Yet Another Near Miss Over Springfield. Southwest Airlines Jet Has Close Call

The federal investigation will begin in January following a long list of close calls involving airliners. The latest near miss involved a Southwest Airlines passenger jet enroute to Chicago.

An air traffic control trainee issued a descent clearance to the Southwest Airlines aircraft in the direction of, and through another aircraft's level. The trainee had only been on the job for three weeks at the time of the incident.

It was at this point the veteran training officer instructed the Southwest pilots to increase their descent profile to avert the business turbo-prop aircraft.

The TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) on board the Southwest Airliner issued an alert that along with the quick actions of the training officer, avoided any collision.

Although the two aircraft did not collide, the event still resulted in a violation of air traffic control separation standards. The two aircraft coming within a proximity 3.1 miles laterally and 300ft vertically at the closest point with a high rate of closure. Almost two mile less than the minimum standard laterally and less than a third of the vertical standard.

It is reported that it could have been a true "T-Bone" incident with the two aircraft being on crossing tracks. The incident occurred at about 9:30 a.m. local on Wednesday approximately 15 miles north of Springfield.

This is believed to be the second serious incident in only three days at the Chicago facility. The sixth in 11 weeks involving aircraft flying dangerously close to each other... My Life And Air Traffic Control does apologise to it's readers for missing the scoop on the previous incidents. This however, is not the first time the Chicago facility has made My Life And Air Traffic Control's honour roll of serious incidents. We last reported a near miss between a Midwest Ailines jet and a United Express aircraft back in November.

My Life And Air Traffic Control is slightly amused by the FAA's comments stating that "The pilots could always see each other. This was not a near-miss,".

At least they are consistent. This comment is almost identical to that made by FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory on the near miss last month.

So how deep does this rabbit hole go? How close do they have to get before the FAA will admit to a near miss?