About Close Calls

Thursday, November 14, 2013
By George Hatcher

After making note of the Oct 31 near miss in Oslo, I remembered this 100 foot close call of two Boeing 747’s over Scotland. This occurred in late June, when a Lufthansa pilot was climbing, and a British Airways flight were 24.3nm apart on converging courses. A STCA (Short Germ Conflict Alert)

The Oslo near miss could have been prevented if the repetition protocol have been observed.

The Scotland near miss had two planes
(DLH418 Lufthansa Boeing 747-830, D-ABYC Frankfurt (FRA) – Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD))

and

(BAW87 British Airways Boeing 747-436, G-BNLM London-Heathrow (LHR) – Vancouver (YVR))

on a collision course 100 feet Vertical/3.9 nm Horizontal and 1100 feet Vertical/2.8nm from impact. The study of the event concluded that actions of both the pilots and the controller contributed but that the pilots avoiding ATC instructions caused the proximity issue.

The added pressure of reporting incidents such as these should help pilots and air traffic control to avoid similar events in the future. It will do so ONLY if adequate attention is paid to the mistakes, if alternative/better responses are deter mend, if the resulting studies are closely attended, and if protocol is adjusted to reduce the possibility of such problems re-occurring. On some level, the protocol worked, because these incidents were not collisions. However, they were closer than they should be. All I can say about this event is that it is a good thing that mistakes are reported.

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