NTSB Probes Near-Midair Over MSP

 - September 23, 2010, 9:34 AM

The NTSB has launched an investigation into a near midair between an Airbus A320 airliner and a Beech 99 cargo airplane near Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. According to the Safety Board, the two airplanes came within 50 to 100 feet of colliding during the September 16 incident.  

At 6:49 a.m. local time, US Airways Flight 1848, carrying five crewmembers and 90 passengers en route to Philadelphia, received clearance for takeoff on MSP’s Runway 30R. At the same time, Bemidji Aviation Services Flight 46, with only the pilot aboard, received clearance for takeoff on Runway 30L for a trip to La Crosse, Wis. Weather reports indicated a 900-foot ceiling and 10 miles visibility below the clouds. 

Immediately after departure, the tower instructed the US Airways crew to turn left and head west, causing the flight to cross paths with the cargo aircraft approximately one-half mile past the end of Runway 30L. Neither pilot saw the other aircraft because they were in the clouds, although the captain of the US Airways flight reported hearing the Beech 99 pass nearby. Estimates based on recorded radar data indicate that the two aircraft had 50 to 100 feet of vertical separation as they passed each other approximately 1,500 feet above the ground.

The US Airways A320’s Traffic Alert TCAS issued climb instructions to the crew to avert collision. The Beech 99 did not carry a TCAS and the pilot did not know about the proximity of the Airbus. No damage or injuries resulted from the incident.

NTSB and FAA personnel conducted a preliminary investigation at the Minneapolis airport traffic control tower on September 18 and 19 and continue to review the circumstances of the incident.