Alaska Near Miss: Airliner, Cargo Plane Cross Paths Over Airport

Thursday, 29 May 2014 07:05 AM

By Michael Mullins

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An Alaska Airlines near miss with a cargo plane over Anchorage's Fire Island has prompted an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The near miss occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday when Alaska Flight 135, carrying some 143 passengers and five crew members, was told by air traffic controllers to perform a "go around" before landing at the city's Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, The Alaska Dispatch reported.

According to NTSB spokesman Clint Johnson, the go around order was given to the commercial flight, which was traveling from Portland, Oregon, to avoid an outbound Ace Air Cargo Beechcraft 1900.

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As the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 veered right to carry out the go around order it reportedly came within a quarter of a mile of the cargo plane as the latter took off from the tarmac. According to Johnson, both aircraft were at the same elevation when the near miss occurred. The Alaska Airlines jet subsequently landed safely, The Associated Press reported.

Johnson added that one of the pilots spotted the other plane during the near miss.

The pilot Johnson was referring to was Todd Erickson, Ace Air Cargo’s chief pilot, who told The Alaska Dispatch that the Ace aircraft was aware of the situation and in contact with the control tower the entire time.

"There was no danger," Erickson said. "Once Alaska Airlines radioed they had the 1900 in sight, our crew had no cause for concern."

In addition to Erickson seeing the passenger jet, the Alaska Airlines flight was also aware that another plane was in close proximity, according to Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan, who told The Alaska Dispatch that the Boeing 737 aircraft is equipped with collision avoidance systems. The technology reportedly informed the passenger jet pilots of the other aircraft, which led them to increase their altitude.

The near miss in Alaska comes just weeks after another two planes nearly collided in midair near Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport on May 9. Similarly, both planes landed without further incident.

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