An air traffic controller (ATC) slip of the tongue nearly caused the crash of two planes. The incident was terrible.
Reported CNN, air traffic controllers at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport suffered a slip of the tongue on July 20, 2020. His mistake nearly meant that two planes 91 meters away would collide.
The incident was revealed in a report released Tuesday (20/7/2021). The report said the incident involved United Airlines’ Boeing 787 fleet arriving from Newark, New Jersey, and an EasyJet Airbus A320 preparing to take off en route to Malaga, Spain.
At that time, the plane take off from runway 09R and landed at 09L.
Well, according to the specified route, EasyJet is ready to take off from runway 09R. At the same time the air traffic controller at the ATC tower instructed the United Airlines plane to land on the same runway, runway 09R. In fact, he should have called 09L.
United Airlines flight crew responded to the information by responding ‘understood’ and ‘avoid for 9 right’.
The United Airlines crew’s answer has not made the ATC officer realize his mistake. He did not check the rereading from the crew and proceeded to tell the EasyJet aircraft to prepare to take off from runway 09R.
At this point the United Airlines plane was still in line to land at 09L so the crew began the maneuver.
The EasyJet crew realized something was wrong. They asked the ATC officer why the United Airlines plane landed on 09R, the same runway they took off from. Easy Jet crew at once alerted the potential for a collision.
At this point the aircraft is already at an altitude of 91 meters, 1,300 meters from the end of the runway. Both EasyJet crew and controllers told United Airlines crew to get on the air again. The pilots then aborted their landing.
The report said Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport ATC Tower did not have a direct view of runway 09 because the equipment facing them appeared to be faulty. And, the staff works on different screens.
At the time of the incident, the screen facing runway 09 had been repaired and the controller was preparing to switch.
He also told investigators that he was also confused by requests from a different aircraft earlier to land on runway 09R, which is longer than 09L, due to technical difficulties.
Authorities cited a number of factors that contributed to the incident. Including, there is the fact that ATC cannot be used due to reduced air traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Investigators also said that United Airlines crew should have used the term ‘confirm’ instead of ‘understand’ which is not standard or commonly used with ATC.
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