Horst D. Deckert

Watch: FAA Investigating Near-Midair Collision Between American & Delta Flights in New York

Police dash cam captures moment two jets carrying a combined total of 159 people fly by each other at only 725 feet apart above the Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating a near mid-air collision that occurred between an American Airlines and Delta flights in Syracuse, New York on Monday.

The incident captured by a police dash camera at 11:25 am shows the two jets, carrying a combined total of 159 people, fly by each other at only 725 feet apart at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

“An air traffic controller instructed PSA Airlines 5511 to go around at Syracuse Hancock International Airport to keep it separated from an aircraft that was departing on the same runway,” according to an FAA spokesperson Wednesday.

Alarming video shows two planes that look like they are about to crash into each other in the air above an airport in Syracuse, New York.

At their closest point, the planes were separated by only about 725 feet of vertical distance. https://t.co/D8xThlIHaf pic.twitter.com/v2Pc7DPQtc

— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) July 10, 2024

The incident appears to have been caused by an air traffic control error that cleared one plane to depart from the airport while the other was cleared to land on the same runway.

From CBS News:

Audio of Air Traffic Control’s communication with the pilots on both flights indicates that the controller initially gave a green light for landing to American Eagle Flight 5511, a Bombardier CRJ-700 jet operated by PSA Airlines, a regional branch of American Airlines. The controller then gave another go-ahead for departure from runway 28 — the same runway designated for the American plane — to Delta Connection 5421, another CRJ-700 operated by Endeavor Air, which is a regional branch of Delta. 

At that point, a pilot on the American flight was heard in the audio, asking, “Wait, who’s cleared to take off on 28?” 

Traffic control responded to the American pilot with instructions to abort the landing and “go around,” which the pilot followed. But flight radar data showed that the plane, while climbing to an altitude of around 1,825 feet, continued on a path that ultimately led it over the runway from which the Delta flight was taking off. As the Delta plane left the ground and itself climbed upward, there was a moment when it flew beneath the American plane flying 725 feet above. 

The American flight turned, descending slightly, so that it was about 675 feet above the Delta plane, but, by then, also 425 feet off of its path. This may have been the time where a North Syracuse Police Department vehicle caught a glimpse of the planes on its dash camera. From a distance, it looked like they were seconds from slamming into each other.

Flight 5511, the landing flight, was operated by PSA Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Airlines. The other Delta Connection flight 5421 was operated by Endeavor Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta.

Delta Airlines states that it is working with “aviation authorities as we always do in our shared commitment to safety above all else.”

Many of these kinds of preventable incidents have been plaguing airlines in recent years amid the FAA’s push for DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) hiring for air traffic control positions at the expense of hiring qualified applicants on the basis of race.

In fact, the FAA is facing a class action lawsuit alleging it turned away nearly 1,000 air traffic controller applicants solely because they were white.

“When you travel and have a delay, it’s because there aren’t enough of these people,” said attorney Adam Laxalt, who’s leading the lawsuit. “When you see these near incidents in air traffic control, it’s because there aren’t enough people. There are only 14,000 air traffic controllers. A thousand were scrapped a decade ago, and the bottom line is they’ve never made up losing all of this pipeline.”


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