Federal officials are investigating an incident in which a private plane was told to abort its landing to avoid hitting a Southwest Airlines jet that was using the same runway to take off in the latest in a series of recent close calls between planes.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that it is investigating the incident, which happened Friday at San Diego International Airport.
A Cessna Citation business jet was told to cut short its approach to landing and circle around because a Southwest plane was still on the runway, the FAA said. According to the agency’s preliminary review, an air traffic controller cleared the private jet to land and then told the Southwest pilots to taxi on to the same runway and wait for approval to take off.
The private jet was able to pull up and circle before landing safely. It is not clear how close the planes came to each other.
The airport’s automated system for tracking planes and vehicles on the ground alerted the controller to the potential conflict, the FAA said.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board, which tweeted that it too was looking into the San Diego incident, ave investigated more than a half-dozen close calls at airports around the country this year. The surge led the FAA to hold a “safety summit” in March.
Federal officials are also investigating two other recent incidents.
They are looking into the crash of a Soviet-built fighter jet during an air show in Michigan on Sunday; the pilot and another person on board ejected and avoided serious injury, officials said.
Investigators are also looking into what caused a possible loss of cabin pressure on an American Airlines flight over Florida on Thursday. Oxygen masks dropped and the plane descended more than 15,000 feet three minutes before landing safely in Gainesville, Florida, the FAA said. Pilots usually try to fly lower where the air is richer in oxygen if they believe there has been a loss of cabin pressure.
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