TCAS Prevents Potential Bizjet Midair near LAS

 - October 9, 2007, 11:43 AM

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) said two business jets had to take evasive action at 28,000 feet and about 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon to avoid the possibility of colliding while en route to Las Vegas McCarran Airport. The incident involved a NetJets Cessna Citation X and a Learjet 60. According to Natca, air traffic controllers were vectoring the two jets to accommodate delays into Las Vegas due to heavy traffic volume. One of the aircraft had been cleared to descend through the altitude occupied by the other. The aircraft came within 2.6 miles of each other, but each crew took evasive action per instructions from their respective onboard traffic collision avoidance systems. Natca said both aircraft’s speeds were in excess of 400 knots, and they were “being vectored for spacing so their flight paths were converging.” The ATC union attributed the incident to overworked and understaffed controllers, though the FAA contends that the Las Vegas control facility is properly staffed.