Feds are in the middle of a probe surrounding a United Airlines near-collision that took place north of Hawaii last month. KUTV 2 reports May 19 that this incident is justifiably being taken seriously. Passenger, Kevin Townsend, wrote a blog post titled "Two Weeks Ago, I Almost Died in the Deadliest Plane Crash Ever"; this brought the matter into focus for the National Transportation Safety Board as well as the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA is investigating why air traffic controllers assigned two airplanes near each other at dangerously close altitudes. United Airlines flight 1205 nearly collided with a US Airways jet heading westbound about 200 miles northeast of Kona. This all happened at Kona International Airport on April 25. According to ABC News, both planes were at 33,000 feet.
A plane must be separated by five miles or 1,000 feet from another aircraft.
A Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System tracks planes with more than 30 passengers aboard to avoid mid-air collisions. It alerts pilots when another plane is in their air space. It's meant to avoid near-collisions. According to Dan Rose, an aviation attorney, TCAS alerts aren't uncommon -- especially around Hawaii where there is a lot of air traffic with both commercial and smaller planes.
The federal probe into why a United Airlines flight had a near-collision with a US Airways plane allegedly had to do with an air traffic controller lacking experience for the position he held that day. ABC News reports that he admitted he wasn't ready to direct traffic from the radar station he worked that day and needed further training.