Near Disaster at SFO

 - July 5, 2007, 5:52 AM

The NTSB last month announced an investigation into a May 26 incident at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in which two regional airliners came within 50 feet of colliding. At about 1:30 p.m. the tower air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines Flight 5741, an Embraer Brasilia arriving from Modesto, Calif., to land on Runway 28R. Forgetting about the arrival airplane, the same controller then cleared Republic Airlines Flight 4912, an Embraer E170 departing for Los Angeles, to take off from Runway 1L, which intersects Runway 28R. After the SkyWest airliner touched down, the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) sounded an alert and the air traffic controller ordered the SkyWest flight crew to hold in an attempt to stop the aircraft short of Runway 1L. The SkyWest crew applied maximum braking that resulted in the airplane’s stopping in the middle of the runway. Meanwhile, the captain of Republic Airlines E170 took control of the aircraft from the first officer, realized the aircraft couldn’t stop in time and pulled up for an immediate takeoff. According to the SkyWest crew, the Republic Airlines flight cleared the top of their airplane by between 30 and 50 feet.