JFK Has a Close Call: 'Cancel Takeoff Clearance!'

American plane taxied across runway in front of departing Delta 737
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2023 4:25 PM CST
Controller's Order Ends Close Call at JFK
The tower at JFK in New York.   (Getty/eric8669)

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after an airliner crossed the path of another about to take off Friday night at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The crew of a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737 was able to abort takeoff, CNN reports, and the plane stopped less than 1,000 feet of an American Airlines Boeing 777 that was taxiing in front of it. In an audio recording of Air Traffic Control communications made by the website LiveATC, an air traffic controller can be heard frantically calling everything off, per the AP.

"(Expletive)! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!" the controller says. The FAA said in a statement that controllers "noticed another aircraft crossing the runway in front of the departing jetliner." John Cox, a retired pilot and professor of aviation safety, said the controller made the right call. Pilots are "very, very familiar with" canceling a takeoff, a maneuver called a rejected takeoff, he said. "Pilots practice rejected takeoff almost every time they get to the simulator," Cox added. Delta said that it's cooperating with the FAA investigation and that 145 customers and six crew members were on its flight. American made no comment. (Read more close calls stories.)

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