House Panel Focuses Again on Runway Incursions

 - September 30, 2008, 11:56 AM

A near runway collision between a United Airlines regional jet and a Cessna 172 at Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) in Allentown, Pa., on September 19 underscored testimony by a top government official on Friday that “the risk of runway incursions is still high.” Gerald Dillingham, director of physical infrastructure issues for the Government Accountability Office, told the House aviation subcommittee that the primary cause of incursions is human-factors issues, which was the case at ABE. Two trainees were in the tower cab alone when one of them cleared United Flight 7138 to take off while the Cessna was still on the runway. The crew of Flight 7138 estimated their CRJ700 missed colliding with the just-landed Cessna by about 10 feet as they aborted the takeoff at about 120 knots and “swerved” around it. Despite the rapid deceleration, there were no reported injuries to the 60 people aboard the jet. NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker told AIN that an investigation of the incident will take about a month.