Video Shows Two Planes Narrowly Escaping Midair Collision in Florida
"If I hadn't done that evasive maneuver, it's quite likely there would have been a midair collision."
Just in case the whole experience of flying wasn't scary enough, here's an incident that will chill you to the bone: A small jet almost collided with a passenger plane on August 17 in Orlando, Florida, and the whole thing was caught on camera. A Boeing 757 was taking off from Orlando International Airport when a nearby single-engine Cessna had to make some fast moves to avoid complete disaster. Here's what (almost) happened.
Cessna pilot Malik Clarke had just taken off when he was instructed by air traffic control to head over the runway where a Delta flight was taking off. Both pilots spotted each other, and Clarke was understandably concerned. "I knew that this didn't look right, so immediately, I turned right and I climbed as steeply as I could because the Boeing 757 from Delta has a much higher climb rate than the aircraft that I was flying," Clarke told ABC 7. Keep reading to see the video.
The two planes were far closer to each other than was considered safe, and the FAA is investigating the incident. "If I hadn't done that evasive maneuver, it's quite likely there would have been a midair collision," Clarke says. Delta have also launched their own investigation, insisting, that "nothing is more important than safety."
"The two aircraft got as close as 500 feet vertically and 1500 feet horizontally, which means way too close. And it was somebody's error to put them in the same part of the sky," says ABC News contributor Steve Ganyard. Pilots are currently picketing at 14 airports across the US, but authorities insist this won't lead to travel disruption.
Clarke took video of the incident from his plane, and is still confused about why air traffic control let the planes get so close to each other. "We thought it had landed because we thought there's no way air traffic controllers would, you know, put us in a situation like that," Clarke says. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is the union representing air traffic control (ATC) and says they do not comment on ongoing FAA investigations.
Air Traffic Control is considered one of the most stressful jobs in the world. "It's a challenging job, but it's also rewarding," says FAA vice president for air traffic services, Jeffrey Vincent. "At the end of the day when you get home and look up at the sky, you know that what you've done makes a difference." ATC applicants must be under 31 when they apply, due to the intense training needed for the job.