NTSB investigates near midair collision involving B777 and USAF C-17s

February 5, 2011

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has been investigating an operational error that occurred near New York City on January 20, 2011.

The Safety Board was notified of a Traffic Collision and Alerting System (TCAS) resolution advisory that occurred due to a near midair collision involving American Airlines flight 951 on January 20, 2011, at about 22:30  The American Airlines aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 (N766AN), had taken off from John F. Kennedy International Airport en route to Sao Paulo, Brazil and was flying southeast.

A flight of two U.S. Air Force McDonnell Douglas C-17 transport planes was heading northwest toward McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. There were no injuries in the incident.

The NTSB has interviewed air traffic controllers on duty at the time of the incident, and is gathering information from American Airlines and the Air Force.

The air traffic controllers talking to each of the aircraft received conflict alerts, and immediately provided traffic advisories and turned their aircraft to resolve the conflict. In addition, the American Airlines crew responded to directions provided by TCAS. Radar data indicate that the aircraft came within a mile of each other at their closest point. The incident occurred about 80 miles southeast of New York City.


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