Unauthorized Takeoff at Logan Airport Sparks Near Miss with JetBlue Flight, Investigation Reveals

unauthorized-takeoff-at-logan-airport-sparks-near-miss-with-jetblue-flight-investigation-reveals

In February at Boston’s Logan International Airport, the pilot of a charter aircraft took off without authorization, leading to a near-collision with a JetBlue plane preparing to descend on an intersecting runway.

The instant a Learjet operated by charter service Hop-A-Jet crossed the runway in front of the JetBlue aircraft is captured in a screen clip from video captured from the cockpit of the JetBlue aircraft.

According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilots of the JetBlue Embraer jet estimated that they were approximately 30 feet above the ground when they spotted a plane crossing in front of them. The captain stated that he was unable to determine how near they were to the smaller plane. The JetBlue pilots were able to land safely after pulling up and circling around.

The captain of the Hop-A-Jet reported hearing air traffic controllers tell him to line up and wait before takeoff, and even repeated the order back to the controller, “but in his mind, they were cleared for takeoff,” according to the NTSB.

The co-pilot of the Hop-A-Jet aircraft informed investigators that the captain gave permission for takeoff.

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Captain Apologizes, Blames Cold Temperatures for Incident

unauthorized-takeoff-at-logan-airport-sparks-near-miss-with-jetblue-flight-investigation-reveals
In February at Boston’s Logan International Airport, the pilot of a charter aircraft took off without authorization, leading to a near-collision with a JetBlue plane preparing to descend on an intersecting runway.

In a statement to the safety board, the captain, Alvaro Donado, said, “I cannot understand what happened to me during the clearance, the only thing that comes to my mind is that the cold temperature in Boston affected me, I was not feeling completely well and had a stuffed nose. My apologies.”

The NTSB stated in its final report that once the Hop-A-Jet plane landed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Boston tower informed the 63-year-old captain and 23-year-old co-pilot that they had taken off without authorization and that the JetBlue plane performed a go-around approximately 400 feet (120 meters) above them.

A man who answered the phone at Hop-A-Jet’s headquarters stated that the company had no comment on the incident or report. When asked if the commander and co-pilot still flew for the company, he stated he was unable to respond and hung up.

Despite the absence of a fatal airline accident involving a U.S. carrier since 2009, this incident was one of several that occurred early in the year that raised concerns about aviation safety in the United States. The near-collisions prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to convene a “safety summit” in March to discuss ways to prevent aircraft from flying too closely together.

 

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Source: NBC Boston

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