United Airlines flight, Cessna plane nearly collided over San Francisco

Legal news for aviation attorneys. A Boeing 777 and a Cessna came within 200-300 feet in mid-air, collision avoidance system sounded.

A United Airlines flight and a Cessna came too close for comfort over San Francisco, NTSB investigating.

San Francisco, CA—Federal officials have launched an investigation after a United Airlines Boeing 77 jetliner and a Cessna plane came dangerously close to one another while flying over San Francisco. The two aircrafts were so close on Saturday, March 27, 2010 that their collision avoidance system sounded, as reported by CNN.

The United pilots reported that they came so close that they could see the belly off the Cessna 182 plane, which passed within 200 to 300 feet of them. Federal officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) http://www.ntsb.gov/ began the investigation on Tuesday after learning about the incident.

The United flight 889 was reportedly cleared for take-off from the San Francisco International Airport at 11:15 a.m. to begin their trip to Beijing, China. The flight was carrying 251 passengers and 17 crew members at the time.

When the United flight departed, the air traffic controller scanned the radarscope and found the small plane flying southbound at 1,500 feet horizontally. Both the United pilots and the Cessna pilot were alerted about the location of each of the planes. The Cessna pilot stated he had the jetliner in sight and adjusted his path to fly above and behind the Boeing. Upon hearing the audible alert, the United pilots “leveled their climb in response to that alert.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) http://www.faa.gov/ reported that “the planes were 600 feet apart vertically and 3,000 feet laterally when the controller first contacted the pilots, and never came closer than 300 feet vertically and 1,500 horizontally.” The FAA stated it is too early to determine who or what was at fault.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for aviation lawyers.

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