5 Near Collisions Over New York Airports Last Month

We’ve been hearing a lot about how the FAA is stressed and there aren’t enough air traffic controllers, but this is nuts: According to the NYPost, there were 5 near collisions over New York airports in the last month. There were 5 for all of 2006. What the heck?

“Air travelers should be seriously concerned about their safety,” said Phil Barbarello of the air-traffic controllers union, who wants more controllers hired. “The margin of safety is as low as I have ever seen, and I’ve been with the agency [FAA] for 23 years.” Hey, that’s comforting. The FAA denies there is a staffing problem.

Among the near collisions were a Chicago-bound American Eagle flight came within 200 feet of a helicopter at Kennedy airport, and on May 21st, the following weird encounter…. From the NYPost:

Continental Airlines Flight 466, a Boeing 757, was at 6,000 feet heading into Newark Airport when it had a close encounter with an unidentified aircraft.

The jet’s Terminal Collision Avoidance System sounded the alarm, and the pilots “took evasive action and descended,” according to an airport source.

“Our pilots receive extensive training to immediately respond to this type of event. The TCAS system did exactly what is was designed to do,” said Continental spokeswoman Julie King, who confirmed the near-miss.

What? Unidentified? Now there are aliens to worry about too? Where do we keep the tinfoil? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: stephenhanafin)