FAA, NTSB investigating close call between 2 planes

By Clayton Wakida, KITV Digital Media Manager, KITV Digital Media Manager
Published On: May 15 2014 04:31:13 PM HST

Wikimedia Commons - Flickr: Aero Icarus/Eddie Maloney

HONOLULU -

 The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating an incident nearly three weeks ago when two jets came within miles of each other. 

On April 25, United Airlines Flight 1205 from Kona to Los Angeles responded to a warning from the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System about 200 miles northeast of Kona.  The warning told the crew to avoid a U.S. Airways Boeing 757 heading westbound.

The FAA says the required separation between aircraft in the airspace where the incident occurred is either 5 miles laterally or 1,000 feet vertically.

Preliminary data shows that the aircraft were 8 miles apart when the alert came.  The United plane was told to descend.  On the next radar hit 12 seconds later, the aircraft were 5.3 miles apart laterally and 800 feet apart vertically.

The FAA says it not drawing conclusions about whether the aircraft were on a collision course.  The agency began investigating the incident immediately and says it has taken steps to prevent a recurrence.  FAA officials say the TCAS performed as it was designed.

A joint FAA and NTSB investigation team was scheduled to arrive on Oahu on Thursday.

Since the 1980s, the FAA has required the TCAS on airliners with more than 30 passenger seats to help prevent mid-air collisions.  It alerts pilots to potential conflicts and may issue them instructions to climb or descend to avoid the conflict.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating an incident nearly three weeks ago when two jets came within miles of each other.

United Airlines says it is working with the NTSB in its review of the incident.

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