Travel News

‘Delta 1943, Cancel Takeoff’: Wrong Turn Results in Near Miss at J.F.K.

‘Delta 1943, Cancel Takeoff’: Wrong Turn Results in Near Miss at J.F.K.

A close call at Kennedy International Airport Friday night in which an American Airlines plane crossed a runway in front of an oncoming Delta Air Lines plane appeared to have occurred when the American Airlines pilots misconstrued directions from air traffic controllers, radar records and recordings of those conversations show.

Delta’s Flight 1943, which was headed for the Dominican Republic, had to abort its takeoff. None of its 145 passengers were injured.

The American Airlines plane, Flight 106, bound for London with 137 passengers aboard, was proceeding along a taxiway about 8:45 p.m. when it came near a spot where two runways cross perpendicularly, according to Ross Feinstein, a former spokesman for both the Transportation Security Administration and American Airlines who said he had reviewed publicly available radar and recordings.

The Delta plane was waiting to take off on Runway 4 Left, which is intersected by Runway 31 Left.

An air traffic controller can be heard telling the American plane, a Boeing 777, to “cross Runway 31 Left,” which would require it to turn right before coming around to line up for departure on Runway 4 Left behind the Delta plane.

The American pilot confirms, “Cross 31 Left.”

Another air traffic controller tells the Delta plane, a Boeing 737, that it is cleared for takeoff. The Delta pilot confirms: “Cleared for takeoff, Runway 4 Left, Delta 1943.”

But the American flight, instead of turning right to cross Runway 31 Left, jogged left then right and proceeded straight across Runway 4 Left as the Delta plane began its takeoff, the radar shows, according to Mr. Feinstein.

In an audio excerpt, an air traffic controller can be heard uttering a four-letter word. One controller orders the American plane, “Hold position!” and another controller says twice, quickly, “Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!”

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement on Sunday that the Delta plane came to a “safe stop” about 1,000 feet shy of where the American flight had crossed the runway.

On the audio recordings, after the Delta pilot confirms that he is canceling takeoff, a Kennedy controller tells the American pilots, “possible pilot deviation.”

One of the American pilots tries to make sense of what happened, asking the tower, “The last clearance we were given, we were cleared to cross, is that correct?”

The controller responds that the American plane was indeed cleared to cross, but it was cleared to cross…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at NYT > Travel…