where somebody posted US flew LAS-CLE, and I was like wtf, until it dawned on me about the merger.

-SOAC
Non Illegitimi Carborundum