Investigation launched after two military aircraft nearly collide with passenger airliner


New safety procedures are to be implemented after an American Airlines Boeing 777 came close to colliding with two U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft off the coast of New York, United States, last month. Radar data indicates the aircraft came within 1 miles (2 km) of each other before the flight crew of the Boeing 777 took evasive action as an alarm sounded in the cockpit of the jet.

 

An American Airlines Boeing 777. Image: Adrian Pingstone.

An aviation official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the traffic collision avoidance system alarm which sounded in the cockpit of the passenger jet, which had 259 people aboard, “may be what saved the day,” since C-17 cargo aircraft are not highly manoeuvrable. Investigators have reportedly found the aircraft would have collided head-on.

 

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. Image: U.S. Air Force.

The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a “major investigation” into the incident, and confirmed there were no injuries in the incident. The Federal Aviation Administration, the government department responsible for aviation in the U.S., said in a statement air traffic controllers are “reviewing a variety of procedures including the handling of formation flights, aircraft near sector boundaries.”

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