Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In the Headlines...Yikes!

The Associated Press reports today that a controller at LAX cleared three planes to use the same runway at the same time. Had the pilot of the departing Skywest Turboprop not seen the arriving Southwest jet, a fatal collision would have occurred. In fact, the jet passed fifty feet above and less than 300 feet away from the turboprop. The AirCanada jet, over 5000 feet away, was never in jeopardy. Still no word on why the controller so severely misjudged, but this incident is merely an extreme instance of a much larger problem at LAX. Increasing air traffic combined with limited runway area make the airport one of the country's most dangerous. Logan airport in Boston, as I'm sure Evan will point out, suffers from a similar problem, as does Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California.

Here's the story:
In better news, this summer Delta will begin nonstop service between Raleigh/Durham and LAX. Now if only I can convince them to initiate nonstop service from Charlottesville to California...

Delta story:


Blogger Evan said...

Fat chance for a CHO-SFO direct!

Yes, Logan is listed as having one of the worst records for runway incursions. Part of the problem with these large airports is that their major runways, in Logan's case, all of them, cross at various points. It's surprising how many airports have crossing runways, as opposed to the much safer runway patterns, such as the four parallel runways at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, the busiest airport in the world.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This doesn't directly address the near-misses, but touches on the short runway problem:

Logan Airport in Boston (among others in the country) is using a special material meant to slow down and stop a plane that overshoots the runway:

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced that preparations will begin for the installation of an Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS) at the end of Runway 22R beginning Monday, May 23, 2005. EMAS, which is an engineered bed of ultra-light, crushable concrete blocks, is designed to slow an aircraft that has overrun the end of a runway. EMAS increases airport runway safety protecting people and aircraft in the case of an emergency. The system will be installed on the existing airport land mass, and will not intrude into the surrounding water.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

So is the problem one of runways or is the problem in the control tower? If the latter, do we lack sufficient controllers, sufficient technology, or is there a maximum carrying capacity for any single airport?

any speculation?

2:21 PM  

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