Close Call

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 3:48pm

Air traffic controller credited with preventing disaster on Logan International runway.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after a plane took a wrong turn and almost cut in front of another plane that was taking off at Logan International Airport.

Fortunately, a quick-thinking air traffic controller helped prevent a collision.

"You've got an air traffic controller who was on top of his game that night," said Matt McCluskey of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

This close call came on Wednesday, November 24, the night before Thanksgiving, when the holiday rush was on and Logan was busy.

JetBlue passengers were anxious to get to New England for the big feast.

Inside the control tower at Logan, was an air traffic controller who was just a year from retirement.

"He's a veteran. He's been here for awhile. He has 32 years experience, came out of the Air Force as an air traffic controller," said McCluskey.

The crew of Flight 1264 had just landed safely in Logan with 91 passengers on board after a three hour flight from Austin, Texas.

But then the flight's crew took a wrong turn.

The captain of Flight 1264 took that wrong turn and headed right onto an inactive runway, where it had just landed, and where JetBlue Flight 445 was taking off.

While talking to yet another pilot, the air traffic controller noticed that something was wrong.

Seconds counted, and he reacted quickly.

The pilot stopped with about 200 feet left to spare.

"Aviation disasters happen when airplanes get out on the runways when other ones are departing especially. I think he stopped that," said McCluskey.

JetBlue admitted that the pilot of Flight 1264 did make a mistake.

They released the following statement:

"At no time did the flight enter an active runway without clearance from ATC...The processes put in place by the airline, the pilots and ATC are designed to prevent and mitigate inadvertent errors. The system worked."

The air traffic controller is up for an award for what he did.

Comments News Comments

Post new Comment