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NEAR COLLISION between FedEx and Southwest | Foggy Weather
- Published on Feb 4, 2023 veröffentlicht
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Comments • 2 760
Doing that with a CAT III in force and Low Visibility didn't look smart to me. Any thoughts from real ATC here?
Non pilot here, what is rvr, and cat111?
Not real ATC, but the only real defense to this is “but did you die?” And that’s not exactly an FAA certified policy
@BearusAureliusyes but it takes at least 90 seconds to be airbone. Fdx was at 3 nm.
@Arcadiez not smart or bad procedures.
Props to that FedEx pilot.
Was asking "are you *sure* we can land?" and then made the right call to not do so even after being reassured that they can.
@up2high - Anyone can out of safety. But WN was already through V1.
@Bilyonare Lifestile - Visibility was only 1/4 mile. Most likely, FX only saw the situation when it finally broke out of the clouds. At that point, FX declared a missed approach. But WN was already through V1.
@lookoutforchris The hell are you talking about?
Dealing with a new diversity hire is always rough.
@Ghost_Hybrid "The abort call provided vital SA to Southwest prompting him not to do the standard takeoff takeoff climb rate." Says who? Definitely not the swapa safety rep that was talking about his.
When Fed-Ex asked for confirmation, it seems he was the only one who knew it was too close. Spring loaded for the go-around. Smart.
@Adam Moreira He was, Fed-Ex's initial call to Tower was at 5.4. He would've been talking to a center previous, and already established on the Category III ILS approach.
Why was there a 3 mile final when visibility was only 1/4 to 1/8 of a statute mile according to the METAR? One should have had a 10 mile final.
@garthcox4 who much rr was left to use?
It implys FED X could see SWA. So could tower.
@Terry Gaus WN didn't want to wait for the wake turbulence to dissipate from the heavy landing, and then ignored the instruction not to take off and climb right into Express' belly on the go around. Southwest needed every takeoff they can get, and they're willing to risk their pax to get them.
good thing Fedex pilot was on the ball, probably expected what was going on, yet kept calm and professional. kudos to him.
He could probably tell he had a proteas soon as he heard the ATC accent.
This is why pilots are (or at least should be) trained to be "spring loaded" to go around. Meaning a go around should be your "default state" and continuing an approach should be the state that requires effort. Then, the moment something is amiss, the natural response is to commit a successful go around.
@Philip Resnick In that kind of weather, they have already gone over missed-approach procedures.
His verification call right after the SW was cleared was the clue he was not digging what was happening. I'm sure inside the cockpit, he and the co had a chat about possible go-around plans.
@Jon Schaefer what if SWA aborted and fedex landed right behind them? Chances of that happening is low, but never zero.
This was way too close a call and literally seconds from a disaster. Props to FedEx for realizing what was happening.
@needmycoffee I can understand for the small planes, but the big commercial jets, I would feel safe flying in those.
@needmycoffee lmao okay. Pilots did what they were trained to do.
@needmycoffee It is the safest form of transportation. I have flown thousands of miles and am much more anxious getting into my private vehicle for a trip.
@HowBoutDemBoyzz oh sorry wrong comment
"You have our apologies, we appreciate your professionalism."
Understatement of the year.
No chance for saving his job here, and he knows that perfectly well. And knowing ATCs personally, this was not the intention of the statement. It's a form of thanking and admitting the error while keeping radio discipline.
You can hear the voice of the ATC breaking while saying this. This guy knows that his action almost killed a lot of people.
Even if he would not loose his job, only sociopaths and psychopaths would be able to continue on this job after such an incident. (And their voice would not have broken)
Most people urgently need psychological treatment after such a mistake to even be able to continue their life.
This could have been Tenerife 2 if we had two passenger planes.
And it just barely started lol
@rslcgrad1004 Too late for that....
At 140 knots 3 nm out, the FedEx would take 67 seconds to land. SWA doesn’t begin his takeoff roll until 70 seconds after he has received takeoff clearance. Yikes! Hats off to a very situationally aware FedEx crew. Also, think of the wake turbulence the 737 might have encountered so close to the ground from a going-around powered-up 767 right above him. We were lucky with this one.
@Eric Pahlke typically it’s less than 30 seconds to begin roll. You call up tower when you’re ready to go, then it’s just turning onto center and throttle in. Often you’re throttling in when you’re almost fully lined up. You can Clip-Share interior views of departures and you’ll see it usually doesn’t take long at all. SWA either took way to long getting onto the RWY or centered up and sat for some reason. To me it sounds like SWA was not ready to depart or lose situational awareness as to the arriving traffic when they accepted takeoff clearance.
How long after the takeoff clearance do they typically start the roll? Was 70 seconds an insane outlier, or just a bit longer than normal?
@Valerie Rodger he was told there was a 76 on a 3 mile final. That gave him roughly 65/75 seconds to depart or, 30/40 seconds to start his takeoff roll. All which is perfectly normal. No need to say no delay, just be aware of inbound traffic
My thoughts exactly! SWA took too long to begin roll knowing there was a 76 coming in behind him. Shouldn't have taken over 40 seconds to being the roll
@floyd sampson nope, SWA was under him
I would have given the tower a number to call.
Southwest is know to go quick and don't hang around much
I was told by someone claiming to have heard the recording, the number to call was shared after the plane finished taxing.
He just didnt get the funny comment. Don't feel like you need to explain. " You just walk over!!!" "You don't give out your cell number!!!" The rest of us were onboard 😜
"Please confirm when you are able to write down a number for you to call for possible controller deviation."
As a 29 year retired ATC I have but one question: WTF was the local controller thinking?
@GanadoCoog heck yeah you nailed it. AA is empowering the incompetent
Probably Texting His Girlfriend!
@MDE_never_dies You mean the Amish?
He sounds like he belongs to a certain demographic that I will get in trouble for mentioning.
I’ve had to wait because a 172 was on 3 mile final. This is insane.
@ib iro That voice does sound like a diversity hire.
"Caution wake turbulence"
@katovomkozies what does diversity have to do with this?
Yep, me too, so I was thinking the exact same thing you did!
@Umbreon Pokemon Austin gets busy during the day, but definitely not at 7 in the morning. The southwest would have had to wait at least a couple minutes after the FedEx due to wake turbulence and no wind.
Near-death experience, yet their voice might reflect someone having a cup of tea in the morning and commenting on the news. Incredible professionalism from the pilots.
I don't think they knew how close they were at the time.
listening to the voice is exactly how I could tell you this was predictable
My husband is a pilot. Total confidence & cool as a cucumber, even when the oil pressure in his 172started dropping over the Chesapeake Bay.
Military ATC and commercial rated pilot/CFI here. There is such a thing as efficient controlling, but this looked way too aggressive to me. Even before I knew what the outcome, I caught my breath when he cleared the SWA with a heavy on 3 mile final with those flight conditions. In any of ATC facilities I worked in, that would have been a near certain de-certification, with the inevitable HATR investigation pointing the finger straight at ATC 100% on this one. We get blamed for a lot of incidents where it really wasn't an ATC deal, but this one is a sure-nuff deal.
@Andrew D Quite! I believe later in the exchange the controller asks one of the aircraft to report clear of the runway, which again is indication that he couldn't see a bloody thing...
@MikeGranby +1 add to that you would ONLY allow it if you had eyes on aircraft to see if he is even on the runway.
Quite. Simultaneously too aggressive and too laid back. If you’re gonna give a clearance like that, which is dubious to begin with, it better be “immediate takeoff” with a “no delay” thrown in there for good measure…
For a man who knows he is about to be fired, he was very calm and professional. Those pilots are great for not tying up the radio laying into the controller.
@Chuck Sneed Sneed
@Jay C what's the same reason?
@squiggleworks9 Ask yourself WHY race is apparent in this case and why someone who is clearly incompetent and clearly should never have been handed this position of great responsibility would have been placed in it. Why are you ignoring the elephant in the room whose backside is inches from your nostrils?
The controllers I know are PISSED about this because this was grossly ATC’s fault. There’s no justification for launching a 737 in front of a 767 on a 3 mile final. On a good day that’s pushing it. Add weather and it’s a recipe for a disaster. If it wasn’t foggy I bet they would have shit bricks if they really knew how close they were.
@morgan ghetti We will see the details when the FAA release it's report.
@Jeff M Rolling takeoffs aren't uncommon when it's clear. Not when it's zero visibility. 100 percent poor decision making by ATC. I've never seen anyone do what he did in 10 years of ATC. That airport isn't remotely busy enough to be running squeeze plays and certainly not in that weather.
@12345fowler it's not legal. He needs 2 miles increasing to 3. He didn't have that and wasn't going to get it that close in Cat3. He can't apply visual when he can't see either airplane.
@Bailey Davis There is no "Swiss Cheese" in this story. There are only TWO pilots on the radio talking to ATC. No room for confusion there. There is only one runway. No room for confusion there. It's very simple: you don't clear one plane to enter a runway for take-off at the same time as another is cleared to land in one minute. The ATC person should be fired before there are fatalities. It's the same as if they walked downtown firing a pistol randomly - is it all okay until someone is hurt?
@thefactorypilot145 right? Call sign 123, winds 140/9 traffic on a 3mile 22. 13 cleared for takeoff. I’m like. That dude is on a 1.5-2mile but sure let’s toga
FedEx Pilot gets the hero award here.
@brosk1s Not doubting this but is this a fact/confirmed by FAA or someone directly?
@BurnCycle it was hardly a routine go around, the only thing stopping both aircraft from crashing into each other was a measly 30 feet of vertical separation
@BurnCycle .... I'll bet the captain won the bet with his FO (co-pilot) that they'll get closer than 500 feet to Southwest. He'll be buying the beers all month.
He executed a go-around. It happens often. He didn't rescue orphans from a burning building.
A lot of controllers I work with are pretty upset about these actions by this controller. I work at a center facility and this is just speculation, but I'm willing to bet this controller was pushed through training too quickly just to cover staffing numbers. ATC had a training and hiring pause for 2 years because of covid, in an already understaffed agency. Between that and a bunch of controllers retiring during covid we've taken a huge hit across the board. I know some facilities work 6 day mandatories during the summer with a lot of overtime. Even an approach control under my airspace called ATC 0 a couple times because of a sick hit and no one to staff the evening shift. So between a 2 year gap of no hiring or TRAINING, now we are trying to bridge the gap with a ton of trainees where management says to expedite their training. And ontop of that the FAA has a list and sends trainees to facilities where they need staffing instead of the older way of trainees picking 2 regions they want to work at. So you'll get people from Florida sent to Seattle, only to spend 4 years in training then transfer right back to Florida. So its a massive waste of time and we have to double train everybody. It's a mess
If they didn't put an age cut off for ATC I would have applied. I get their reasoning but in this day and age, people changing careers later in life, they should accept applicants over 30 years old
So in a nutshell, government sucks at doing most things. Color me shocked.
@Ted Striker New or not, we're all observing him now. 😀
wouldn't a fairly new controller be required to be observed for a period of time?
The most polite near death experience ever. 5 stars
Insane. Both tower and SW apparently asleep at the switch regarding the 800/2 weather requirement to protect the CATII/III landing zone. "Cleared for takeoff, traffic 3 mile final" is really pushing it on a clear day, unthinkable in bad vis. This is as close as it gets and everyone still gets to sleep in their beds that night. Except for that poor tower guy who will not get much sleep for a long time.
@Joel T Keep proving my point.
@Serious Cat yawn.....
@Joel T, please consider growing up.
Hats off to the pilots here for being calm and professional with the controller. A little kindness costs you nothing, and humiliating the tower controller could have caused him to mentally shut down. Well done, glad this incident did not become a more serious mishap.
Forget the fog, this was a CLEAR ATC F-up. Wow. No panic in anyone's voice. That was a close call.
@Robert Gates - Called “Cleared for Disaster”.
@Alan Holck Yep a guy on my paper route was killed in that crash.
@He who has no identity Thanks for the clarification - the point is that she cleared 2 aircraft to be on same runway. Bad day for everyone involved.
But at least the tower now has diversity!
Clearing a 737 to takeoff in CATIII with a heavy on a 3 mile final is insanity. No other way around it.
That Fed-Ex pilot is really good. Good radio calls. Speaks well and seems like a really good pilot.
@Valerie Rodger If the diagram is synced then I doubt they had reached V1, but that wasn't the point. The point is there is no reason AC cannot communicate directly over Tower in order to deconflict and prevent a midair.
@Michael Hodges what? Not a "good thing" in what context and by who's standard? If FedEx has better SA, ATC isn't stepping in, they can absolutely send instructions to avoid midair. South West chose not to comply. Okay. But it's better than doing nothing.
Alot of Fedex pilots are ex military. Not all but alot of them are.
@morgan ghetti who cares about the controller or the origin of the transmission? The instruction is for Southwest to make sure they don't climb into FedEx. Hell at that point if I was FedEx I would have instructed South West to offset and maintain altitude to deconflict since the controller sure as hell wasn't doing anything.
Calling "Southwest abort" was a terrible call. The controller could have heard that as southwest making the call they are aborting.
I was a Ramp Agent for FedEx at MEMH some 17 or 18 years ago when ATC mistakenly put two departing flights on the opposite runways of where they needed to be. Example, FLT 841 headed East and FLT 814 headed West. The end result was two A300's crossing airspace at around 2500 ft. One had a head start over the other, so there was no chance of collision, but from the ground it looked pretty insane...
@Perry Rush when wind is calm or nill any runway can be utilized.
I thought they always had them take off into the wind. I don't think I've heard of them changing the direction like that. I'll take your word for it, but I never saw that when I was out there. Oh well. Stra be days we live in.
The controller must have thought the southwest abort call had come from the south west hence the turn right when able (as in vacate the runway). FedEx obviously broke cloud and saw the southwest still rolling and tried to get them abort so they could go around safely. What a mess, hats off to the fedex crew for their situational awareness
@안댕댕 The EFVS was probably not used. It isn't required on a Cat III. It really isn't that useful in visible moisture anyway
Midfield RVR was called at 600 feet. that is about 3 secs at 140 knots.
With fog there are no clouds to break as the cloud sits on the ground. Moreover FedEx aircraft are equipped with EFVS (infrared vision system), so the crew likely saw what was going on from the beginning, and acted accordingly.
I would seriously like to know what ATC was thinking letting that Southwest go knowing a FedEx was on a 3-mile final. Common sense says that you let the FedEx come in and depart the runway before letting Southwest go. As for Southwest, he has a share in this too because he didn't wait until FedEx did his landing. How the FedEx pilot kept his cool is more than I'll ever know. Props to the FedEx crew.
reported several comments in this thread for hate speech.... don't argue back guys, they are trying to be inflammatory, just report and block
@ddylla85 Tracey didn't say anything fkn dumb or blatantly racist. "Paradox of tolerance". Look it up.
@VOIP4ME I didn't say it. 150+ years of clinical, scientific, data-supported research said it. Eastern Asians have the highest IQs in the world. Northern Europeans are second. Indians are third. Africans are waaaaaay down the list. Australian and South American aboriginals are at the bottom. ON AVERAGE. Being mad about this is an illogical and a purely emotional response.
Damm, I could not believe that this ATC gave that Southwest clearance for takeoff, knowing that FedEx was on a short 3 mile final cleared to land on the same runway. If that FedEx had a sudden tailwind factor, it could have turned into a deadly disaster. This ATC was taking a huge and very dangerous gamble in Foggy conditions. 😠😠
@Jersey Shore Drone Services He had no way to know who called abort
@Mega Davis My thought as well. Why didn't Souithwest say, we'll wait for FedEx to land? 3 miles out is about a minute and 20 seconds from landing.
@V1AbortV2 We have the same bm running our country South Africa. That's why the place has turned into a dump.
Tower controller from a European cargo hub here, even in normal weather conditions clearing a B737 for take-off in front of a heavy arrival at 3NM final is extremely tight, especially when the departure is at the holding point and not already lined up - that would already be an immediate take-off for me if lined up. In CAT II or III, the holding point is further away from the RWY to keep the critical area of the ILS free. Given that, the fact that the aircraft can't see each other until FDX breaks 200ft ceiling and the simple fact that the critical area is infringed... I just sincerely hope the controller had a complete blackout and this is not what tha FAA trains.
Am from europe too. With retraining you mean "AIS or FIC or office duty" right? I can't imagine any normal human to be able to work the same job again after making that a mistake. You can clearly hear his voice break at the end when he apologizes. (How often do you see a grown man cry after making a mistake...) Without severe psychological help i don't think he's even able to enter his workplace again or talk to his collegues. (at least for most people i know, including a couple of TWR, APP and Center controllers, i'd claim this would be the case)
Rumour has it that the USA has greatly relaxed its minimal standards for ATCs in the last years for political reasons. 😂
@Vollelektrolysierer In Europe, that's not allowed, correct.
@c42 Is clearing one aircraft to land and another to take off on/from the same runway also not allowed in European ATC?
One extra thing that should be pointed out is that FedEx was on CAT III app, so no metal should be moving around in the ILS sensitive area during his approach.
@M B again, flight simulator doesn’t count.
@robo931 I sincerely doubt that you do, because I ACTUALLY fly widebodies and would be embarrassed to know that a colleague doesn’t know how Cat3 ILS protections work.
@M B again, I fly widebody aircraft for a legacy airline and am well aware of how CAT III approaches work. Stick to flight simulator.
You can feel the emotion in the voice of the ATC when he said “professionalism”
It would have been nice for ATC to at least ask for a no delay takeoff. 3 mile final is way too tight for a normal takeoff call.
With visibility really low that would have been a bad idea.
@Krozar TAL sop’s are different at every carrier, but at the two 121 carriers I’ve worked for, I can tell you neither of which had such a rule or policy. Still silly to do such a thing in CAT III weather.
With visibility issues, on a 3-mile final, WN should have been held at the hold line.
Low vis SOP won't allow for a no-delay takeoff.
cant do that in low vis
Good old Southwest, always moving at the speed of heat until you need them to
@Madwolf Gaming it sound like this is something they do regularly, which is just scary if it is.
You can fault Southwest here for going ahead with the approved take off, despite the FedEx aircraft being on short final. However, ATC did give the approval for take off. Even with a expedited take off, this was far too close in these conditions to approve Southwest for take off.
While clearly ATC is at fault here, I do have to ask: why did Southwest pilots accepted departure with FedEx on 3 mile final (and closing)? Especially with FedEx clearly voicing their concern just seconds prior...
This! It leads me to question the Southwest pilot's situational awareness also. If he's monitoring tower freq he knows that FedEx is on short final for 18L, so why contact tower saying you are ready to go for 18L. You've been holding short of 18L, and we would assume tower is aware of that fact. So did he really think he could safely leap ahead of the landing aircraft. I don't get it...
@Sirius Enigma it was just one controller
@Sirius Enigma No, it's one operator. He screwed up big time.
@Sirius Enigma Good point. I usually start monitoring tower frequency long before I get to the runway hold short line so I was thinking from my reference point of view.
Two different ATC operators. They might have been on different frequencies until fedex asked SW to aboard.
This has strong Tenerife disaster vibes. Good thing this ended differently.
Sweet, impromptu airshow! We should be thanking ATC for such a well coordinated performance :)
And that's why I don't have a fear of flying but a fear of someone having a bad day at work
My fear as well!
This is one of those situations where I would argue that choosing not to make a report against the ATC would be inherently poor airmanship.
Even if the report goes nowhere, or there are mitigating factors, it is your duty as an airman to do your part to keep the skies (and airports) safe.
So I really hope fedex made a report after taking company advice.
Situation like these illustrate why professionalism matters! Everyone stayed professional, did not increased each other stress, and had a positive outcome. We can criticize ATC decision at a later time, the pilot did a great job!!!
This. Cannot be stressed enough the professionalism displayed here
I'm not ATC but I do know there's no way in hell we could have expected any other outcome from this decision.
@He who has no identity The "clearing aircraft to land" before the runway is clear actually works perfectly fine. It cuts down on unnecessary communications during the most critical moments of flight. Don't think it works? Data and real world statistics back it up for all major U.S. airports that use that type of clearance for decades i.e. ATL, ORD, LAX etc. One thing to remember though, most of those major airports are using a runway to land only, and takeoff only. Not both operations on the same runway. So clearing to land an aircraft with others behind them makes perfect sense. With basically all major airports utilizing high-speed taxiways to exit the runway, there is no need to communicate again to an aircraft they are cleared to land, after they already called in to tower for clearance.
@SB Just wondering, have you read the investigative report on the Tenerife incident?
@He who has no identity Sorry, I believe your naivety and lack of ATC procedures is showing. Back to the basement
and your video games.
@BurnCycle I interpret your comment as a form of releasing frustration. Were you a controller?. The phraseology I quoted, is legal and is used, but other factors come into play, such as having visual contact with SW and certainly with the FDx. For some reason stupid reason, with a 200 ft ceiling, and low RVR readings, and an Fdx on a Cat III appch, he puts SW on the rwy. I doubt the controller had visual with SW, as he had to ask if he was "rolling", he rolled the dice and nearly bought the farm.
@Ruben Villanueva There is no "cleared or". You either are or aren't. If SW said they weren't, it would have been "Takeoff clearance canceled". It's "are you ready?", and if the answer is yes, it's "No delay...traffic 3 mile final".
Launching a 737 in front of a 767 on a 3-mile final is pushing it close when the weather is VFR. It's absolutely dangerous when it's low IFR. I was surprised that the controller didn't at LEAST tell Southwest, "clear for takeoff 18L, NO DELAY," but instead, he just cleared them nonchalantly for takeoff
DEI hiring at work
I would have expected frenzied screeches, and panicked pilots, but wow, the quiet and calm and chill by all concerned is mindblowing! And those was one mighty near miss!
near hit. way too near hit
near hit. way too near hit
There's close calls, and then there's aircraft flying on top of each other.
This incident seems to be pretty severe given that it did not appear to take much to cause it.
I had a tower turn me base in a 172 while Citation was on an ILS approach. I didn't have visual and told them that. It was already twilight. Finally when I got visual, I was almost right in front of them. And had to firewall, extend the base and cross in front of them. I learned that day that ATC will absolutely get you killed if they aren't paying attention or misjudge something and treat their instructions more as a suggestion than an absolute rule. I will do what I need to do to keep my AC safe and then follow instructions as able.
After the FEDEX disaster over the ocean in the late 90s they’ll never take risks again. Still can’t believe that guy was found and lived on an island all those years
He left his friend Wilson too.
If you watch the SWA708 data on FR24, once they're off the ground and start climbing, FedEx overtakes them and you can actually SEE the pilots flinch, because very very very suddenly the climb STOPS at 375 feet.
Vertical separation as they pass on the runway, if ADS is accurate, is maybe 70ft, and that's not including the height of the 737 tailfin, or the rear of the 767 lowered due to its climb.
@Henrik Ryanthankfully that’s the case in this scenario
@Henrik Ryan for one, they would have heard it directly over head. Two, anyone with a window seat almost certainly would have seen the wings overhead if they were looking out. There’s enough field of view vertical and considering how close the two were together that I have no doubts some window seat passengers spotted the 767 overhead.
Latest info is 25’ lateral separation at the closest and less than 100’ vertical separation. You can’t miss a 767 that close.
@Cruisin Guy nobody would know. You can’t see up or behind you from the cabin of a 37’…
@Cruisin Guy No kidding! "Ladies & gentlemen, if you'll look directly above us, you'll see just how many lug nuts are on the wheels of a Boeing 767." -SW pilot
@Dfuher He must have been past V1 because he said negative to abort
I've seen this animation a number of times, and even knowing the outcome, my heart always races.
Possible ATC deviation, please advise when ready to copy the cockpit's number.
I’ve been waiting for you to post this since I heard about the incursion! Thank you; what a scary time for everyone involved-could’ve been a really bad ending!
This was not an incursion. It was an operational error resulting from controller negligence/incompetence.
This is nerve wracking thinking how close we were in the last month to two massive collisions.
If Southwest was lined up on runway then I think a 3 mile final on the landing plane would be enough separation. Southwest took almost 30 seconds to enter runway and start rolling. In that 30 seconds, Fedex has covered the 1.5 miles (approximately). Bad decision on ATC. Good thing Fedex was aware and confirmed they are cleared to land with traffic in front and made the go around
I think Southwest should have rejected and waited. The PIC should make the decision that is safest and with a plane coming in at 3nm he shouldn't have allowed himself to be rushed. Safety first. Just because ATC says do this, doesn't mean you need to accept it without you also checking for safety. Redundant checks save lives.
@Michael Or expedite.
Should there have been a "no delay " instruction given?
The graphic specifically states that the time has not been trimmed. It took 70 seconds for SWA to begin its takeoff roll after receiving takeoff clearance. FedEx covered 3 nm at 140 knots in 67 seconds. The only entity with 100% situational awareness here is FedEx. Bravo Zulu!
They were expecting that classic southwest turn and burn lol. But in all seriousness it was just a really bad decision by atc to do that
Imagine if the SWA was in FDXs blind spot by the time they cleared they could see the runway. This is actually insane
The same thing happened at LAX with the 737 and a metro liner and the WX was fairly good. the controller placed the small one on the runway and cleared the big one colliding each other. Possible controller deviation.
AUS ATC was out to lunch. That controller had NO situational awareness of what was about to happen. Hats off to the Fed Ex crew! VASAviation, awesome job putting this together.
This is crazy, where I work the departing plane has to start rolling prior the approaching plane reaches 4nm from touchdown, this of course to maintain separation in case of a go around, I don’t know the rule this controller applied but when he cleared the southwest for takeoff the other one was 3 miles!
Fed pilot last “thank you” was so nonchalant, so cool
Just because you get a takeoff clearance doesn’t mean you have to. Sometimes you have to tell them you’d rather wait.
Maybe it would be a little safer to go around but also turn away from the runway, say 15 degrees left, to ensure that the other one taking off while you're landing won't be just ahead of you. This might upset ATC but since ATC f*cked up, it doesn't matter here. I would not go around keeping the runway heading, knowing another plane is on the same heading
Check the METAR for this day…WN should arguably have waited until FX landed before entering the runway. Visibility was near zero.
@Topet Hermohenes Sorry, it was not my intention to talk down to you. I apologize. I am pretty familiar with AUS and do know the layout.
I did find this reconstruction. Assuming it is accurate, Southwest began the takeoff roll 50 seconds after they acknowledged the takeoff clearance. That is not an inordinate amount of time given the weather conditions in my opinion.
They never should have been given a takeoff clearance in the first place.
On a clear and a million day, it probably would have worked, but never with 1/4 mile.
@Gozur 737 I'm familiar with the rules, just not on the specific layout of the airport. Maybe checklists? We have company rules of not making any checklist/flows when taxiing in low vis ops hence a slight delay.
Imagine putting a 737 IN the critical ILS area during CAT III conditions with a aircraft on approach
I work at an airport and I've seen something very similar between the same planes. It wasn't foggy either so it's likely it wasn't as much of a close call but still stressful on sure lol.
2020 , Typhoon , Hong Kong .
Declined ATC Takeoff clearance in heavy rain and X winds ( B 777 200 F , QR .)
ATC then cleared a Korean Pax 777 in front of me ...he hesitated , but also declined.
Silence in the frequency ...then came a full , Special Wx report .
Heavy Rain - Windshear - X winds - Sev. Turbulence.
I waited for 20 minutes before I felt good to go .
Happily Retired now .
Hi David ...
You have to be there to understand what we are talking about.
I also flew for Viva Macau ( B 767 ) , I arrived there September 2006 . Having Never being to Asia , I was Shocked by ATC's Low Standards regarding English Proficiency and Radios quality , so entering Hong Kong Airspace was Always Delightful ! , Excellent Controllers and Radios.
I always felt Safe with you Gentlemen.
Our First Responsibility is to our Passengers.
@Giancarlo Garlaschi Very true. I'm happy to know we have good guys and gals like you up front when I'm sitting in the back with my family.
i recall those weather days in Hong Kong. Similar weather conditions with 35kt crosswind, runway wet. When the weather hit, there was no alternate requirement. I was the tower north controller 25R. Over the hour, we were running the normal landing rate of 35. Only one aircraft landed, it was a Singapore 777 from San Francisco. All other arrivals went around and were calling Mayday fuel and landing in China. It was one big stuff up. The airlines took up to 3 days to recover their aircraft. Likewise retired these days.
" Better to lose 1 minute in your life ...than your life in a minute ".
United Airlines Instructor Pilot's advise during Douglas DC 8 71 Initial Training , Denver , 1993.
Great video Vasaviation
Just a small suggestion - Since this has a flight on the runway and another landing on runway, its kinda confused when they both overlap on the picture towards the end of the video . Maybe a side view animation could have helped here to better understand what's happening here!
But we cant make out how much height difference there was between them.
A side view could tell us whats the height difference bit more clearly
Look at the shadows, they make it quite clear
According to ADS-B data the minimum height of the FedEx 767 was 75', the tail of a 737 is 41' so they came within ~30' of FedEx clipping the tail of SW. That's as close as you're going to get without actually bending metal. It's a good thing that FedEx was using a 767-300ER with older design engines, a newer jet might not have had the engines spool up fast enough to avoid the collision.
This comment. 100%.
They weren't directly on top of each other - I think the separation was a maximum of 100m when you consider the actual coordinates and the center point of the aircraft. Regardless, still insane. I don't think the engines would've made a significant difference though.
That doesn't even include the tail of the Fedex plane being lower due to it climbing either. So we're probably closer to 15-20 feet.
Not the first mishap at AUS. The controller's complacency is astonishing. Something got change over there.
imagine the wake turbulence on take off the southwest pilots probably got on top of this whole situation. a heavy freighter flying right over you while rotating... then an act calling an abort at v2, then asks them to turn while probably 100 ft off the ground... hope we see an incident report on this one.
It's insane how close they were. Roughly 23m or 72ish ft apart from impact.
Closer than that honestly, the tailfin on the 737 isn't taken into account in that, and the 767's tail is likely pointed downward because he's climbing like a bat out of hell. It was probably closer to 10-20ft
I'm surprised that Philadelphia hasn't had an accident like this one that nearly occurred. Yrs ago while waiting for a connecting flight, I watched planes in mid runway taking off, with another plane landing rt behind them. Too close for comfort, if you ask me.
"we appreciate your professionalism" = "ty for not making a 'possible controller deviation' joke" (i would have lol, so it's totally true, incredible professionalism from them fedex pilots)
@ZeCockOfTheWalk I was hoping someone would pick up on my intended pun….. LOL!
"I have a number for you to call"
I’d definitely be filing an incident report on that controller. Putting another plane ahead of one on a 3 mile final, especially in weather? Yikes!
Definitely give tower a number to call when he’s on the ground 😂
There's a really interesting Clip-Share short done by a former ATC in which he says some of the blame should go to the 737 pilots for telling the controller that they were ready to go and then sitting on the numbers for a minute before starting their roll. He also mentions that these kinds of takeoffs with another plane on the 3-mile final are common at larger airports.
From an ATP review this was on ATC and Fedex. ATC cleared SW onto a runway (they now have full control over that surface) but did so with traffic on a short final.
However the real issue here is Fedex making an abort call for another aircraft.
ATC thought it was Southwest calling that they were rejecting takeoff. Fedex almost caused a crash.
I don't fly commercial but I don't love that view. Yes, pilots should be ready to go when they say they are, but they need to be comfortable taking a few extra seconds to check settings, confirm instructions with each other, etc. without feeling pressure. They don't need an eternity but there needs to be at least a small amount of margin for error and safety checks. Here, they got a series of instructions from Tower that needed to be recorded and verified. If ATC really wanted an immediate TO they could have told SWA that too by saying "without delay" which is code for "ILL LET YOU GO BUT YOU NEED TO GO ASAP NOW"...
Even if you could fault SWA for not rolling out fast enough, which you can't, ATC had zero situational awareness. They didn't interject at all, they waited way too long to give fedex instructions turn, they basically f'd up and then just sat there and watched it happen hoping that it would all just work out. Really bad.
@Krozar TAL Here is the link to the video I was talking about, in case you want to see what I was referencing.
I noticed two go arounds out of approach last evening at AUS. I live nearby and I have personally seen/heard several go arounds and noticed them on FlightRadar24 in recent days and weeks. No aircraft ahead taking off or sitting in queue on the two go arounds last night. What's going on? Bad communication? Lax ATC? Lack of training?
I witnessed something like this at CGN last april, when a FedEx 777 took its time to get going and an Austrian Air A320 was on final behind it. For a few seconds both aircraft occupied the runway. If either the A320 would've had to go around or the 777 rejected the take-off that would have been unnecessarily close.
@Tilman Eiche both ac had their mains on the ground at the same time. 320 touched down the moment the 777 had rotated and began its climb. Yeah they were at different ends of the rwy, but still, hadn't seen something like this during my spotting.
You mean they were both rolling on the ground?
Or just within the lateral limits of the rwy? Because cologne main rwy is close to 4km long, you have prescribed separation even when both ac are within the lateral limits...
Omg.... Just listening to ATC directions from the shower I was like "omg no you did not just clear a landing and take off on the same RW so close together..." then I watched it after the shower and my heart sank. There's a number ATC needs to call this time.
So thankful this did not end badly.
Why? Why would you risk it? If I was ATC I'd get the Southwest to wait. If I was the Southwest pilot I'd let ATC know I'll wait until the Fedex has landed.
@Clashing Images Productions Flight sim doesn't count, bud. And the NTSB quote did not confine praise to one action. It was a general "they did a great job" comment. If they thought the abort call was unsafe, they wouldn't have been saying they did a great job. Simple as that, random Internet guy who claims to be an airline pilot. Since we're going in circles now, I'm out. *muted
@Falcon2 This random second guesser is an airline pilot that would have been pissed that another aircraft made a call for someone else.
The only thing they praised was the call fedex made to go around. Not them calling SW abort.
@Clashing Images Productions it doesn’t matter what ATC thought at that point. Both FedEx and SW knew what was happening thanks to FedEx awareness and initiative, and tragedy was averted. NTSB praised the FedEx pilots. You’re criticizing them. I’m going with NTSB over some random second-guesser on Clip-Share. Sorry 🤷🏼♂️
@Falcon2 Thats why they should have only said Fedex going around. Then ATC would have given them early vectors to avoid the SW taking off. Instead they made a call for another aircraft.
Not sure how this is hard to understand. ATC thought it was SW who said "Southwest Abort"... that is why ATC said "Southwest turn right when able". That means turn off the runway onto the nearest taxiway.
@Clashing Images Productions By the time FedEx called, they were already dangerously close. ATC was clearly unaware of what was going on.
Wow, knowing what was coming and seeing "real silence not trimmed " shot the anxiety meter to 💯
Situations like this are why it's almost always good technique to stay off of tower frequency when an aircraft is either landing or taking off. You never want to be the guy who steps on an "Abort" or "Go-around" call.
How calm those guys are
Would be interesting to hear the FedEx CVR
You could tell from his voice the controller realized what had almost happened...
This incident worth a formal investigation.
Wow the Southwest flight actually took off? Did not realize that.
Likely went past his takeoff decision speed and had to
Amazing how calm the pilots are... I'd have shit my pants.
So let me get this straight. ATC clears take off with FedEx on a 3 mile final in foggy conditions. Crazy!
From my ATC training, you can't line up another aircraft when you have issued a landing clearance to one on final. Remember what happened at RAAF Butterworth with the two Mirages!
Those are some calm voices considering what could have gone down. My hat is off to all parties.
Normally Southwest is already halfway to 80 knots as they read back their clearance, but with the low visibility they were justified in not rushing the takeoff. Did the call to abort happen above or below V1?
With a heavy on a THREE mile final, nothing should have been cleared to take off, unless it was already on the piano keys, in position, and ready to go!
@Nick Akers Lol no I am actually telling you the rule. It is called two increasing you three. clearly it was not applied correctly here but as long as southwest has started take off role the FDX can be two miles from the runway threshold as long as there will be 3 miles of separation within one minute after departure.
@MoMadenU You obviously aren't a 'flying type' then.
@rkan2 Really sloppy ATC in the States, obviously.
@Jesse First time I've heard it described as piano keys and I love it 🤣
I know it is just an animation, but that is the slowest I have seen a Southwest plane take off. I always feel like the thrust levers are pushed thru the floorboards on take off.
Vero close call ! I don’t the procedure there but usually with LVP the separations are wider and 3nm looks very short. Think just about the time taken by southwest to line up due to limited visibility, isn’t as usual. Hopefully nobody’s hurt.
Seems like this is happening more and more lately
That controller is up for a vacation after that. absolutely ZERO reason to launch that 737 in front of a heavy on 3mile in bad weather to boot. holy cow. props to fedex for realizing the issue and staying high.
Think tower expected an expedited departure from SWA, but he took his time. FedEx saw and heard what was happening and was all over it.
Austin just had a historic ice storm a couple days before this which cancelled or delayed a large number of flights. I wonder if that and the resulting backlog played into the ATCs practice here.
@Dave Stephens having task saturation is not an excuse. He needs to be trained to handle higher flows better.
I’ve been told to wait for 5 mile final for a 172. 3 miles in a cargo jet is ridiculously close
Reminds me of the incident at PVD back in 1999. Thankfully one crew was paying attention and kept their SA.
I don’t know anything about aviation but when I saw this on the news I was shocked! I’m sorry but I hope the air traffic controller has been yanked off the job. That is so scary. Thankful the FedEx pilot took control of the situation.
I am not even a pilot of any kind (I love listening and learning, though!) and even I know what happened here was incredibly dangerous! Can/will the ATC get in trouble for this one?
As far as I can tell the last airline crash in the US was in 2009. From some of the things I've seen on this channel lately I think that the trend is going to turn around. Things are getting sloppy out there.
This happened at my local airport (Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport), and it’s definitely a very interesting situation. Seems like SWA wasn’t really in a hurry to get going, despite knowing that there was traffic on a 3 mile final.
Edit: it also sounds like there was confusion on all sides. The FedEx Express pilots said “Southwest, abort!”, telling Southwest to abort their takeoff so as not to take off into the FedEx plane. But the air traffic controller thinks that Southwest has just told him that they’re aborting their takeoff, and tells them to turn right and exit the runway, onto the next taxiway. But the Southwest crew, too fast to abort their takeoff, says “Negative.” At that point, nothing can be done to avoid a fairly serious incident. A near collision is obviously a serious incident, but both aircraft crews and the controller were just not aware of what was going on and who was saying what soon enough to prevent it. I think it would have been smart for the Southwest crew to say “no, we’ll hold short and wait for FedEx before taking off, he’s too close, it’s not safe.” I also think it would have been smart for the controller to not clear Southwest for takeoff in the first place, given that he knew that the FedEx plane was on a 2 mile final. Anyway, that’s just my opinion.
@DPS yep. 800/2 requirement. ATC/ pilots should have known that
ATC's last comment to SWA 708 should have been "Expedite departure or hold position" with inbound traffic at 3 miles.
@Sobrinhos do Tio Sam yes and a rather busy one too.
You have an airport? dang
@John Fezz The Fedex was on a 3 mile final, so about 60 seconds from touchdown.
The Southwest did not take excessive time at all, just the animation appears so. Getting an aircraft moving from the hold point, doing a 90 degree turn and then departing isn’t instantaneous
FedEx pilot seemed awfully calm considering what just happened. I wonder if he filed a safety report. MSAP or whatever they call it.
In conditions like that the margins need to be wider. SWA can really be given an immediate take off. Crew workload is high. Controller had a shocker here and fair chance of dismissal I'd think.
With all things said already, I only wonder why the Fedex and Southwest were not given altitude restrictions immediate after Fedex called go-around, like Fedex to climb and maintain 3000 and Southwest climb up to 2000. Southwest was taking off but probably unable to see Fedex above him, so the danger is still imminent and ATC to coordinate adequately before asking them to turn.
I really hope the controller is reprimanded or removed from the position.
That´s a very good observation. Yes, indeed.
Not that it's particularly relevant, but Fedex 1432 was coming from Memphis (no surprise) and Southwest 708 was going to Cancun. Also, on top of everything else this happened at around 6:40 AM so still at least partial darkness.
3 miles separation is a little tight even in VFR conditions.