After 2nd close to miss collision at Reagan National, aviation professional says not sufficient was performed to forestall this

Aviation security consultants are elevating questions over the staffing of air visitors controllers nationwide after Wednesday’s close to collision at Reagan National Airport.

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is once more sounding an alarm over the including of flights at Regan National Airport. WTOP’s Mike Murilo studies this comes after the second time planes practically collided on the runway there in lower than two months.

Wednesday’s close to floor collision of an American Airlines jet and a King Air aircraft at Reagan National Airport, the second shut name in a month, is as soon as once more elevating questions on what aviation security consultants are saying is a extreme scarcity of air visitors controllers nationwide.

The Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation into this newest incident, when an American Airlines aircraft was on its takeoff and practically collided with a King Air aircraft that was touchdown on a shorter runway close by.

About two-thirds up Runway 1, the 2 runways intersect and air visitors controllers advised the American flight to abort its takeoff, because the King Air was on the bottom and approaching the intersection. It is estimated the American aircraft was approaching 90 miles per hour and was 1,300 ft from the King Air aircraft earlier than stopping and taxing off the runway.

In recordings, air visitors controllers will be heard urgently directing the American Airlines pilot to cease the takeoff and switch off the principle runway to keep away from crossing paths with the smaller aircraft.

“American 2134, cancel takeoff clearance!” an air visitors controller stated. “Zero alpha alpha, go round! Go round!”

“Rejecting the takeoff, 2134,” a pilot replied.

“Zero alpha alpha, we can’t go round. We have been already on the bottom,” stated the pilot.

“American 2134, do you wish to return to the gate?” stated the air visitors controller.

“Yeah, we have to speak to upkeep, however yeah, I believe we have been above 80 knots, so we’re going to must get an inspection,” stated the pilot.

The American aircraft was inspected and no injury was discovered. It finally left for Boston, about 4 hours later.

Retired airline captain and aviation security professional John Nance advised WTOP that this incident as soon as once more reveals the pressing want for the FAA to rent and practice air visitors controllers and get them into the system as soon as they’re prepared.

“We don’t have sufficient air visitors controllers. We don’t sufficient coaching,” Nance stated. “We nonetheless have fatigue in air visitors management and we’re not addressing these points quick sufficient.”

However, even when this challenge was addressed instantly, it nonetheless takes years of coaching earlier than the controllers can work on the greatest and busiest air visitors management amenities and airports.

Earlier in May, President Joe Biden signed the brand new, five-year FAA Reauthorization Bill that the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers and others stated will enhance staffing at airports and air visitors management amenities.

This newest incident at Reagan National comes only one month after an analogous incident involving two jets, one from Southwest and the opposite with JetBlue. The FAA has additionally opened an investigation into that incident and, in that case, the 2 planes got here inside 400 ft of every.

Nance stated the aviation system has a number of redundant programs to forestall collisions, however the margin of security is getting narrower and narrower.

“The drawback is we are able to’t maintain counting on the back-up programs to do it. One of today, we’re going to have a tragedy,” he stated.

The shut name has a number of senators who symbolize Maryland and Virginia, in addition to a number of House members involved. They fought a transfer within the FAA Reauthorization Bill to considerably increase the variety of lengthy distance flights out of Reagan to the West Coast and already, a number of airways are vying to win these coveted slots.

Maryland U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen stated as an alternative of including flights out of Reagan, the area’s two bigger airports, Dulles International and BWI Marshall, must be used for these 5 further landings and takeoffs which might be being added to Reagan.

He stated the congressional determination to increase flights at Reagan is “misguided and that is one other very scary second.”

As they await the end result of the FAA’s investigation, Van Hollen stated he’ll work along with his Virginia colleagues to see if there’s a means they’ll “claw again” on the further slots at Reagan.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

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