777, 182 Close Encounter Over San Francisco (corrected, updated)


The NTSB is sending an investigator to San Francisco to figure out how a United Boeing 777 and an Cessna 182 came within 300 feet vertically and 1,500 feet laterally of one another over the city on Saturday. An earlier NTSB news release said the light aircraft was an Aeronca Chief and that it came “within 300 feet” of the 777. The NTSB has since issued a corrected release. The FAA is also involved and appear to be blaming the SFO tower controller for the loss of separation. In a comment to the Associated Press, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told AP the controller should have noticed the potential conflict earlier and is taking “strong measures to make sure something similar does not occur in the future.” According to the NTSB, the crew of the 777, operating as Flight 889 to Beijing, took evasive action at about 1,100 feet just after retracting the gear. The airliner’s TCAS was triggered and the controller was in contact with both aircraft. The incident happened about 11:15 a.m. local time.

According to the NTSB, the crew spotted the 182 in a hard left turn traveling from their one o’clock to three o’clock position and the first officer pushed the yoke forward to level the aircraft. The flight continued to Beijing. There were 251 passengers and 17 crew on the 777. The number of occupants on the 182 wasn’t immediately known.

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