Newark Planes Came Within 'Hair's Breadth' of Collision

One was taking off as the other was landing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2014 10:11 AM CDT
Newark Planes Came Within 'Hair's Breadth' of Collision
One plane lands as others are serviced at Newark Liberty International Airport, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, in Newark, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Last month, two planes came within yards of a collision at Newark Liberty International Airport, the NTSB has revealed. United Express Flight 4100 was cleared for takeoff on April 24—but as the Embraer ERJ-145 was taking off, a Boeing 737 was landing on an intersecting runway, CNN reports. The tower instructed the 737 to abort its landing and circle the airport, and warned the smaller regional jet to watch out. "Yeah, we were putting the nose down, and, uh, he was real close," the Embraer pilot responded. According to CBS New York, the 737 did not end up aborting its landing.

How did it happen? The Embraer pilot appears to have delayed taking off until the Boeing was just a mile away, the Star-Ledger reports. The planes ended up separated by 135 yards vertically and 50 yards laterally, a distance the newspaper refers to as "an aeronautical hair’s breadth." (Last month also saw an in-air near-miss, in which a United pilot had to abruptly make the plane dive 600 feet.)

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