Audio files reveal the dramatic moment air traffic controllers warned pilots of a near-fatal plane crash traveling at 185 km/h.
Federal Transit Authority officials went into action on Friday night to prevent a departing Delta plane carrying 145 passengers from colliding into the side of an American Airlines flight bound for the UK.
The Delta flight was preparing for takeoff when it was forced to hit the brakes and stop just 1,000 feet from a possible fatal collision.
It appears the unnamed American Airlines pilot got lost and appeared right in front of the accelerating Delta plane.
But the whole time, the Delta pilot appeared calm and collected, even calmly telling air traffic control he just had to go back to the gate and “make a few calls.”
An American Airlines plane was seen crossing the path of a Delta plane as it was about to take off. Air traffic control called ‘s***!’ when they noticed the possible collision
Federal Transit Authority records describe the moments immediately before and after the possible crash at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City around 8:45 p.m. Friday.
It begins with the American Airlines pilot saying the flight is ready to taxi onto a runway that an air traffic controller tells them to take runway 4 to the left and “stop just short of Kilo.”
The pilot repeated the message just before another air traffic controller instructed her to continue the route and “cross runway 31 on the left at Kilo”.
She replies that she is “crossing 31 on the left at Kilo” but is approaching the wrong lane and going straight instead of turning left.
A moment later, air traffic control cleared the Delta flight bound for the Dominican Republic to take off.
The pilot acknowledges the message with the words: ‘Cleared for takeoff, runway 4 left, Delta 1943.’
But as it sped down the runway at 115 mph, an air traffic controller noticed that the Delta flight was about to meet the American Airlines flight.
‘Saw! Damn it, a controller was heard saying.
At this point, another air traffic controller comes on the radio and urges, “America 106 Heavy, America 106 Heavy, Heavy Hold Position…American 106 Heavy Hold Position.”
A third air traffic controller meanwhile informs the Delta pilot: “Delta 1943 cancels takeoff clearance! Delta 1943 cancels takeoff clearance.’
The pilot replies that he “declines” when an air traffic controller asks about his intentions.
“Yes, we have to go somewhere, do some checklists and probably make some phone calls for Delta 1943,” the pilot says calmly.
An air traffic controller says the plane could “roll right onto Bravo and stop just short of Hotel Bravo” – which the pilot repeated again.
But another air traffic controller ten asks: ‘Delta 1943, did you make the switch?’
“Yes sir, we have,” replies the pilot.
“Okay, I assume it’s you [going to] Do you want to move, don’t you?’
“Uh, well, um, we’ve got some phone calls to make here and I’m guessing we’re flying back to a gate,” says the pilot, apparently shrugging as he noticed the near miss.
The air traffic controller agrees with his assessment and says: “Okay, I thought so too.”
He then turned his attention back to the American Airlines rogue flight, saying there was a “possible pilot deviation” and “I have a number for you.
The pilot replies that she is willing to write down the phone number, while what appears to be a co-pilot asks, “The last clearance we received was cleared for us to cross, is that correct?”
The controller replies, “I suppose we’ll listen to the tapes, but you should depart 4L. They’re stopping just short of runway 31L.’
The Delta flight finally took off the next morning for Santa Domingo Airport in the Dominican Republic, while the American Airlines flight arrived at London Heathrow on time on Saturday morning (file images).
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board both said they would be investigating the incident.
A Delta spokesman said in a statement it would “work with aviation authorities to assist in a full review of Flight 1943 on Jan. 13 for a successful aborted takeoff at New York-JFK.”
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and the delay in their travels.”
American Airlines declined to comment on the incident and said it would refer any questions to the FAA.
Former US Department of Transportation General Mary Schiavo told CNN that the incident falls into the “most serious category of runway incursions” (Category A) and that such incidents are increasing.
John Cox, a retired pilot and professor of flight safety at the University of Southern California, told NBC News, “The Delta crew did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
He added that he thought the air traffic controller “made a good call to deny takeoff.”
And Cox said the rejected takeoff safety maneuver, in which pilots stop the plane and halt takeoff, was one they were “very, very familiar with.”
“Pilots practice rejected starts almost every time they get to the simulator,” he said.
“They’re going to go back and listen to every transmission between the American jet and air traffic control to see who got what wrong,” Cox said.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11641749/Listen-moment-FTA-warns-pilots-near-fatal-plane-crash.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Hear the moment the FTA warns pilots of a near-fatal plane crash