NTSB investigates ATC incident at Chicago-O’Hare

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating an air traffic control incident involving two regional jets that occurred on Monday, May 16, 2011 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

At approximately 09:35, ExpressJet Airlines flight 6075, an Embraer ERJ-145, was cleared for takeoff on runway 32L at Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), en route to Buffalo, NY (BUF).  SkyWest Airlines flight 6958, a Canadair CRJ-200 (N905SW), arriving at O’Hare from Muskegon, MI (MKG), was cleared to land on runway 9R.   Aircraft approaching runway 9R cross runway 32L at low altitude before landing. Because of the timing of the two operations, the SkyWest flight nearly overflew the departing ExpressJet flight.

A supervisor on duty in the tower noticed the traffic on the runway and the traffic on the approach and instructed the controller handling the SkyWest flight to direct the pilot to go around.  The SkyWest pilot discontinued the initial approach as instructed.  The ExpressJet flight continued takeoff  roll and departed without further incident.  The SkyWest flight returned a few minutes later and landed.  There were no injuries or damage to either aircraft.

Safety Board investigators are reviewing radar data, air traffic control audio recordings, and statements provide by the pilots of the aircraft involved. Preliminary radar information provided to the Safety Board by the Federal Aviation Administration indicates that the SkyWest aircraft crossed runway 32L approximately 225 feet above the ExpressJet aircraft when the two aircraft were laterally less than 480 feet apart.

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