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NTSB Wants New ATC Procedures, To Avert Midairs

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After investigating five incidents in which commercial jetliners came close to other aircraft while arriving or departing at major U.S. airports, the NTSB said on Monday the FAA should modify the rules for air traffic controllers to ensure the safe separation of airplanes during go-around maneuvers. Conflicts at low altitude result in having to execute evasive maneuvers at low altitude and high closing speeds with little time to avoid a collision. The review of the five incidents shows that existing FAA separation standards and operating procedures are inadequate, the safety board said.

 In all five incidents, the NTSB said, a pilot on approach to the airport aborted the landing attempt and initiated a go-around maneuver, which put the go-around airplane on a flightpath that intersected with the flightpath of another airplane either departing or arriving on another runway at the same airport. The five incidents reviewed by the NTSB occurred in Las Vegas, New York, and Charlotte. The NTSB's complete discussion of its investigation is posted online (PDF).

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