Topic Author
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New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Sat Jan 06, 2001 2:51 am

Very interesting report...have not heard anything about it.

This is from the NTSB website:
"On December 1, 2000, at 1244 Pacific standard time, Air New Zealand Flight 002, a Boeing 747-400, New Zealand registry ZK-SUJ, encountered an opposite direction Boeing 737-3Q8, N696BJ, in cruise at FL370 about 400 nmi southwest of Los Angeles, California. Both airplanes maneuvered to avoid each other in response to TCAS resolutions. Air New Zealand (ANZ) Flight 002 was operating on an IFR clearance in oceanic airspace and being controlled by the Oakland Oceanic Control Center on a nonstop international passenger flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Los Angeles. The Boeing 737 was operating on a clearance from the US Navy Fleet Air Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC) in San Diego, California, to conduct VFR operations in Warning Area 291. The Boeing 747 was operated by Air New Zealand Airlines under the pertinent provisions of the New Zealand civil aviation regulations. The Boeing 737 was operated by Aviation Partners, Inc., of Seattle, Washington, under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, and was conducting engineering test flight operations. Neither airplane was damaged. None of the 17 crewmembers or 378 passengers on Air New Zealand Flight 002 were injured. The two pilots on the Boeing 737 were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The captain of Air New Zealand Flight 002 said they were in cruise flight at FL370 near position north 28 degrees 49 minutes by west 124 degrees 10 minutes with the TCAS set to a range of 40 miles. The TCAS alerted him to a traffic advisory (TA) 40 miles at the 12 o'clock position opposite direction at the same altitude. Shortly thereafter, the TCAS changed to a resolution advisory (RA) commanding a descent. The Captain disconnected the autopilot and began a descent as he acquired the other aircraft visually. The traffic also began a descent and he turned left to avoid the other airplane. The Captain noted that the traffic turned toward his airplane and he then maneuvered in the opposite direction and increased his rate of descent. He estimated that the Boeing 737 passed them 400 feet below and with 3/4 mile lateral separation. The captain stated that they were not advised of any traffic in their vicinity. The Boeing 737 was on an engineering test flight exploring a winglet installation and had been operating VFR in Warning Area 291 (W291), which is controlled by the US Navy Fleet Air Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC) in San Diego. In order to conduct the tests and gather the cruise efficiency data for the test card points, the airplane was flying ground tracks east to west into the prevailing winds at FL370. Radar service and separation for the Boeing 737 had been terminated by FASFAC because of radar coverage loss. The TCAS had a maximum 12-mile range limit and was set to that value. They first were alerted to a traffic advisory, which became a climb resolution advisory as they visually acquired the opposite direction Boeing 747. The captain said he was at the maximum service ceiling for his operating weight and could not climb in response to his TCAS RA, so he descended and turned right. The Boeing 737 crew estimated the closest point of approach as 2 to 3 miles and 1,000 feet below the Air New Zealand flight. In a subsequent interview, the captain said that he "may have been outside of W291." Because of coverage issues, no radar data was available for the area in question. Review of transcripts and other documents supplied by the US Navy disclosed that FACSFAC did not coordinate the Boeing 737's operations with Oakland Oceanic Control Center as required by a letter of agreement between the facilities. Examination of the operating regulations in 14 CFR Part 91 disclose that allowable VFR altitudes for westbound flights are FL320, FL360, and FL400."

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The aircraft involved

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RE: New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Sat Jan 06, 2001 2:56 am

NZ002, thats the flight that goes AKL-LAX-LHR ain't it? Im surprised we haven't heard much about this.
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!

RE: New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Sat Jan 06, 2001 5:55 am

Sounds like the Navy Fleet Air Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC) is at fault here. Another question I have is why was the 737 allowed to operate at such a weight that it could not follow the TCAS resolution advisory. I mean what good is it if the TCAS tells you what to do to avoid collision and you can't do it so you end up turning right into the path of the oncoming traffic AGAIN as it is turning to avoid you?

I am not completely familiar with how TCAS works, so I also have a question. The TCAS of each aircraft involved gave opposite resolutions to avoid collision. That makes sense, but how does the TCAS in one aircraft know what the TCAS is the opposing aircraft is telling it's crew to do so that the TCAS in the first aircraft can issue an opposite resolution advisory? Or is that not how it works? Can someone explain how TCAS works?
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RE: New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Sat Jan 06, 2001 6:36 am

This was reported in the New Zealand Papers.

Why are you guys surprised that you haven't heard much about it? Do you want it blown up out or proportion so that it makes the front pages of all the International Papers so that people get more messages about how dangerous it is to fly?
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RE: New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Sat Jan 06, 2001 8:03 am

It was also reported on the news and Radio in New Zealand.

I thibk it is he Traffic Controllers fault for not advising the flight crews of bothe aircrafts that there were other aircrafts on the same path and to chance course.


RE: New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Tue Jan 09, 2001 11:30 am

No one can explain how TCAS works???
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Tue Jan 09, 2001 12:21 pm

Check this site out, it should answer any questions...


RE: New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Tue Jan 09, 2001 1:39 pm

Hey guys.
I don't know who is responsible for this. But there is something we should know. If there is 2 airplanes involved with head on collision the rule says that they both should turn right (right of way rule). Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that AZ pilot should be turning right instead of left. Again I don't know the airspace and situation but I've been told that whenever I fly and see traffic that might be in danger with me, always turn right.

RE: New Zealand B747 Close Midair Encounter....

Wed Jan 10, 2001 2:40 am

Thank you, Boeing727.

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