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Charter pilot cited in Boston near-miss with JetBlue plane

WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) – The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday cited the failure of a charter pilot to get a takeoff clearance in a February incident in Boston that resulted in a near-collision with a JetBlue flight.

JetBlue Flight 206 that was about to land from Nashville was forced to perform a go-around because Hop-a-Jet flight 280 took off without clearance on intersecting runway, the NTSB said.

The board said the airport surface detection equipment issued an alert, and the air traffic controller issued go-around instructions to the JetBlue flight. The JetBlue Embraer 190 was just 30 feet (9.1 m) above ground when it broke off the landing “close to the point where both runways intersected,” the NTSB said.

The report said the Boston tower told the Lear 60 charter pilot the JetBlue flight passed about 400 feet above them.

The 63-year-old charter pilot told the NTSB in an email that he had gotten instructions to wait but “but on my

mind I was clear for takeoff.”

The pilot added, “I can not understand what happened to me during the clearance, the only thing that comes to my mind is that the cold temperature in Boston affected me, I was not feeling completely well and had a stuffed nose.”

The pilot, charter company and JetBlue did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The NTSB is investigating six runway incursion events since the year including the JetBlue incident. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy in May cited the need to invest more in aviation safety technology like the system at Boston.

Technology systems that help detect aircraft and ground vehicles at airports to prevent runway incursion are currently used at 43 U.S. airports. That technology needs to be upgraded and all other commercial airports also need additional technology, Homendy said.

Reporting by David Shepardson;
Editing by Marguerita Choy

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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