Thursday, March 23, 2023
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FAA Head Defends Safety of US Air Travel Despite Close Calls

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration mentioned Wednesday he has taken steps to keep away from a repeat of the expertise failure final month that briefly halted all flights nationwide from taking off.

Acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen mentioned he has shaped a crew to evaluate efforts to maintain air journey secure, and FAA has made technical adjustments to keep away from one other breakdown in a federal system that gives security alerts to pilots.

The feedback got here as lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee quizzed Nolen about FAA’s gradual tempo of modernizing the alert system and about latest shut calls involving planes at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, in Austin, Texas, and off the coast of Hawaii.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, confirmed a video re-enactment of the Austin incident during which a FedEx cargo aircraft flew excessive of a departing Southwest Airlines flight. Both planes had been cleared to make use of the identical runway. The FedEx pilots aborted their touchdown simply in time to keep away from a collision.

“How can this happen?” Cruz requested. “How did air traffic control direct one plane on to the runway to take off and another plane to land, and have them both within 100 feet of each other?”

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Nolen mentioned the incident continues to be underneath evaluate by his company and the National Transportation Safety Board, however he instructed that the actual fact the planes didn’t collide reveals that the nation’s airspace is secure.

“It is not what we would expect to have happened, but when we think about how we train both our controllers and our pilots, the system works as it is designed to avert what you say could have been a horrific outcome,” Nolen mentioned.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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