FAA, NTSB Butt Heads Over Incursions

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At the heart of the issue, the NTSB is suggesting the FAA isn't properly reporting incursions and is calling for installation of anti-incursion warning systems at major airports, and pressing its point with a highly publicized -- and well animated -- August near-collision at LAX recently shown on TV news channels. But a less sensational, and probably more dangerous incident that was part of the same report didnít rate the national radar. It has, however, had Cincinnati media buzzing. The FAA confirms a landing Ameriflight cargo plane and a departing Comair flight came within 30 feet of each other at a runway intersection at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) on Oct. 19. Meanwhile, at Baltimore Washington International (BWI) the NTSB says pilots have complained of two near collisions. The FAA says both were false reports, but there are details. One allegedly occurred between a 172 and a DC-8 and another between AirTran and America West airliners. In both cases, the FAA claims the planes were in no danger of colliding. But something that has been damaged is the already-less-than cordial relationship between the two agencies, who are, after all, supposed to be on the same team when it comes to safety. One source at the FAA referred to the LAX incident as "sexed up" (the aircraft reportedly were "12 seconds" from collision) and also used, well ... other terms ... to describe the NTSB's made-for-prime-time swat at the regulators. Looks like each agency might be short one Christmas card this year.