JetBlue Flight’s ‘Evasive Action’ Avoids A Learjet At Boston Logan Airport


A JetBlue flight from Nashville was landing at Boston Logan International Airport (KBOS) when it took evasive action to avoid a Learjet 60 that was taking off from an intersecting runway. Flight data provider Flightradar24 estimated the two jets came within 530 feet of each other. The latest close call for an airliner occurred at about 7 p.m. on Monday (Feb. 27).

According to an FAA preliminary review, the Learjet was told to line up and wait, but took off without clearance from controllers. “The Learjet pilot read back the instructions clearly but began a takeoff roll instead,” the FAA statement said. “The pilot of the JetBlue aircraft took evasive action and initiated a climb-out as the Learjet crossed the intersection.”

According to a JetBlue statement, “On Monday, February 27, JetBlue Flight 206 landed safely in Boston after our pilots were instructed to perform a go-around by air traffic controllers. Safety is JetBlue’s first priority and our crews are trained to react to situations like this.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Again, ATC working as it should. Suddenly, these types of events are so news worthy. Hate to tell everybody, but for my many years of ATC, these “oops” things happened but the system responded as it should, like this one. Sometimes the pilots caught it, frequently the controllers. Either a pilot deviation or a controller error would be reported, appropriate action taken, and it would be filed when completed. Now apparently, there is an open line to the media to make every one a near miss event.

    • ATC worked as it should in this incident, but it sure didn’t work as it should at KAUS in CAT II weather conditions. (FedEX and SWA)

      • Correct you are. And whereas even one is one too many, considering there are approximately 20 million operations handled by the busier airports each year, and considering how fast and furious that is for controllers and how busy aircraft operations are for the pilot, and again one is too many, but that mass of activity that we find ourselves in as pilots (I’m a sixty year pilot also) and as do controllers, nothing is safer and as close to being perfect by the numbers. There will always be a brain dead controller or pilot from time to time. As as said though, the system as designed and how it functions, wow, is actually amazing. But yea, the one you mentioned sucked.

    • In know the change from “Position and Hold” was changed to “Line up and wait” due to international standardization. I know what I think doesn’t matter in these situations, but I found the change an unnecessary one. Certainly took a while to get that ground into my brain!

      • I do wonder if “LUAW” has caused more confusion than the old “PAH” phraseology. Supposedly it was changed because “and hold” could sound like “and roll” to some foreign carriers, but I wonder if that was just given as a reason to cave to following ICAO phraseology. Just in my own experience as an instructor, for pilots who aren’t familiar with the phrase, “LUAW” seems to draw more looks of confusion than “PAH” used to.

        It would be interesting to study the numbers and determine if there was an increase, decrease, or no change (statistically speaking) before and after the phraseolgy change.

        • “Line up and wait” requires zero interpretation and is was universally used in all continents except North America for decades prior to the change. “Position and hold” on the other hand does require interpretation if one comes from any part of the world and culture other than North America. Actually, you probably heard “line up and wait” in second grade waiting to go into the school cafeteria, but I guarantee you never heard “position and hold” while in that second grade cafeteria line. North Americans are nothing if we’re not myopic and nostalgic when it comes to use of phraseology uniquely ours thinking that ours is universally understood and therefore the correct one.

    • Like the open line whenever a GA plane crashes? The FAA stood by, even back when its mission was not to do so, and did very little to fight the media created fear that little airplanes were killing people in their living rooms for decades. Fear of small aircraft was allowed to persist while fear of airlines was fought.

      They can enjoy this while their very media capable transportation secretary does nothing to help. I won’t shed a tear.

  2. I think the FAA should encourage towers to limit the use of active crossing runways when parallels are available. I’m not suggesting doing it permanently but I think a pause might be appropriate especially in towers where a lot of training is taking place. There are also a lot of relatively new flightcrew members out there, including a lot of first time captains, less complex taxi instructions and runway operations that don’t thread the needle might help them too.

  3. Because “the system” pretty much incorporates backup for everything, accidents generally involve serial procedural failures. In this case, as in the vast majority of such, the backup(s) worked, and no harm was done. Going into a panic every time a single procedural failure occurs is silly, but until the media tires of this latest bubble we’re going to be hearing about them day after day.

  4. It seems to me that “Line up and wait” has been around long enough now that any pilot who doesn’t understand what it means should not be flying out of towered airports. (I’m not judging the Lear crew; they may know very well what it means and just made an honest mistake.) From a standpoint of linguistic clarity, LUAW is more descriptive than PAH, and I can fully understand how it is much better those for whom English is not their first language. Sometimes adopting what the rest of the world is doing is the right thing to do, and I think that was appropriately applicable when the FAA had ATC change to LUAW.

    • And yet I find many pilots still find “LUAW” somewhat confusing. “PAH” at least includes the standard word “hold”, which means “stop and don’t proceed without further clearance”.

      However, it’s not likely that the phraseology around LUAW/PAH was the cause here, but it would still be interesting to study which is more clear. Or maybe some other phraseology should be used.

      • LUAW at least includes the standard word “wait”, which generally means “don’t go”.