|Quoting Adam1115 (Reply 13):
I guess more specifically, if a plane enters an active runway where a jet has been cleared to land, ATC doesn't know prior to them coming within 50 feet of each other? FIFTY FEET??? That is VERY close...
50 feet is the closest distance the craft came to each other, as estimated from radar. If the craft were 50 feet apart when they discovered the conflict, this would be a much different story
No response is instantaneous, especially when the engines are at low thrust settings for landing. I certainly don't claim to be an expert, but I would estimate that the Frontier flight had maybe 4 or 5 seconds notice, and had to lean on the throttle and hope the engines could spool up in time. 4 or 5 seconds, BTW, is about 1,500 feet or well over 1/4 mile at approach speed.
Now if the crew was warned by ATC only
4 or 5 seconds early, at around 1,500 feet out, then sometime before that ATC was alerted to the Metroliner's movement in some manner by ground radar, recognized the conflict, decided on a response and called Frontier. That can take another 2-4 seconds on a good day.
Putting this all together, we have about a 10 second string of events that narrowly averted disaster. Yet if this had happened 10 seconds earlier, the Frontier flight would have aborted over a mile out and we might have gotten a 2-line blurb in the paper, if anything. 10 seconds is about all the grace there is in modern ATC operations at a busy airport. That's why pilots have to know ATC procedures at the airport and follow them to the letter.
edit: Key Lime confusion (don't ask...)
[Edited 2007-01-06 06:58:18]
[Edited 2007-01-06 07:00:22]