In what could have been a tragic disaster, the pilot of a single-engine Cessna plane was forced to take evasive action to avoid a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 jet over the runways at Orlando International Airport.
The pilot of the Cessna caught the near-miss on video.
The incident happened last month and came to light over Labor Day weekend. Based on video and audio captured by the Cessna pilot, it appeared to be a miscommunication by air traffic controllers, who sent the Delta plane on a takeoff into the path of the Cessna.
It draws attention to the criticism of the Federal Aviation Administration’s handling of an understaffed air traffic controller group. It also could bring more draw attention to the fact that the aviation oversight agency has also been preoccupied with how the installation of 5G wireless service near airports might disrupt airplane communications.
Instead, the FAA might first need to get its house to avoid situations like this.
“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,” Malik Clarke, the Cessna pilot, told ABC7 Eyewitness News.
Clarke said he was told by ATC to take off and fly over the runway at Orlando International that the Delta jet was going to use for takeoff. Clarke said both he and the Delta pilot saw each other.
“If I hadn’t done that evasive maneuver, it’s quite likely there would have been a midair collision,” Clarke said.
ABC News contributor Steve Ganyard said “The two aircraft got as close as 500 feet vertically and 1,500 feet horizontally, which means way too close. And it was somebody’s error to put them in the same part of the sky.”
The FAA and Delta Air Lines are investigating the incident.
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