Near-Misses and Close Calls

15 Nov

This is scary.

THURSDAY, Nov. 15, 2007, 9:39 a.m.
By The Associated Press

Midwest plane avoids mid-air collision

Aurora, Ill. – A cockpit safety device in a Midwest Airlines plane flying out of Milwaukee is credited with helping pilots avoid a mid-air collision at 25,000 feet over Indiana.

According to a preliminary investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, the planes came within seconds of colliding Tuesday evening because of an error by an air traffic controller.

FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory says the incident happened amid a shift change during a busy time at the Chicago Center radar facility in Aurora.

Officials say that controller directed a Midwest Airlines plane flying east from Milwaukee into the path of a United Express jet heading west out of Greensboro, North Carolina.

The collision-avoidance device in the Midwest plane went off, and an airline spokeswoman says the pilots executed an emergency climb to get out of the way.
As I read this, I wondered if anyone on the plane knew what was going on. Did a child looking out the window say to his mom, “Look, it’s a plane!” Or are close calls in the air different from close calls on the ground (a plane is 1,000 feet away v. a car being two feet away)? If the passengers didn’t know what was doing on, I wonder how often that actually happens in the air, no one aware of how close they just came to being the lead story on the national news.

When I flew from Milwaukee to Orlando and back last month, I looked out the window of the plane a few times to make sure there wasn’t another one coming at us. I was nervous about the trip before I even left, so my anxieties were manifesting themselves in strange (and neurotic) ways. Obviously everything turned out fine and I’m back here on solid ground writing this entry. Thankfully I’m not flying anywhere until potentially February, so by that time this story should be well out of my head. But right now, it definitely freaks me out a bit.


One Response to “Near-Misses and Close Calls”

  1. TBI 26 August 2008 at 10:37 am #

    This is a video about a little girl whose life was shattered in a car accident because the car model she was riding in had weak front seats and her carseat was strapped in behind one of the front seats.
    I know it’s not common to strap a child’s carseat in the rear center, but this shows how important it is to do just that, especially if your car has weak front seat-backs. Please pass this video around to anyone who has children ride with them. Maybe we can prevent something like this from happening to another family.

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