April 23rd, 2010
11:59 PM ET

Planes nearly collide at California airport

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the near collision of a Southwest Airlines jet and a small private plane at Southern California's Bob Hope Airport.

Southwest's Flight 649, carrying 119 passengers and five crew members on board a Boeing 737-700, was landing at the airport's runway 8 on Monday while the Cessna 172, departing on runway 15, just cleared the jet.

The Cessna was performing a practice maneuver known as a "touch and go," in which the aircraft briefly lands before accelerating and going airborne again, the NTSB said.

Runways 8 and 15 intersect at the Burbank airport. The aircraft came within 200 feet of each other vertically and 10 feet laterally at the runway intersection, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Nobody was injured, and weather conditions were clear.

Improving runway safety is one of NTSB's "most wanted" goals. The deadliest U.S. runway accident occurred in August 2006, when Comair Flight 5191 crashed after taking off from the wrong runway, killing all but one of the 50 people on board. The worst involving two aircraft happened between a US Airways jet and a commuter plane in a February 1991 collision at the Los Angeles airport, killing 34.

The world's deadliest aviation accident also happened on a runway. In March 1977, two jumbo jets collided on a runway at the Canary Islands, killing 583 passengers and crew members.

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soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. David

    That is a very ignorant claim Michael. Business aviation is a tool for companies that saves them one thing they can't pay for...time. Its a vital tool for most corporations that are big enough to own an aircraft, but the near miss in this case doesn't even involve business aviation. It was a private aircraft, most likely rented for the day, practicing his manuvers in accordance with FAA regs to stay proficient and competant. Errors do occur and in this case may have been a controller error. Cars crash everyday all day but if 1 plane goes down, the news is all over it, fueling the publics fear that aviation is unsafe. We pilot's keep our head on a swivel bc you can't just accept a clearance without confirming it's safe. Controllers do the same, but again humans make mistakes. Good situational awareness kept these near misses a non event. Thank your pilot next time you fly.

    April 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    Also, in regards to "inexperienced pilots", there is a lot of time, effort and money spent obtaining up to 7 different ratings and thousands of hours spent in the air before you can reach the "inexperienced pilot" level. I've been flying over 10 years now and it's taking me a lot of hard work to get where I am. And next time you see a plane fly overhead, remember, that "loud airplane overhead, clogging up airports, with their inexperienced pilots that aren't safe, and they're a national safety disaster waiting to happen" might just be a medical plane flying an organ back home to give someone another chance at life. Thats what I do and maybe I will be flying your new liver to you bc you obviously drink too much 🙂

    April 24, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ken Lane

    I see my comment regarding 5191 and the "professional journalist" being an idiot was deleted.

    So much for being open to criticism. Hypocrites! Of course, it's CNN.

    What I had said was 5191 had absolutely no relevance to the near-collisions in California. It was added purely for sensationalism. There was no runway incursion involved. It was strictly a matter of stupidity on the part of the air crew and controllers failing to do their job observing traffic.

    I wonder if this comment will remain.

    This comment is from an active flight instructor and a professional pilot.

    April 25, 2010 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Engineer Phil

    Regarding the postings that comment on driving safety vs GA safety vs commercial airline safety:

    On a per mile basis, commercial airline travel has been shown to result in roughly the same number of fatalities per mile traveled as driving, while the rate for GA is about 9 times as high.

    It's very disappointing to me, as someone who once enjoyed GA, but that's what studies have shown. I'm surprised that no one else has noted this.

    April 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brooklyn Evans

    i always prefer to travel using those budget Airline travel, they seem to have some good service too.`;~

    May 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Andrea Watson

    airline travel is the best but the high cost of air travel makes it a not so great option'"*

    August 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Reminds me a couple of years ago that I was on a 747 landing in a nighttime storm at Manila Airport. We were on final approach, flaps down, when suddenly the engines roared to full throttle and the plane started a very sharp climb. Everyone on board got very quiet as the plane kept climbing, with a few people praying out loud, holding hands and some softly crying. The pilot came on the PA when we leveled out, but all he said was that he apologized for the sudden climb due to the need to go around and line up again. I can only imagine it was due to another plane ahead in flight or another plane on the runway. Whatever it was, it was an evasive maneuver at full throttle and I was praying too. First time I experienced that, and I've flown many, many flights over the past 30 years.

    September 15, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tyler Clarke

    i'm quite afraid of airline travel so i always take the boat or the bus~~:

    October 7, 2010 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. Amp Accessories

    i am afraid of travelling by plane by i might just get an airline travel when i go to europe this month ,",

    December 4, 2010 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. online ex back

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    August 24, 2011 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
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