NEW YORK (WABC) – The FAA is reviewing airline security after a series of horrific threats involving passenger planes.
The move follows two potentially catastrophic runway incidents and a deep dive that brought one plane very close to crashing into the ocean.
“Over the past few months, there have been several incidents that could have resulted in horrific loss of life,” Col. Steve Gunyard, USMC (Ret.), told ABC News.
Recently, it became known about the December scare, as a result of which a A United Airlines plane departing from Maui went down. It fell more than 1,400 feet in about 20 seconds, coming within 775 feet of the Pacific Ocean.
Passengers say they were “praying for a miracle” while others screamed.
The pilots regained altitude and flew to San Francisco.
United says pilots are undergoing additional training.
Another recent close encounter occurred at JFK Airport in New York.
A A Delta plane nearly collided with an American Airlines flight which was crossing an active runway.
“It could have been the worst aviation disaster in US history,” Ganyard said.
American Airlines pilots are now complying with subpoenas from the NTSB after they initially declined three interview requests as part of the investigation.
There is probably no cockpit recording of either the American or United close calls.
This is because both aircraft continued to follow their flight plans and the cockpit data records only last for two hours.
“When the plane takes off and flies a long distance, it gets overwritten and the data is lost,” Ganyard said. “The FAA insists on a longer 25-hour recorder, so even if the plane is on a longer flight, we’ll be able to see what went wrong and take steps to prevent it from happening again.”
The FAA says the new safety review will “examine the structure, culture and processes of the US aerospace system.”
More recently, the FAA and NTSB are investigating a close encounter involving a United Boeing 777 and a Cessna in Honolulu that came within 1,170 feet of each other when the 777 crossed the same runway as the Cessna was landing. The United plane crossed the runway without ATC clearance. The FAA and NTSB statements are below. United is referring all questions about the incident to the NTSB.
The FAA says it will hold a “summit” with industry leaders next month to discuss what steps need to be taken to improve safety.
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