2nd-to-worst FAA rating in LAX close call

first_imgA WestJet Boeing 737 arriving from Calgary, Alberta, nearly collided with a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 that was taking off for Memphis, Tenn., just before 1p.m. Aug. 16, according to FAA and National Transportation Safety Board officials. The pilot aboard the WestJet Boeing 737 landed on one of LAX’s northern runways and switched radio frequencies to the ground traffic controller before receiving final instruction from the air traffic controller, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The ground controller then mistakenly cleared the pilot to cross the runway and proceed to a terminal gate, believing that an air traffic controller had already given the go-ahead. The incursion was not classified a Category A – the most dire listing – because extreme action was not required by the pilots to avoid a collision, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. “It was only a 37-foot separation between the planes, but the factor of extreme action didn’t come into play with this incident,” Gregor said. SAFETY: There was significant potential for collision when planes missed by 37 feet. By Art Marroquin STAFF WRITER A runway incursion in which two airplanes came within 37 feet of each other at Los Angeles International Airport last month was classified as a Category B, meaning there was a significant potential for collision, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday. There have been eight runway incursions between airliners at LAX since Oct. 1, 2006. The FAA also categorized an Aug. 25 incursion as a Category D, which means no imminent chance of collision. Last month, the Los Angeles airport commission agreed to spend up to $2 million to allow NASA Ames Research Center to conduct a sixth safety study on the north airfield. The five previous studies, completed by aviation consulting groups, call for moving one of the northern runways at least 340 feet toward the communities of Westchester and Playa del Rey. In the meantime, the FAA and airport officials are hammering out a contract to install an experimental runway-status-light system on the northern runways by January 2009 at a cost of $3.5 million. [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more